Archives for posts with tag: autism

cute picture of hands with paintSensory Issues…when to worry, when to intervene, and when to relax.

We all have them… those little “quirks” that make you feel “wigged out” or “stressed out”. It may be the way your skin crawls at the sight of a centipede, walking barefoot in the grass, or wearing wool. You may need to cut out those irritating tags in your shirts. Maybe you get overwhelmed with all the kids talking (or screaming) in the car and can’t wait for the peace and quiet. You may crave a massage, neck or back rub to calm down. Your children have sensory preferences too. Some like to swing fast, some like to rock and be held, and some love to jump on a trampoline to feel calm and organized.

But when does a “sensory preference” become “Sensory Processing Disorder”?
Children and adults can suffer from sensory issues that affect their daily life skills and their social interactions. These issues are far more interfering than that pesky shirt tag. When a sensory issue has crossed the line into interfering with daily life with how an individual acts or reacts to their environment, then it is considered a “disorder” not a “quirk”.

This is the child that cannot tolerate playing with other children at a party due to being overly sensitive to sounds, touch, or movement. Or it may be the infant that cannot be consoled by typical rocking, massage, or being held. It’s the child who doesn’t sit still, fidgets and squirms, and craves wrestling, jumping, running, and climbing in excess. Many adults suffer from sensory issues that affect their daily life and limit them in the ability to socialize or even connect in personal relationships. When you are fighting daily over what your child needs to wear, eat, or their ability to tolerate normal grooming then it’s time to get some help.

Newest Research on SPD
Sensory Processing Disorder or “SPD” is a term used in the therapy community to describe a group of symptoms in which an individual’s nervous system over or under reacts or misinterprets sensations of touch, taste, smell, sounds, vision, movement, and muscles/joints. SPD is more prevalent in children than autism and as common as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, yet the condition receives far less attention partly because it’s never been recognized as a distinct disease. In a groundbreaking new study from UC San Francisco, researchers have found that children affected with SPD have quantifiable differences in brain structure, for the first time showing a biological basis for the disease that sets it apart from other neurodevelopmental disorders. One of the reasons SPD has been overlooked until now is that it often occurs in children who also have ADHD or autism, and the disorder has not been listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual used by psychiatrists and psychologists.
“Until now, SPD hasn’t had a known biological underpinning,” said senior author Pratik Mukherjee, MD, PhD, a professor of radiology and biomedical imaging and bioengineering at UCSF. “Our findings point the way to establishing a biological basis for the disease that can be easily measured and used as a diagnostic tool,” Mukherjee said.
Therapy is available with sensory integration trained occupational therapists to help individual’s sensory systems get “organized” and learn how to make accommodations in their daily routines to help calm their sensory nerves. Many insurance companies cover these services if they are affecting daily life skills or causing developmental delays.

The following are some “red flags” for when a sensory processing therapy evaluation may be needed:
“Sensory Avoider” Reacts with fear, flight, or aggression to any typical sensations such as: unexpected touch, loud noises, textures or certain clothing on skin, screams at haircuts or hair brushing, upset by typical movement experiences such as swinging or climbing, avoids touching foods or gags at sight of new foods, cries excessively over a small bump or cut, or gets carsick easily.
“Sensory Craver” Craves excessive amounts of movement, loud voice volume, “on the go” constantly, difficulty with attention, uses too much force in touch, takes too many risks on the playground, or spins excessively. These children are constantly “on the go”!
“Clumsy” Sensory motor issues can show up as gross or fine motor skill delays such as being very accident prone, poor balance skills, low muscle tone, difficulty learning to ride a bike, catch a ball, hop on one foot, or fine motor skill delays learning to write, cut, or do fasteners.

Most children and adults with SPD are a mixture of both under and over sensitive, which explains why inconsistent behavior is a hallmark of the disorder” states Lindsey Biel, co-author of Raising a Sensory Smart Child. “It’s not an obvious diagnosis. The behavior of a child with SPD can be confused with that of a kid who may have overlapping behaviors and a different diagnosis, such as ADHD. A child who doesn’t get enough proprioception will seek ways to stimulate his muscles and joints-continuously moving, or chewing. What’s more roughly 40% of the time kids have both SPD and ADHD.” states Dr. Lucy Miller founder of the STAR Center, a SPD therapy and research center in Colorado.

