Eating for Two: Diet Considerations When Pregnant

Hands

Everyone knows that when you are pregnant you need to “eat for two”; we
hear that all the time. However, that is not exactly true. While it is true
that you do require a few more calories when pregnant, the source of those
calories is far more important than the actually calories themselves. The type
and amount of food that is consumed is vital to the health of a developing
fetus. The implications of a poor diet during pregnancy can be extremely far
reaching. The first consideration of any pregnancy diet should be to provide
what is essential for healthy development of a baby. A balanced diet is the best
way to ensure that proper nutrients are consumed.

The Statistics

According to the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention, one
out of every eighty-eight children born today will be diagnosed with an autism
spectrum disorder.

The Mother/Baby Connection

A study from researchers at University of California Medical Investigation
of Neurodevelopmental Disorders Institute found that women who had
diabetes, hypertension or were obese when pregnant put their children at a
greater risk of autism and other developmental problems later in life. Results
that were published in April 2012 Pediatrics illustrated that children of obese
or diabetic mothers had more than double the risk of impairments in motor and
social skills, language development and a 50 percent greater risk of autism.
Autistic children are generally malnourished from birth, even from conception.

Necessary Nutrients and Healthy Foods

Several specific nutrients are necessary to keep a pregnant mother and her
developing child healthy during pregnancy. Folate helps to prevent birth
defects and is found in oranges, broccoli, spinach and strawberries. Calcium
helps babies develop strong bones and teeth and is available in cheese, yogurt
and milk. Eating iron-rich foods such a beans help to keep a baby’s birth
weight from being too low. A diet balanced in whole grains, lean protein,
and vegetables keep pregnancy weight from escalating out of control and
contribute to healthy child development. Even mothers who are diligent with
regards to their diet during pregnancy may consume food that is depleted of
minerals due to highly hybridized crops. Food is far less nutrient dense than it
was only 50 years ago. Because of this, it is essential that pregnant women add

a high-quality whole food prenatal supplement to their diet. Research indicates
that pregnant women, who consume the recommended amount of folic acid,
especially during the first month of pregnancy, are less likely to have a child
with autism.

Foods to Avoid

Pregnant women who want to have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby
should avoid processed, sugar-laden foods as much as possible. Processed
foods contain empty calories, sugar, very few nutrients and unhealthy fats and
additives that contribute to the disease process and obesity. Pregnant women
should also drink plenty of purified water, limit caffeine and steer clear of soda
and artificially sweetened drinks.

About the Author: Susan Patterson is a nutritional consultant and a writer with
a passion for health. She recently wrote a series of articles dealing with sperm
bank
usage in America.

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When Clothes Make Your Child Cry: Tactile Defensiveness and Sensory

Greener

We all have some clothes that feel more comfortable than others. However,
people with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) often have an extremely difficult
time with tags, certain fabrics and closures. This reaction can range from
mild irritation to almost debilitating annoyance in some circumstances. The
technical term for this sensitivity is tactile defensiveness. For parents of
children with SPD, getting dressed in the morning can be a vicious battle.
However, few things can be done to lessen the tension and the tears.

Occupational Therapy

The first step in dealing with tactile defensiveness is to have your child fully
evaluated by an occupational therapist. A therapist will be able to conduct a
thorough evaluation and design an integrative and therapeutic approach that
will hopefully help your child deal with sensitivity issues.

Footwear and Socks

Parents report that trying to get their children to put on socks and shoes is one
of the most difficult tasks. While most children with SPD will tolerate certain
types of sandals, running shoes, boots or other closed-toed shoes seem to be
far too restrictive. Some parents have purchased moccasins with solid soles
that can be tied very loosely but still provide support. Other children can wear
Crocs without any trouble, as they tend to fit loosely. Seamless socks or nylon
hose are sometimes more comfortable to wear than heavy socks with seams. Of
course, in the summer, flip-flops and bare feet are a favorite choice of children
with SPD.

Fabric Irritation

The best thing to do with any new clothes is to be sure to wash them a few
times before your child wears them and use extra fabric softener. Organic
cotton and hemp clothing are naturally softer than clothing made with
synthetic fibers. Although you will pay a little more for these clothes, they
will last a long time. If your child is required to wear a uniform with a collared
shirt to school, you can sew some very soft fabric on the inside of the collar
to lessen the sensitivity. This method also works to increase the comfort of
waistbands on pants.

