Question: I have two friends that have utilized both structural adjustments and dietary supplements in their children. One of them experienced a huge boost in their ability to learn and function- so much so that he was mainstreamed. The other child improved, but it was a more subtle improvement in moods. I realize all kids are different and any progress is good, but how can I maximize my child's results?
Dr. Olejak: Dear Mom Seeking Better Results,
In previous posts we’ve mentioned the primary value of detoxification using the Detox Trio. Other supports could also include Gingko for blood flow to the brain, DHA/EPA for improved nerve function, and for retention and short term memory -- Bacopa monierri. In terms of maximizing learning the places you want to be looking at are:
- Supporting executive skills
- Managing your child’s word instead of their actions
Executive skills: Executive skills are so named as they oversee and manage
the cognitive functions of the brain. They play a major role in information processing, abstract thinking, problem solving, initiation and inhibition. The executive skills organize, sequence, sort, group, relate, differentiate, combine, separate and many other operations with the data and information taken into the brain through the senses. Children trained in these skills can use this information to plan, reason, make decisions and initiate/inhibit responses. This allows for cognitive flexibility and better information processing.
Difficulty with initiation and inhibition is undesirable as it can interfere with responding or cause one to be impulsive and inappropriate in behavior. The executive skills interplay with the attention skills in determining the target of focus and keeping track during attention shifting and divided attention.
There are a number of places parents can take children for training in executive skills. Help may be found through national organizations.
Managing your child’s word: Many parents make the mistake of managing
behavior. I think this is a mistake because it betrays the most basic relationship that the child has to language. What does that mean? It means creating agreements and honoring the words in those agreements. I had a situation once in the office where I treated a child that had some bruises. I’m obligated to ask about such things because of child abuse. As it turned out it was an older sibling bullying the younger one. The natural impulse of the older boy was to control the younger one, but we sat down and hashed out an agreement between the boys and the parent to use words instead of violence to solve disagreements. When the agreement was broken a time out ensued.
At first the boys were always in the time out, but after about a week they began to honor their word and the behavior stopped. You could apply the same technique to learning by setting up agreements (with rewards and consequences) keep the spirit of the agreement alive until it is fully implemented. It could be something as simple as limiting screen time during the school week or an agreement to sit down and help with homework at a specific time. My second daughter had a reading delay and we were advised to have her read out loud. I have an agreement with her about bedtime reading. She reads to me while I rub her back. We’ve done that for 2 years. She loves it and reads great now.