Finding the right help to understand sensory issues and a therapist that knows therapeutic procedures and activities that re-wire the sensory nervous system can be the beginning of understanding your child, yourself, and helping both of you get through the sensory filled world calm and collected.
To learn more please visit: http://www.spdfoundation.net or http://www.developmentaldelay.net.

Heidi Clopton, Pediatric Occupational Therapist
Center of Development Pediatric Therapies

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Our “Not Cow’s Milk” Journey

I just ordered the book “Devil in the Milk” and can’t wait for it to get here! Many people think I am luny for being so excited to get a new book…but taking casein (cow’s milk protein) out of my daughter Leah’s diet was such a drastic change for her and our family that we will NEVER go back to consuming cow’s milk products.

Leah was born 17 months after our Ella Grace on Dec 26th, 2003. She was a calm baby initially and solely breast fed. We had already read on the harmful effects of cow’s milk for children and adults and never drank cow’s milk and ate little cheese at home. But…we were still eating a lot of casein (the protein in cow’s milk).

By the time Leah was 6 months old she began to eat more table foods…and her entire disposition changed. She went from our calm baby to a colicky baby. She was inconsolable many a day or night. I could not calm her. As a pediatric sensory trained OT I knew what to do to help her calm, I was an “EXPERT” in calming children with deep touch massage, linear swinging or rocking, and creating a calming environment…so I questioned myself…what could possibly be causing her to be so upset that even a Mother’s Touch could not calm her?

By age two I had accepted the idea that Leah had Autism. She didn’t make eye contact, she rarely laughed, she couldn’t stand to be hugged, she wiped away our kisses like they were toxic, she tantrumed over the smallest of things, she covered her ears to noises, and was fearful of social situations. I had tried every sensory calming tool in the box, and nothing seemed to help.

Then I realized that many of my clients had seen drastic results from a casein free diet…so why not try that before getting her labeled “Autistic”?

2 weeks after taking casein out of her diet COMPLETELY…she was becoming a different child. Less tantrums, more eye contact, and NO Eczema!
1 month after casein free she was accepting our hugs and kisses.
2 months later she was a different child…an angel…and blossoming into the beautiful little girl that we had longed for.
Now, I could do calming input, massage, brushing protocol, swinging input, and all the sensory treatments she needed to get her neurological system back in line…and healed.
We also started supplement therapies to heal her gut…Cod Liver Oil, DHA, Probiotics (milk free chewables at Good Shepard), and Magnesium. Her stools became normal by 2 months…going 2 times a day normal consistency.
No more allergies, sinus issues, no ear infections, and no eczema…and an angel child.
I thank God every day for the journey we went through and the wounds that it created…because he could HEAL those wounds with the knowledge and wisdom to be a CASEIN FREE FAMILY and now I can spread the word to so many others to help them.
6 years later…I am now doing inservices about once a month on casein free and healthy family eating and how food affects our brains, and we are what we eat…and I don’t want to be a cow! 🙂 ha!

To learn more check out the FB page:  Casein Free in Middle Tennessee

Every day I meet people who have been educated on the harmfull effects of cow’s milk and casein and they have seen drastic results in their child, themselves, and their lives are changed by this simple change.

My beautiful Leah Faith
If you have a story to tell…or questions on how to go casein free…please share on this page. I truly believe God called us to experience this with our precious Leah so that we could help others. Let us help you!

hugs and swinging...what could better?How to raise IQ, decrease ADHD, and help your child’s brain!

Dr. David Perlmutter, M.D., F.A.C.N. Neurologist Recommendations from the book, Raise a Smarter Child by Kindergarten and raise IQ by 30 points, how to treat ADHD, have a smarter more

focused child… Great book!

1. Diet and Nutrition rich in good proteins, DHA, purified water, organic fruits and veggies, and lean protein foods and little to no cow’s milk or gluten in diet for nursing Mom or children at any age. No artificial colors, preservatives, flavor enhancers, nitrates, etc. Nothing artificial or words you don’t understand should be in your foods. Limit fast food intake dramatically. Limit processed food intake. NO artificial sugars or dyes.