Clothing Tips

· Remove all tags from shirts and pants

· Don’t purchase clothing with lace, tight collars, turtlenecks or heavy seams

· Check with the school to see if you child can wear slippers while in the
classroom

· Let your child wear a lycra/spandex compression shirt under clothes.

· Once you find clothing that works, stick with it. Purchase different colors
of the same shirt and pants when you know they work it is easier than trying
something new

· Unscented laundry detergent for sensitive skin works best

· If you purchase clothes at consignment stores they are worn-in

· Use cushiony, warm socks when boots are needed

· Encourage your child to wear certain clothes by buying clothes with logos or
images that he/she likes. For example, dogs, cats or certain sports

The Benefit of Massage

If you go to an occupational therapist, they will more than likely encourage you
to rub or have your child rub their skin down after their shower or bath. You
can start with lotion and progress to baby washcloths to rougher washcloths,
scrubbies and loofa sponges. This will help increase your child’s tolerance and
decrease touch sensitivity. This practice can be done several times a day or as
tolerated.

About the Author: Susan Patterson is a freelance writer and a health advocate.
She writes on a number of different topics and recently published an article
regarding health issues and sperm donors.

Gluten Intolerance and Autism: Simple Solutions are Possible

Cutting warm bread, at Q's party, Broadview Neighborhood, Seattle, Washington, USA

As medical professionals become more and more aware of the impact that
gluten has on behavior, there has been a dramatic increase in the inclusion of
gluten-free diets in the treatment protocol used for autistic children. Parents,
frustrated with traditional methods of treatment and therapy that don’t
seem to be making a difference, are considering the impact that diet has on
behavior. Both sound medical research and anecdotal evidence demonstrate
that thousands of children have benefited from diet alterations.

Considering Diet

Food is fuel to the body like gas is fuel to a car. Put the wrong fuel in your car
and it will not perform, as it should. The same goes with the human body if
we give our body the wrong fuel it will not reward us with good service and
may, in fact, suffer immeasurably as result. Children require fats, proteins,
carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, nucleic acids and water
in order to survive. With such a lengthy list of requirements, it is foolish
not to consider the role that diet plays when it comes to overall health and
the disease process. Food should be treated in the same way that drugs are
treated. Negative reactions to foods, especially processed foods are common
and vary with each person. Diet should always be addressed as part of any
holistic treatment regimen.

Meet Jaden

Jaden is a 6-year old girl who has severe autism and was evaluated for nutrient
deficiencies and celiac disease. Celiac disease is a condition that causes
damage to the lining of the small intestine that keeps it from absorbing
essential parts of food. This damage is caused by a reaction to eating gluten
(protein composite) found in wheat, barley, rye, and sometimes oats. Test
results indicated that Jaden did, in fact, have celiac disease and that she was
deficient in many vital nutrients. She was put on a gluten-free diet and given
high-quality nutritional supplements. Soon after being put on the diet, Jaden’s
symptoms resolved, and signs of autism began to fade.

What is True

Jaden is just one of thousands of children whose autistic behaviors completely
resolved because of a change in diet. Celiac disease is closely related to
central nervous system dysfunction and indicates that nutritional deficiency, in
some cases, may be the determinant of developmental delay. It makes sense

that all children with neurodevelopmental problems be evaluated for Celiac
disease and nutritional deficiencies before trying other treatment options. It
is amazing that so many parents and children struggle with autism because of
something so simple as a reaction to the protein in wheat and other grains.

Gluten-Free Diets

Gluten-free diets are not incredibly restrictive, and as more people become
aware of their inability to process gluten, gluten-free alternatives are popping
up all over the place. Many healthy foods are naturally free of gluten including
beans, eggs, fruits and vegetables, most dairy products, nuts and seeds. There
are also many grains and starches that can be included in a gluten-free diet
such as amaranth, buckwheat, millet, flax, rice and quinoa. This gives parents
a wide selection to choose from in order to provide health and tasty meals.

About the Author: Susan Patterson is a freelance health writer who writes
on a number of health topics. She recently finished an article on cord blood
banking.

All in the Family: Siblings of Children with Asperger Syndrome

Mother&Daughter

When her four year old child was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome (AS),
Marie had three other children ages 7, 9 and 11. It was a full house indeed,
and a busy schedule to manage before the news. Marie also ran a busy in-
home daycare business that she had to let go when she learned of her child’s
struggle.

