Supporting Children’s Learning Challenges

Let’s be honest, all kids have a bit of a disobedient, defiant or impulsive streak..  they question us, challenge us and definitely have a mind of their own..  but is there a line where this behaviour becomes too much to handle?  Is there a point where this behaviour isn’t “normal”…

This was the exact line we came across in the early days before Zac was diagnosed with Autism..  what was normal behaviour for a child (boy) his age and what wasn’t…  now before you panic…  if your child does have some challenging behaviours or learnings I’m not suggesting they have Autism but there’s definitely some things to think about as far as what you can do to help them.

In the classroom these days you will find the teacher is dealing with a number of kids who have some sort of behavioural or learning difficulties. These could range from Global Developmental Delays which makes it more challenging for the child to understand what they’re being taught simply because they find the whole process difficult no matter what strategies the teacher employs.

There’s those with specifically diagnosed conditions such as ADD / ADHD / Dyslexia / Dyspraxia / Dyscalculia / auditory processing disorder / Autism..  just to name a few…  and these kids generally have specific difficulties which will affect the way they learn and process information..

So as a parent we’re always wanting to give our children the best opportunities we can, especially in their education and development because I’m not sure about you but for me I see where things are heading and it’s going to be tough for our kids out there to get started..  housing is expensive, jobs are becoming more automated so even the old Checkout Operator jobs aren’t going to be around by the time my kids are looking for work so they need the best education they can possibly get to forge their path in life.

The gut / brain connection is something I’m always talking to my patients about, if the gut health isn’t right then the brain isn’t going to have the clarity it needs to function effectively.  Neurotransmitter imbalance is often to blame for learning and behavioural issues in children and this can be caused by toxicity, infection, digestive dysfunction, low nutrient levels or a combination of all of them..

Poor gut health can lead to difficulties in detoxification which can in turn contribute to oxidative stress and inflammation in the brain (Autism / ADHD / Behavioural issues), in digestion (food intolerances / digestive disorders), in the lungs (asthma) and also in the skin (eczema)..

Often when we start to correct poor gut health, reduce the inflammation and start healing the gut lining we will find improvements in all of these other areas, in particular behaviour and concentration in class. Having spent years working on my sons overall gut health and inflammation he now thrives in class, concentrating, learning and being a positive member of the group plus his anxiety has reduced substantially and he enjoys his days at school.

It’s interesting too that I generally find my children I treat who have learning or behavioural challenges also have either a poor appetite or are fussy eaters which can relate to a number of different things including the taste or texture of the food, an overgrowth of bad bacteria such as Candida albicans can cause them to crave sweet and starchy foods or it could be abnormal bacteria in the mouth producing toxins which change the way food tastes.

Nutritional deficiencies, food allergies or sensitivities will also have a negative impact on the brain function as our brain needs certain nutrients to function well.  Fish Oil (in particular DHA) in children can do wonders for the child’s brain development with improvements in behaviour and learning.  The important thing here is to ensure that when choosing a fish oil you get one that is well purified and good quality so this is not an area to let price dictate your choice.

Coconut Oil is a medium chain triglyceride (MCT) which requires less energy and enzymes to break down than other longer chain fatty acids we tend to consume thus making it easier to digest and absorb as well as a quicker source of energy.  It’s generally a good choice if kids have digestive disorders or have trouble digesting fats because they make them feel “sick”.

Adequate protein is a must in early childhood development with those kids not consuming enough protein finding it can affect their ability to learn as well as wreaking havoc with their blood sugar levels.

And of course overall vitamins an d minerals such as the B vitamins, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin A and Vitamin D as well as minerals such as Iron, Zinc, Magnesium and even Iodine.

Overall supporting a child’s learning difficulties is actually more complex than you may think and it requires a team effort to get success. Teachers, parents and even therapists need to work together towards the same goals with each doing their part of the puzzle, it’s the only way to get real, long term success otherwise you really are just putting a bandaid on the situation.

Until next time, stay calm and stay healthy.



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Posted in Autism, General, Kids Health and tagged , .