The preceding chapters have given you a solid understanding about how to start the healing journey. This chapter’s purpose is to make that information more accessible by summarizing and outlining some of the most important steps to take toward healing. (Additionally, it expands on information given in Chapter 4 regarding Attentional Priority Disorder and how The HANDLE Institute effectively addresses attention disorders and other neurological challenges.) If you don’t see results after applying the principles outlined here, don’t give up. Keep searching for other natural therapies that promote the healing of root causes rather than the management of symptoms. Remember, the body and brain will heal under the right circumstances. Have faith, and push forward.
Eliminate Stressors and Distractions
As discussed earlier, sensory overload is common for children and adults who have an attention disorderwhich The HANDLE Institute has characterized as Attentional Priority Disorder (APD). When overload occurs, attention to tasks at hand won’t occur efficiently, and frustrated outbursts, meltdowns, or shut downs are likely. Therefore, do what you can to remove or minimize environmental offenders if you want the child to attend to your instructions or rules. Doing so successfully requires your acute empathy and perception: what you can normally “tune out,” the APD child may not be able to. Try to remove or reduce any of these following stressors/environmental offenders before requesting a child’s attention:
· The sights and sounds of a TV.
· Background music.
· Tight and/or synthetic clothing on the child. (Such tactile sensations can absorb the child’s attention.)
· Strong odors, regardless of whether or not they strike you as pleasant.
· Patterns in fabric such as clothing, drapes, furniture, carpets, etc. (Patterns can give way to visual overload.)
· Fluorescent lighting, particularly when flickering.
· Sunlight (when it interferes with vision).
· A blowing fan.
· Audible conversations or others talking.
· Echoes (which may be present in certain rooms).
· Traffic noise.
· Other similar types of tactile, visual, auditory, or olfactory (smell system) distractions.
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Allow Certain Behaviors
People with APD may exhibit behaviors that make them look unfocused and inattentive (such as squirming in their seats, avoiding eye contact, or insisting on wearing a visor). In reality, their behavior is an effort to mitigate the effects of stimuli that may not only distract them but also cause them to feel uncomfortable or physically insecure: everyday sights and sounds, a lack of balance, poor muscle tone, and so forth. Before assuming a restless or fidgeting child isn’t paying attention to you, allow the behavior to continue while talking with the child, then determine whether he or she has been able to pay attention to what you’ve said.
Some behavioral situations to allow:
· She’s looking away while you’re talking to her. (She may be reducing visual input so she can focus on what’s being said.)
· He’s slouching in his chair. (He may not have adequate muscle tone. Slouching reduces stress on the neurological system responsible for muscle tone, allowing him to feel more comfortable and better able to pay attention.)
· He wants to wear a visor. (He’s reducing glare and/or reducing the flicker of fluorescent lights, which may be uncomfortable or painful.)
· She’s drumming with a pencil, moving around, or fidgeting. (She’s keeping her vestibular system activated so she can process information and pay attention.)
Finally, keep in mind that APD children tend to process information at a slower rate than their peersso patience is required.
Visit a HANDLE Practitioner
The HANDLE Institute’s approach has a unique understanding of neurological function. HANDLE’s evaluation process leads to a neurodevelopmental profile that offers a significant understanding as to which neurological systems are compromised, weak, or not connecting with other systems. The institute’s practitioners work with people of all ages (on an out-patient basis) who have neurological challenges, including dyslexia, autism, Tourette’s syndrome, traumatic brain injury, learning disabilities, behavioral issues, and attention disorders, as well as those who experience challenges in daily life who have not been given a diagnosis or label. Once a child’s unique neurological profile is understood, a customized program is provided to strengthen and reorganize weak systems, utilizing a Gentle Enhancement® program of low- or no-impact exercises. Activities require about a half hour per day and can be carried out at home. Minor changes are often noticed in two weeks while significant improvement can be seen in three to six months. Probably the greatest benefit of the HANDLE approach is that the gains achieved from the program are lasting, even after treatment has stopped. Visit www.handle.org. HANDLE is very highly recommended for parents who want to see significant gains in their child.
Stop Eating Poison
Most food available to us is genetically modified, irradiated, stripped of vital nutrition, and loaded with synthetic chemicals and heavy metals. In reality, it’s pretty much poison doctored up to look and feel like food. Vibrant health and neurological repair requires abundant nutrition, not abundant toxins! Therefore:
· Stop eating at fast food restaurants.
· Stop eating conventionally grown food (at least at home).
· Stop all dairy consumption (e.g., milk and cheese).
· Stop eating highly processed foods (such as prepackaged meals, white bread, white rice, pastries, sodas, and other food items that have been mass produced, stripped of fiber and nutrients, loaded with sugar and synthetics, or otherwise rendered unhealthy).
· Stop eating any foods with synthetic additives, such as dyes, preservatives, and flavorings.
· Stop eating sugar-coated breakfasts and other sugar-infused items (juices with added sugar or corn syrup, sodas, excessive sweets, and so forth).
· Stop consuming sources of fluoride, including fluoridated tap water, fluoride tablets, and fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride is a deadly poison that may affect neurological functioning and overall health. (There’s a reason for the fluoride warning on toothpaste!)