“It was just too much, with my four children and my youngest such
a challenge. I knew that if I was going to give my family 100% of my
attention, I could not look after other people’s kids”. – Marie

The Plan

Marie and her husband rocketed into action after the diagnosis and began to
formulate a plan of attack. They consulted their physician and therapist and
spent a great deal of time thinking and creating a strategic plan of action. The
plan not only included a comprehensive and therapeutic approach to helping
their young child with AS but also a plan to be sure that the needs of the rest
of their children were not ignored The key was to maintain a strong connection
to all of their children while still providing the care that their youngest
child required. Often when one child in a family has special needs, other
children can feel isolated. Because a child with AS does require a great deal
more attention than a “typical” child, parents often dump all their time and
resources into helping this child and unintentionally let the needs of siblings go
by the wayside.

“It was very important that our plan included the whole family, everything
from making sure that our other children kept up their schedules and
felt included and loved. We did not want to disrupt the balance within
our family and were determined to create a healthy environment for
everyone”. – Marie

The Reaction

Marie’s three children reacted with a sense of relief to the diagnosis. She
stated that everyone knew something was wrong, but no one could figure it
out. The children were all very willing to help, and everyone had a special
role to play. Marie and her husband spent a great deal of time educating
their children about AS and allowed them to have their feelings validated and
questions answered.

Special Time

With the help of extended family, Marie and her husband were able to arrange
to spend one-on-one time each week with their children. There were special
outings, movies, trips to the park, lunches, ball games and date nights that
helped keep family ties strong. Life at home was sometimes stressful so
everyone enjoyed the special time. A housekeeper was hired to help with
cleaning so that Marie could have more time to dedicate to the family. In
addition, Marie’s husband was able to alter his schedule at work so that he had
one full day off during the week. This allowed Marie to help at her children’s
school and spend well-deserved alone time.

“We do our best each day to cope with the challenges we face. Although it
has taken some adjustment, we are a very open family and have tackled
our challenges as a team rather than as individuals. We encourage open
communication and do our best to support and protect each other while
providing for the needs of our youngest child. “ – Marie

About the Author: Susan Patterson is a freelance writer who posts articles to
a number of health-related websites. She recently finished an article outlining
the benefits of cord blood banking.

Sensory Diet in the Classroom: What Helps

Observing.

If your child has a mild sensory disorder, the classroom can be a scary place. Children with mild sensory disorders need some extra understanding and a few simple adjustments in order to thrive. Even if a child has not been diagnosed with a sensory processing disorder, parents can still work with the school and teachers to make things a little easier. Teachers appreciate parents who are open about their children’s struggles and will do everything they can to foster a rich learning and social environment. 

 

504 Plans 

 

Children who do not receive special education services can still get help through a 504 plan. This plan is a document that states that certain accommodations must be made for your child. These include such things as allowing your child to eat lunch away from a noisy cafeteria, and allotting more time to take tests. 

 

What Sensory Overload Looks Like For Your Child 

 

Sometimes children who suffer with sensory issues are mislabeled “bad” by teachers and school administration. It is critical that parents share with schools and teachers what happens to their child when he/she becomes overloaded. In short, what are the triggers and what are the outcomes if the child becomes overexcited. Every child that struggles with sensory issues has a different threshold and set of triggers. Most teachers have received training in child behavior but addressing sensory issues is a very fine line and teachers must be made aware to avoid misdiagnosing a particular situation. Open communication between parents and teachers is critical. Parents can take part in coming up with solutions and work with the teacher as a team to help create an environment conducive to learning. 

 

Sensory Diet Ingredients 

 

While each child’s sensory diet may be somewhat different, there a few tried and true methods that help keep sensory challenged children on track.

 

Walking: Sitting for a long period can create anxiety and overload. Taking frequent walks, perhaps with a classroom aid, is a useful tool to reduce stimulation.

 

Music: Many children who suffer with sensory issues find listening to calming music with an audio player a great way to stay on task and regain composure. Nature sounds, classical or other instrumental music seems to work best. Allowing a sensory challenged child frequent breaks to listen to music may prove a great way to avoid a “melt down”.

 

Busy Hands: Koosh balls, hair bands, stretchy toys, a piece of cloth or fabric or anything else that keeps a child’s hands busy seems to increase attentiveness.

 

Movement: All kids, especially those who have sensory challenges, need to be able to get up, move around and enjoy fresh air. If outdoor play is not possible, time on an indoor gym, yoga, stretching or dancing seem to enhance focus and provide a healthy outlet for stress.