2. Limit TV, screen time, and video games to NONE before age 3 and limit to 30 minutes a day after that. Near focus time should be limited to educational needs on computer and at school, not for “fun”. Video games should be movement based and NEVER violent. Limit to 30 minutes as a privilege that is earned…not given freely.

3. Formal musical training before age 4 and classical music.

4. Low stress environment is vital to a child’s emotional, physical, and mental health and their IQ!

5. Don’t “drill” rote memory skills into a child’s brain. Create a “love for learning” environment where a child can learn, explore, have questions, and even make mistakes…but learn from their mistakes and have a love of learning. Let them learn it is okay to take intellectual risks…and learn from it. Children need to feel like they are succeeding…not failing all the time.

 
6. Feed the brain myelin for faster connections, more focus, and “prune” the excessive connections by repetition, DHA daily, purified water daily, and lots of calming touch inputs. Research shows that children who are raised in a loving environment full of loving touch with hugs, etc. have a higher IQ. Memory is enhanced by deep pressure touch (massage, vibration, hugs).

7. Decrease any “fight or flight” responses with sensory diet inputs.  For more info on a sensory diet check out my webpage www.developmentaldelay.net

8. No lights or TV in room when sleeping- any light source at night, especially a TV decreases melotonin production in the brain…you need this neurotransmitter to have good sleep cycles!

9. Supplement as needed with DHA, good multivitamin, iron & iodine levels checked.

10. Goat milk based formulas best if you cannot breast feed.

11. Watch intake of sugars, especially high fructose, sucrose, dextrose, maltose or any –ose sugar. These contain excitotoxins that cross the blood brain barrier disrupting production of important neurotransmitters and promote free radical damage to brain cells.

12. Get the Better Brain Profile from Genova Diagnostics done asap if your child is having ADHD, Autism, Learning disorder, behavior issues, etc. to test blood and for food sensitivities go to: www.GenovaDX.com or call 828-210-7433. Includes testing for food sensitivities, level of brain fats including DHA, etc.

13. Research alternative vaccine schedules Dr. Mercola and Dr. Sears have good websites and books with examples of alternative schedules that are Thimerosal free and low Aluminum content and which ones are necessary.

14. Prevent and treat ADHD by: DHA, correct diet and nutrition (casein free, gluten free, additive free diet), no excitotoxins in their diet (i.e. artificial colors, preservatives, sweeteners, MSG, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, and artificial sweeteners), limit screen time to only educational computer games and NO VIDEO GAMES, check for food sensitivities, intercellular vitamin analysis (www.spectracell.com), check vision regularly and get vision therapy if needed from a Board Certified Developmental Optometrist (COVD), and check auditory processing.

Supplement children with ADHD with DHA, Kids Brain Sustain (www.kidsBrainSustain.com), whole food children’s multivitamin, play board games and PE like games often, sports are vital, music lessons, and listening therapies (www.advancedbrain.com).

15. EXERCISE daily with high aerobic exercise at least 30-60 minutes a day!

16. www.yoursmartchild.com, www.smartDHA.com, www.kidsbrainsustain.com, www.spectracell.com, www.genovadx.com

Feeding the Brain

Feeding the Brain
Heidi Clopton, Pediatric Occupational Therapist at Center of Development & Jason Clopton, Developmental Optometrist at Center of Vision
www.developmentaldelay.net  Heidi@covd.biz

A good friend sent me a quote from Dr. Oz the other day and said it reminded her of me…”When I look at a grocery store, I’m looking at a pharmacy,” said Oz. She knows, along with all my therapists, clients, friends and family how passionate I am about the foods we eat in our family. Wasn’t it sad how much trouble he got into from just warning America about the toxins in our children’s foods?

Something isn’t right in our society when you get flack for just trying to help others make informed decisions for their health and wellness. Obviously in the last century something has changed… “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” ― Hippocrates

“The doctor of the future will give no medicine but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease.” ~Thomas Edison

