Holistic Approach to Neuro-development
As with speech therapy, physical rehabilitation, and occupational therapy, neruo-development involves doing exercises often and consistently over time. The exercises start of easy and well within the participant's ability. The exercises are slowly made harder and harder until mastery is reached. Doing exercises is important for neuro-development, but it is not the only helpful task.
As in planting a garden, just putting in the seeds into the ground does not make the garden. To have a good and productive garden the plants need to be nourished with food and water. We call food for plants fertilizer or compost. The better the nutrients, the better the vegetables and the faster the plants will grow.
The same can be said about neuro-development. The better the food and drink, the better and faster the nerve cells grow in neuro-development. A holistic approach to neuro-development involves doing the exercises, but also making sure the participant is getting adequate sleep, good nutrition, adequate sleep, eliminating toxins, and keeping toxic exposure at a minimum.
Good food includes much fruits and vegetables. Green leafy vegetables are probably the best super foods on the planet. Unfortunately, children used to eating sugar, breads, salts, and junk foods do not gravitate towards super foods. They usually avoid most of them and will bitterly complain when asked to partake of them.
Many parents have found if they slowly change their children's diets, they get much more success. There are some additional tricks of the trade. Smoothies made from fruits and fruit juices can hide an ample amount of super foods. Be careful not to add dairy products, ice, and sugar to your smoothies. They are unnecessary. Children will drink smoothies containing their favorite flavors of fruits. Fruit juices are usually plenty sweet for children. At first start off with just a little bit of superfoods like spinach in the smoothie. Most children can not taste a leaf or two of spinach in the mix of fruits and fruit juices. We recommend using frozen fruits such as frozen bananas and frozen berries (organic berries are the best). This will make your smoothies thick, cold and delicious. When the participant is used to drinking smoothies, then you can add more super foods and flax seeds to make your smoothies even more therapeutic for growth of neurons and/or dendrites. At first you may need to experiment the right fruit and juice combinations to find which mixtures are irresistible to your child. Then you can take that combination and over time change it into a drink that is very nutritious, affordable as well as enjoyable to your child.
Another tool for good dendrite growth is adequate sleep. For children with ADHD and children in this over stimulated world, adequate sleep may be a problem. Dendrites grow the most during sleep time. It is important to have adequate sleep. The younger the child, the more sleep that is needed. The more sleep that is needed, the earlier the bed time should be. Before bedtime, develop a routine that will signal the child that it is time to wind down and prepare for sleep. Many parents make the mistake of having too much stimulation within the child's bedroom. TVs, mirrors, video game consoles, radios, computers, tablets, cell phones all produce energy and may interfere with the child's ability to sleep. These things belong outside the bedroom. Children who are used to these things being in the bedroom will give them up kicking and screaming. They are not usually the ones concerned about their sleep or the type of grades they make in school. It may be difficult to remove these things form the bedroom, but it will greatly help the child get adequate sleep over the long run. They are not likely to respond right away, but over time there will be a big difference. Part of the routine of getting ready for bed can be to turn off all electronics and leave them off. It is a good idea to unplug or turn off the routers and wireless devices in the whole house at bed time because they too are emitting energy into the environment.
If these techniques do not work to improve sleep, more drastic measures may need to be taken. The child may need to be taken to a sleep specialist to rule out sleep apnea or another medical reason as to why the child is not able to sleep. Some children respond to a magnetic mattress cover to improve their sleep. Sleep is so important for good health and good performance in school. Make sure you and your children are getting plenty of sleep.
Another area that supports neuro-development is cognitive therapy. How a child thinks will usually determine the quality of life the child will have. Children with learning problems often have negative self talk and low self esteem. Cognitive therapy helps the child be more positive. Cognitive Therapy can really make a big difference especially to increase the motivation to complete exercises. A good place to start in cognitive therapy is by reading the book Mind Coach by Daniel Amen, ISBN: 1886554072. the book is well written and should be read to the child often by the child's parents. Some children may need to see a mental health provider that works with children with learning disorders and provides cognitive therapy.
Creating a home with a positive supporting environment is another tool to help neuro-development. Parents with substance abuse (e.g., alcoholism) can harm children thought the things they do and say. Verbal abuse is destructive to brain development and many children with ADHD, Dyslexia, and other learning disorders are from domestic violent homes. Do whatever it takes to establish a secure, positive, and peaceful environment for the child to be in. This will help you and your children. As mentioned in the book by Daniel Amen, give your children positive programming instead of negative programming
Be patient with yourself and your child. Children with learning problems did not choose to have them. There is not a pill that will correct their learning problem. It will take time and effort to make significant positive changes. You should see some initial results within 30 days but not 30 minutes. After the 30 days it will take much effort and work to get the child to grade or age level depending on the severity of the problem. It is often very frustrating to see your child make the same mistakes time after time, but a relaxed atmosphere creates the most growth. Take your time and enjoy the process. Do your best to be relaxed and positive when interacting with children with learning disorders.
A family schedule or routine is very helpful for neuro-development. Children should have a specific time to get ready for bed and a specific time to get up in the morning. Meals should be consistently scheduled as well. A school has a schedule and a routine that it follows, homes should be similar. It adds a sense of peace and safety for members of the household. Children are less likely to refuse or fuss about doing their homework and exercises if it is already scheduled and part of their regular routine.
Certainly exceptions in the routine can be made for tournaments, visitors, and other things that may interfere with a schedule. When that event is over, the family should return to the routine as soon as possilbe.
Use other resources as well. If you are religious, include progress in neuro-development as part of your prayers. Relatives may be able to help with some of the exercises giving a parent a little respite at times. In divorced families that have good parental communication, involve the other family with neuro-development as well. In divorce situations in which the parents are not cooperative with each other, it is often best not to involve the other parent in Neuro-development, it could end up to be just one more topic to disagree on and fight over which will not be helpful to the child. Some schools are very open to neuro-development and will even offer some school time to work on exercises. Some after school programs can even be helpful. You may have several resources available to you and your loved one in completing daily exercises.
In conclusion, neuro-development has the potential to change the participants life for the better. Any raise in IQ or reading ability will positively affect the individual for the rest of their life. While neuro-development takes much in time and effort, the rewards are worth it. There are additional things you can do to boost your efforts in neuro-development. These include but are not limited to good nutrition, adequate sleep, reduction of stress, learning good coping skills (e.g., cognitive therapy), developing a routine and using additional resources. All of these are great principles for life as well as completing neuro-developmental exercises. A holistic approach can add great benefits to your efforts in Neuro-development.
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