 

Weighted Lap Pad: Many teachers find great success using a weighted lap pad. The pad is not extremely heavy or uncomfortable, but serves as a gentle reminder to a child that they should sit still and try to focus. Weighted pads provide calming sensory input and well as a physical cue to stay in place.

About the Author: Susan Patterson is a freelance writer and a nutritional consultant who writes on many health topics for sites like Fertile-Future.

Ten Myths About Children with Autism

Autism

Autism is presently defined by behaviors that fit into three broad areas:
communication difficulties, patterns of restrictive, repetitive actions or
interests and social difficulties. People who are uneducated about autism
may make judgments about this condition, which can lead to stereotyping.
Unfortunately, as awareness increases so do the myths. A complete
understanding is necessary in order to abolish misconceptions.

Myth #1

Children with autism are not able to feel empathy: While it is true that
someone with autism may have a difficult time reading someone’s emotions
based solely on body language or tone of voice, they can feel compassion when
emotions are communicated directly.

Myth #2

Autistic children don’t want any friends: Social skills are highly
underdeveloped in children with autism and they may seem withdrawn or
unfriendly. This, however, does not mean that they do not desire relationships.
It is just more difficult for them to convey their feelings.

Myth #3

Children with autism are not smart: On the contrary, children with autism can
have some exceptional abilities. Many autistic children have a normal or high IQ
and excel in music, math or other pursuits.

Myth # 4

Children with autism will have autism their whole life: Recent research
indicates that many children labeled with autism, who receive early intensive
intervention, often test negative for autism later on.

Myth #5

Autism is caused by bad parenting: At one time, it was thought that autism
was caused by a lack of maternal warmth; however, this is simply not true.

Myth #6

Children with autism cannot feel happy or sad: Children with autism still
feel emotions, happy and sad. They just have a difficult time communicating
these emotions.

Myth #7

Every child displays the same autism symptoms: Because autism is a
spectrum disorder, symptoms vary widely. Limitations and capabilities are very
different in each child.

Myth #8

Autism is a brain disorder: Recent research is moving more towards the fact
that autism can be the result of food sensitivities, allergies or gastrointestinal
disorders.

Myth #9

Children with autism are not affectionate: Children with autism can appear
to be detached, but this should not be read as a lack of interest in affection.
While you may have to teach an autistic child how to hug that does not mean
that he/she does not want to receive or give a hug. Some autistic children may
be overly sensitive to extremely close contact and prefer a handshake to a hug.

Myth #10

Children with autism do not look at you: Some children with autism may have
an unusual eye gaze, but this is not true in all cases. It is common for children
with autism to look at other parts of the face or body as opposed to the eyes.
This does not mean that they are not looking at you; they are just processing
information in a different way than other children.

About the Author: Susan Patterson is a freelance writer with an interest in
health-based topics such as the importance of cord blood banking.

ADHD: Understanding the Diagnosis

Joy

ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is one of the most over-
diagnosed conditions of our time. Even professionals debate freely over what
ADHD is and whether or not it is a valid “condition”, a genetic disorder, a
response to a diet full of processed foods, synthetic sweeteners, artificial
additives and petrochemical-based food dyes or just kids being kids. All
children exhibit some degree of hyperactivity, impulsivity, or inattentiveness
from time to time. Kids don’t always like to sit still and often march to their
own drum. My youngest child would hang from the top shelf of the pantry
and turn circles around me when I was trying to talk to her. A challenge,
yes, a condition, no! Simply a strong willed, excitable kid who needed loving
boundaries, a healthy diet, plenty of exercise and a good night’s sleep. Careful
observation of children and an understanding of developmental stages are
often useful when considering certain behavioral patterns. More children than
ever are being diagnosed with ADHD and parents who receive this diagnosis
may feel confused or pressured to medicate when they don’t really want to.

Do Your Own Research

If your child has been diagnosed, it is best to do your own research before
making any decisions regarding treatment. Talk with other parents and consult
professionals in the field whom you can trust. There are many different
opinions regarding the best treatment options. It is important to understand
what works for one child may not work at all for others. It may be that you find
a combination of treatments proves best. It is essential not to rush into any
decisions, and to do all of your homework before making a decision.