My passion for the connection between food & brain began when I was pregnant with my first child, Ella Grace. Somehow eating what I thought was a healthy diet, I had Gestational Diabetes. I started fervently reading books and articles on nutrition and healthy pregnancies. I learned a lot about how America is being fooled into thinking we are eating healthy, when in comparison to the rest of the world, we are one of the sickest countries. I started following the Honest Food Guide, and stopped counting fast food as a real food. I learned to look at food as nutrition for my brain & body. Everything I put in my mouth, and most importantly into the mouths of my children is doing something…it should be beneficial and not harmful.
This passion became an obsession when I had my second daughter, Leah Faith. At age 2 she was scared of crowds, made little eye contact, had severe constipation, eczema, sinus issues, multiple allergies, had sleep issues, and threw tantrums often. The breaking point was at her 2nd b-day party when she cried & had to be held constantly. When everyone sang happy birthday she was covering her ears and crying. I thought…”my child has Autism or severe Sensory Processing Disorder, I need to treat this now”. I started looking at the clients in our therapy practice that were overcoming their sensory issues, autistic behaviors, ADHD, and other health issues and they all had a few treatment strategies in common. I started reading every book I could find on how the foods we eat cause, prevent, and treat disease. I have not stopped reading yet!

From that point on, I have looked at every child, every patient, and every person I encountered and their health, behavioral, and emotional issues with a new set of lenses. I had gotten a prescription for lenses that taught me to look at how everyone was feeding their brain.

For all those busy families out there, I am happy to share my version of Cliff Notes on what I have read, learned, and the common denominators from all the experts on nutritional health, neurology, gut absorption, and emotional disorders:

12 steps to Feeding the Brain
1. Feed your tummies a diet rich in purified DHA, pure water, fruits and veggies, and lean protein foods. Become an expert at juicing and you can hide all kinds of greens and fruits in a great tasting smoothie! No artificial colors, preservatives, flavor enhancers, nitrates, etc. Nothing artificial or words you don’t understand should be in your foods. Limit highly processed foods and fast foods, artificial sugars or dyes. For our family also limiting casein (diary) and gluten (wheat) products in our diet has made a dramatic difference. For a great fridge reminder on how the healthiest countries eat, print out the pyramid from HonestFoodGuide.org.

2. Limit TV, screen time, and video games to near nothing before age 3 and limit to 30 minutes a day after that. Near focus time should be saved for educational needs on computer and at school, not for “fun”. Video games should be movement based and NEVER violent. Limit to 30 minutes as a privilege that is earned…not given freely.

3. Low stress environment is vital to a child’s emotional, physical, and mental health and their IQ!

4. Create a “love for learning” environment where a child can learn, explore, have questions, and even make mistakes…but learn from their mistakes and have a love of learning. Let them learn it is okay to take intellectual risks…and learn from it. Children need to feel like they are succeeding…not failing all the time. Play family games and board games often!

5. Feed the brain myelin for faster connections, more focus, and “prune” the excessive connections by repetition, DHA daily, plenty of purified water daily, and lots of calming touch inputs. Research shows that children who are raised in a loving environment full of loving touch (hugs, being held while reading a book, etc) have a higher IQ. Memory is enhanced by deep pressure touch (massage, hugs).

6. Sensory diet rich in movement, sports, and hands on play experiences.

7. No lights or TV in room when sleeping- any light source at night, especially a TV decreases Melatonin production in the brain…you need this neurotransmitter to have good sleep cycles!

8. Supplement diet with DHA, milk-free probiotics, all natural food based multivitamin, fruit and veggie gummies, and have heavy metal, iron & iodine levels checked.

9. Goat milk based formulas best if you cannot breast feed. Goat milk is the closest animal milk to human breast milk without the high risk of food sensitivities/intolerance that comes with cow’s milk.
10. Watch intake of sugars, especially high fructose, sucrose, dextrose, maltose or any –ose sugar. These contain excitotoxins that cross the blood brain barrier disrupting production of important neurotransmitters and promote free radical damage to brain cells.
11. EXERCISE daily with 70% max heart rate aerobic exercise at least 30-60 minutes a day!
12. Learn what your child’s love language is and learn to speak it every day: Time, Touch, Words of Encouragement, Acts of Service, or Giving.

I am happy to tell you that after following this 12 step program of Feeding the Brain that Ella does not have diabetes, Leah Faith does not have Autism, and Jase is a happy healthy child. Following these recommendations I have also cured myself of many issues that I had struggled with for years.

To become an informed parent please read books by the following medical doctors who are the experts: Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, MD; Dr. Perlmutter, Neurologist, Dr. Bock, Dr. Kartzinel, J. Ratey, MD, Dr. Sears, and of course Dr. Oz!