Preventing mental illness starts prenatally

Pregnant woman with apple, slice cake in hands on blue.

What if we could wipe out many forms of mental illness through the prenatal vitamins that a pregnant woman takes?  Sounds a little like science fiction, doesn’t it?  But, there are studies now showing that by adding the B vitamin, choline, the development of the fetal and child brain takes a more healthy growth trajectory than those who don’t get the supplementation. They did continue to give the choline supplementation after birth to the test group, which is also important to realize, since the brain does most of it’s growing in the first 3 years of life. This article on the results of a study of choline supplementation is an important read to understanding how maternal nutrition and subsequent childhood nutrition can affect mental health.

Some people say that we shouldn’t have to use supplements, preferring to have them receive the needed nutrients through food.  Unfortunately, it has been shown time and again that we don’t take in foods the way we should, with too much if it containing fats, sugars, and processed carbohydrates. This especially became the case by WW II when we began to have frozen dinners, and soon after began to have fast food chains. And yes, I remember how exciting it was when we first got a McDonald’s in our town in the 60’s.

When people ask why is there such an increase in mental health problems in adults, but especially in children, it is multifaceted, but nutrition definitely plays a part. We have to treat ourselves better in order to have fulfilling lives. Let’s start with nutrition.

What do you know about gluten?

pediatric profiler pictureGluten Free!  That claim is showing up everywhere, some of which are extremely silly.  I recently saw one listed by a bowl of hard-boiled eggs at a conference breakfast.

Why are we so concerned about gluten?  It has been targeted as a culprit in many disorders, including autism.  But is it getting a bad rap?  Are we substituting one problem for another?

Now we know that people with celiac disease truly need gluten-free diets.  What about others?  Will it help the general population?

I found this article that looks at the myths surrounding gluten.  I hope you find it as useful as I have.

https://www.yahoo.com/health/5-myths-about-the-gluten-free-diet-trend-95211862078.html

Guest blog: Classroom quality — SFARI.org – Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative

See on Scoop.itDevelopmental & Behavioral Challenges in Children

Dr. Pat McGuire‘s insight:

This is a great article on the effect of classroom quality for preschoolers with autism.  As the article points out, most research is done in a clinical or lab setting which can optimize outcomes. This study was done with in the trenches teacher in their own schools.

An important caveat at the end, however, was that these schools were top notch schools.  What about early childhood programs where the teachers have not been fully trained in one or both of these methods and neither have their associates?

We need to push for all early childhood programs for children with autism to have comprehensive training for the teachers and associates, so that all of the children in our country have a fair chance of a great outcome.

See on sfari.org

Study Finds ‘Different’ Brain In Some With Autism – Disability Scoop

See on Scoop.itDevelopmental & Behavioral Challenges in Children

Stanford researchers have unearthed clues about the formidable brains of some children with autism, suggesting that the diagnosis may signal a different cognitive style, not disability.

Dr. Pat McGuire‘s insight:

This is encouraging news for parents of children with autism.  While not all will be as successful, at least there are more positives than has been historically relayed to parents.

See on www.disabilityscoop.com

Researchers Caution against Commonly Used Autism Supplement

See on Scoop.itDevelopmental & Behavioral Challenges in Children

Plant-based diets are healthy. Plants are high in flavonoids. But the concentrated flavonoids in supplements can affect the body in unpredictable and potentially harmful ways, according to a n

Dr. Pat McGuire‘s insight:

Parents of children with special needs have frequently felt desperate to provide their child with interventions and products that may help their child reach a higher potential than the professionals have predicted.  It is very understandable and because of that this article is extremely important for parents of children with autism so that they don’t do something that can lead to a very unexpected and scary event in their child’s life.

As with anything proposed to help children with special needs, ask yourself these three things before deciding to do it;

1) Is there scientifically proven double blind, placebo-controlled studies showing positive effects from the therapy or product (and what are the potential side effects)

2) Will it hurt the child (again side effects or other potential problems)

3) Will it break your bank.  This is important because, although not everything that will help children with special needs is covered by insurance, parents have to weigh the amount of help an intervention may have compared to how it affects their ability to provide the basics for them and their families.

See on www.autismspeaks.org

Clinical research: Eye problems common in autism — SFARI.org – Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative

See on Scoop.itDevelopmental & Behavioral Challenges in Children

Dr. Pat McGuire‘s insight:

This is an important article that highlights concerns that parents of children with autism have brought up frequently.  I wonder if the children who look at things sideways have the unequal acuity between eyes that they mention?  I know that I have uneven acuity (astigmatism in one eye and near sighted in the other to a different degree) and I find myself closing one eye depending on what I am focusing on.

I think it is important for children with autism to have an eye exam from a pediatric phthamologist who has experience working with children with special needs in order to get this looked at.

See on sfari.org

Trust: Top Down or Bottom Up?

different yet beautiful

different yet beautiful

I have a belief (my mantra) that all children are born wanting to be loved, accepted, and respected. The rest we have to teach them.
Trust is an important component of teaching children, especially ones with developmental and behavioral challenges.
I have worked with hundreds of parents and schools who misunderstand trust, where they are failing at modeling it, and where they are mislabeling competence as trustworthiness.
Competence is the ability to do something without supports. Trustworthiness is everyone (including the child) knowing that they can do it (are competent) and that they follow through.
One child in 6 has a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects how they learn, interpret the world, and interact with others.
Expecting competence and trustworthiness without taking these struggles into consideration leads to anger, frustration, and confusion by everyone involved.
Let’s begin by trusting that the child isn’t alive just to make your life worse. Let’s trust that they would rather be seen as a welcome addition to your life. Let’s trust that with continual help, they will be able to become competent and therefore more trustworthy in a variety of areas. Be aware, however, that this is on their timeline, not necessarily a chronologic (age) timeline or an academic (grade) timeline.

Top DownIn an organization, trust is generated from the top down rather than the bottom up. Sure, it is important for employees as well as leaders to be trustworthy, but the culture that allows trust to kindle and flourish is usually created by the leaders of the organization rather than the workers.

It is astonishing for me to see the blind spots that many leaders have about how pivotal their behaviors are to how trust is manifest in their entire organization. If the top leader or leaders do not act with integrity and consistency, it creates loops of “work around” activity in all of the other layers. There gets to be a kind of pseudo-trust where people look the part and act the part on the surface, but it is only skin deep. Under the surface, the ability to hold onto trust is as leaky as a bucket that has been…

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