A Change in Diet

The journal Pediatrics published a study that confirmed that when drugs
and behavioral therapies are unsuccessful, altering a child’s diet might
prove beneficial. Our Western diet is full of toxic additives and many people
develop severe reactions to these additives. Eliminating processed foods and
replacing them with wholesome organic options is very often all it takes to
reduce or eliminate ADHD symptoms all together. The fact that mainstream
science is finally coming around to the idea of what a crucial role diet plays in
behavior is a victory for people who have been citing this for years. For me,
changing my child’s diet was just part of the solution, but it was a big part. We
eliminated refined sugar of any kind and reduced natural sugar such as juices
and an excess of fruit. We also eliminated foods with synthetic sweeteners,
preservatives, or colorings. Lots of vegetables and leafy greens, healthy fats

and organic protein sources rounded out the diet. It took a little effort to
prepare food, but it was well worth it in the end. My daughter responded well
to the new diet and the tantrums disappeared, she was much more amiable
and ready to listen. She was still busy and still challenging, and is to this day,
however, the diet definitely made a tremendous difference in her behavior.
Nine years later, she still skirts around the house singing, talking or stomping.
She does not like to play alone and often wants to be center stage. However,
this is who she is, I am convinced, not some condition. I celebrate her passion
for life, set boundaries and consequences for inappropriate behavior and
accept her for who she is. Parenting is a full time job, and each child is
different. Accepting this is a good place to start when considering whether to
accept a diagnosis you are not comfortable with.

About the Author: Susan Patterson is a freelance writer with an interest in
nutrition and health. She writes for a number of health sites on a variety of
topics including a recent article on the importance of fertility preservation.

Social Skills and High Functioning Asperger Syndrome

Izzy

High-functioning Asperger Syndrome (HFA) is characterized by clumsy social
skills that are often viewed as “nerdy” or awkward. Children with HFA
desperately wish to be accepted by their peers. They may become extremely
frustrated by their inability to make and keep friends. This is especially true of
school-aged children.

Meet Jessie

Jessie is a beautiful 10-year-old girl with a smile that melts ice, however, she
has no real friends at school and often eats lunch alone. Jessie appears to
daydream while in class and is not overly responsive when called upon. On her
last report card, Jessie received all A’s and always has her homework done on
time. She loves math and excels at even the most advanced curriculum for her
grade. Jessie collects model horses and has close to fifty in her room that she
routinely counts or rearranges. While other kids in school attempt to engage
Jessie in conversation, she seems generally uninterested and only occasionally
will return a “hello”. When Jessie does try to engage in conversation, she
struggles and responds harshly, making other kids feel uncomfortable. Jessie
has HFA and desperately wants to be included and liked by her peers.

Life on Stage

Children, like Jesse, feel as if they are always being watched. Their every
move is being scrutinized. When anxiety steps in, social skills all but disappear,
and they become paralyzed. In order for kids with HFA to be comfortable,
there must be complete acceptance without judgment. This is often difficult
for children who are overtly honest and innately judgmental. Parents,
teachers, and caregivers must constantly be on guard for situations where
children with HFA are not being accepted and provide a buffer.

Negative Feedback

When children with HFA struggle with relationships, they become isolated and
traumatized. This negative feedback can exacerbate their condition. Children
with HFA become unhappy with their circumstances and with themselves
and have a much more difficult time reaching out. They may become shy,
withdrawn or depressed. In addition, they are often bullied or intentionally left
out in the school setting.

Not a Lack of Understanding

What makes social situations so difficult for HFA children is that they don’t
respond as everyone else typically might in certain situations. This is often
misinterpreted as the child not reading social situations well. However, they
actually do read the situation well, but they just don’t respond accordingly.
This inability to respond accurately is triggered by an increase in emotional
arousal that temporarily disables their ability to access their skills. It is
not that the knowledge does not exist it does it just goes into hiding when
emotions take over. Like a person who practices for a speech in front of the
mirror for days perfectly but freezes on stage, HFA children freeze in social
situations and this creates the illusion that they lack the ability to interact and
respond accordingly.

Each Child is Different

Every child is different and should be treated as an individual. It takes
education, patience and understanding to encourage children with HFA to
become integrated into social settings. Once a child with HFA is accepted the
tension is released, and communication skills generally improve. The key is
getting a child to a safe spot and keeping them there.

About the Author: Susan Patterson is a homeschool mother and a freelance
writer with a passion for health. She writes for a number of sites on a variety of
topics including how sperm banks operate.