If your child struggles to learn, one important area to explore is health related factors. Here are some areas to explore:
A. Hearing – If you suspect a hearing problem, see an audiologist. Screenings done at the doctor’s office can miss many hearing problems. Audiologists can determine auditory acuity – the ears’ ability to hear sounds at different frequencies. Your child’s audiogram reveals how well the ear hears. You can test for acuity by speaking to your child behind or to the side. If he or she does not seem to hear or understand have a specialist check this. Further, you should have a tympanogram done to determine whether there is fluid in the ears. If so, it is like hearing under water. If your child has had a number of hear infections, language development probably has been delayed about each month for each infection. Again, fluid muffles the sound.
B. Vision – In like manner, visual screening and even an exam by a regular optometrist can miss some information that you need. Seeing a behavioral optometrist helps many children with learning or attention problems. Behavioral optometry is an expanded area of optometric practice. When you visit your behavioral optometrist, you may notice a difference in your examination. You will find that you are tested for very specific skills: tracking, fixation, focus change, depth perception, peripheral vision, reduced performance, discomfort, fatigue, etc. Some children benefit from visual training; others from different kinds of glasses. Think about the difference in the types of demands we place upon our eyes compared to 200 years ago. Are we requiring skills of our children’s eyes before they are developmentally ready? Neurodevelopmentalists (and at Unlocking Learning Potential, the Learning Specialist) also address these issues as a part of seeking to look at the whole person.
C. Allergies – According to some experts there are fixed allergies (you react every time), accumulative allergies (you react when your system takes in too much), and addictive (you crave what you react to; you may not notice if you have chronic problems and many allergens). Some common food allergens are: nuts, grains, dairy products, caffeine, refined sugar, table salt, MSG, artificial flavors and dyes. Some common environmental allergens are chlorine in shower water, molds, dust, mercury, lead, and other chemicals.
1. Discover the allergens by:
a. Skin testing – M.D.s use this method and it is more likely to be covered by insurance. b. Blood testing (Ig) – Alternative health professionals use this form of testing. (The results from these two types will not necessarily be the same.) c. Elimination diets – difficult, but are helpful and less expensive than allergy testing.
a. Many M.D.s frequently use allergy shots. b. Other health professionals recommend a rotation diet, eliminating, at least for a time, the allergens. They may eventually be added back for at least occasional use. There are a variety of eliminating diets. c. Get to the root cause. Homeopaths and others seek to do this. Allergens are less of a concern with a strong immune system.
For more information on allergies: Is This Your Child? Discovering and Treating Unrecognized Allergies by Doris Rapp, MD Available on www.amazon.com