Eat Organic at Home
Fill your entire pantry and fridge only with organic food. Organic food is the best food available, so why not have it in your home to help ensure health and nutrition? Remember, it’s much less expensive at natural food stores than at conventional supermarkets.
Eat Alive and Whole Food
Prepare your meals from scratch, using fresh food from the produce section, whole grains, and as little boxed, frozen, or canned food as possible. Alive, whole, fresh food is very important because it has far more nutritional value than prepackaged mealscanned, boxed, or frozen.
Shop at a Natural Food Store
To make adopting a natural lifestyle easier, shop at a natural food/health food store, where you won’t have to sift through unhealthy products. Natural food stores stock consistently nutritious items and nontoxic alternatives to household supplies as well as other products. While there, shop for:
· Organic food.
· Nontoxic cleaning supplies.
· Botanical, chemical-free soaps, shampoos, detergents, and body products.
· Chlorine-free diapers and feminine products.
· Fluoride-free toothpaste.
Detoxify the Body and Brain
Toxins impair overall health and neurological functioningand, unfortunately, they’re everywhere: in our water, in our air, in pharmaceutical products, in synthetic fabrics, in household cleaning products, in cosmetics, in foods grown with pesticides and laden with synthetic chemicals, in allergensand the list goes on. Our toxic world overwhelms our natural defenses and infiltrates our bodies and brains. To improve our health, it’s important to remove these toxins from our systems. See a natural health practitioner, and use the tips below:
· Wheat grass juice and chlorella are excellent detoxifying agents.
· Colon cleansing removes stored toxins.
· Chelation therapy is an option for heavy metal removal. Consider transdermal chelation (applied to the skin). Chelation therapy requires supervision from a qualified professional, such as a naturopathic physician or a medical doctor who practices natural medicine.
· Eat vegetables that naturally detoxify the body, such as beets, raw potatoes, asparagus, and parsley. Do not underestimate the power of these whole foods. Eat them (especially raw potato) in small quantities, and be sure to drink plenty of water in conjunction with this or any detox protocol.
Take Potent Supplements
Inadequate nutrition precipitates and exacerbates poor neurological health. The following supplements, discussed throughout this book, can be tremendously useful in improving brain functioning (and overall well-being):
· Probiotics help to augment intestinal flora and are highly recommended, especially for those who undergone an antibiotic treatment. Bio-K is an excellent brand found at natural food stores.
· Enzymes are helpful for proper digestion, which is required for nutrient absorption.
· Green super foods, such as spirulina, barley grass, and chlorella, help provide whole-food nutrition. Green super food powders and formulas, such as Barlean’s Greens, are an excellent option. (Mix the formula into juice, then drink.)
· Consume high amounts of essential fatty acids, such as flaxseed oil or fish oil. Essential fatty acids build myelin in the brain, thereby increasing the speed at which information is processed. Flaxseed oil can be added to salad dressings, smoothies, and meals after they’ve been cooked (try it on baked potatoes, stir fries, and burritos).
· Take an amino acid custom-blended supplement. Amino acids are the building blocks for neurotransmitters, the chemical language of the brain. Request an amino acid test from a naturopathic physician, and ask her to acquire the custom blend for you.
Be Wary of Vaccinations
Because of public outcry and thousands of lawsuits, mercurythe second most lethal substance to humanshas been removed from some childhood vaccines. However, it’s still present in flu vaccines and other vaccines. Furthermore, contrary to manipulated statistical data and public relations blitzes, there is no credible evidence that the synthetic immunity from vaccines is any better than natural immunity; in fact, it may be quite the opposite.
One of the best reasons to adopt a natural lifestyle is so that natural immunity will be high, therefore avoiding any need (perceived or otherwise) for vaccinations with toxic ingredients and pathogenic viruses and bacteria. One of the best books on the topic is Immunization: The Reality Behind the Myth (Greenwood Press, 1995) by Walene James. It offers an accessible, well-researched, highly illuminating overview of this controversial issue.
Also see GenerationRescue.
Visit a Naturopathic Physician
Visit a naturopathic physician or a medical doctor who practices natural medicine. Run all available tests for heavy metal toxicity and amino acid deficiencies. Consider other tests, such as stool tests (which check for candida) and blood tests (which check for mineral imbalances). Your physician should be able to provide you with a detoxification program that includes chelation therapy. You may want to request transdermal DMPS chelation, and ask the physician to read the Appendix of this book. To find a qualified naturopath, visit the American Association of Naturopathic Physician’s Web site at www.naturopathic.org and chose a naturopath from their database.
Visit a Holistic Dentist
A holistic dentist will not use toxic mercury amalgam in your child's mouth. Because other dental materials are much safer, why not help ensure that toxic mercury vapor won’t accumulate in the tissues of your child?
Adopt a Natural Living Lifestyle
How you choose to live becomes an extension of how your child lives. To the degree that you adopt natural living so will your child, and that will play a major role in determining his or her physical and neurological health. This entire book is an explanation of why and how to live a natural lifestyle (even natural medicine falls under the umbrella of natural living). Much of the plan for neurological healing, and recovering from attention disorders, is natural living in action. For a more comprehensive understanding of how to live the natural lifestyle and why, read my book, The Beginner’s Guide to Natural Living. Meanwhile, you can make the changes described above, and throughout this book, to improve your child’s neurological functioning and overall well-being.