Learning disabilities affect many children, teens and even adults. The renowned Mayo Clinic tells us that “a learning disorder is an information-processing problem that prevents a person from learning a skill and using it effectively. Learning disorders generally affect people of average or above average intelligence. As a result, the disorder appears as a gap between expected skills, based on age and intelligence, and academic performance.” Perhaps in many cases it is not that kids and teens cannot learn a skill and utilize it well, but it might take longer, and they might have to learn a different way than the average student, due to differences in brain wiring. Often a doctor who works with kids and teens with learning disabilities also works with those with brain-wiring disorders such as ADHD.
A learning disability can have many different appearances ranging from difficulty reading or writing to trouble interpreting nonverbal cues in social interactions. No matter how a learning disability may manifest in a child or teen, as parents there is something you can do to help your child.
As usual, diet can make a significant difference in a child or teen with a learning disability. It stands to reason that every child should have a healthy diet (plus supplements) without much junk food, and rich in healthy nutrients which one finds abundantly in veggies and other clean whole foods (avoid overly processed foods like standard mac and cheese, etc. as these will not adequately support normal and healthy development). Mindfulness practices, like yoga and meditation, which encourage and support people to focus on the present moment, will be a definite asset to a child with learning disorders, especially those requiring focus. Kids and teens with learning disabilities are more likely than other kids to have food allergies/sensitivities, so avoiding sensitive foods is a good idea. Cutting way down – or out – refined sugar plus wheat is another great idea to help your child develop in a healthy way and improve focus.
Certain supplements have been studied. These include omega-3 (fish oil, cod liver oil), vitamin D, and methionine, one of the amino acids. Remember that amino acid therapy is known for repairing brain chemistry as opposed to manipulating neurotransmitters. A deficiency in methionine can affect learning. Recent research “found that 51 percent of autistic children showed evidence of methionine deficiency,” according to a recent article in Parenting Special Needs Magazine. Zinc can play a role in brain function, as it protects against oxidative stress and slowing processing of information.
While a complete diet change might be difficult all at once, doing things little by little can go a long ways. Especially in the case of our children who might be struggling from a learning disability and possibly other mental health challenges that can go along with that.
View more in depth information on Amino Acid Therapy or other nutritional and holistic measures that you can begin to implement for your child today.
As always – have a happy, holistically healthy day!
Dr. Donna Poppendieck (Dr. P) has over 30 years of experience in the mental health care field. She is a seasoned college professor and instructor for providers. She uses credible, proven holistic health strategies in instruction for parents of children with mental health challenges looking for another approach as well as healthcare providers seeking to implement or understand holistic strategies.