Did you know I taught the binary system of numbers to my son when he was maybe 9 years old? Not only that – at the time he could go back and forth between the binary and decimal system for small numbers.
The twist is that my son has Down Syndrome, is Autistic, and non-speaking. But I wouldn’t classify him as a genius.
Over years I have worked on and refined a process that I call Non-Linear Education – that I have used to help my son overcome barriers – both imposed by society and sometimes by his multiple diagnoses.
In this podcast, I talk you through the 7 steps involved in teaching complex math (or science) to your child with Autism or Down Syndrome or other disabilities.
Welcome to the 100th episode of Functional Nutrition and Learning for Kids! I am your host Vaishnavi Sarathy – or just Vaish – and this is where we optimize learning for your Autistic child, this is where we break glass ceilings for your child with Down Syndrome. This is where we abandon the idea of intellectual delay and blaze new trails in learning and brain health through food, gut health, learning strategies, and through my very favorite tool – Non-Linear Education!
Today I am going to share a personal story that I have never shared in detail before – and this is the story of how I taught my son who has Down Syndrome, who is Autistic and non-speaking – Math – and not just Math – the binary system of numbers – and how to go back and forth between Binary and decimal – he was 8 or 9 at the time.
When I first shared parts of this story with friends and family, do you know what the first reaction was? Some of you may be feeling this right now!
It was disbelief. Some would say “No way”. I started posting about my journey on Facebook Groups at the time. I was part of a few really progressive (or so I thought) Facebook groups that were really invested in their kid’s growth.
I have since found that most Facebook groups are grounds for – how do I say this politely – wallowing in one’s opinions and struggles and hoping everyone shares them. There is actually huge value to this initially – to find your tribe, your group, your people that understand your pain. But do you know the biggest problem with finding this tribe, this group is?
It is this – if you don’t find the right tribe, most people just want their pain to be validated. But after pain, comes growth. With pain comes growth. And I was at the place where I thought people would want to know more about what I was doing, but interestingly, I was either ignored or dismissed.
And lest you think I am entering my own pity party, there are two lessons in this – lessons that are valuable to anyone seeking a journey that is off the beaten path – like teaching a child with Down Syndrome the binary system.
First, no one will validate you. No one will tell you it is possible. You just have to believe in it and keep trying new things. It is the new things part that is critical. If you do the same old rote learning system and hope to break new ground, it won’t happen.
Second, for your child, there will be no one as forward thinking as you! This is not a job to be outsourced. It has to be you.
Over years, I have gotten busier in my speaking lifestyle – creating courses, training parents, teaching kids, and tutoring, and I now have less and less time to do the ground breaking things that Sid and I did 7 years ago.
And I notice us slipping into rote learning. Because I am trying to keep his school happy, I am trying to cover curriculum, I am trying to make sure he gets his basic attendance. That we are moving at the pace that school wants us to – which is fast and shallow. And I notice that we are fast and shallow – nothing gets done. When we are slow and deep, when we sit with a topic and go where it takes us, worlds open up.
More about this in another podcast – I do want to talk about the difference in learning being fast and shallow vs slow and deep, but this is actually different depending on the age. Younger kids actually do better with a fast and shallow learning style.
I spent one week teaching Sid multiplication. Basically, all I did was say – in many different ways – that multiplication is repeated addition. I did this by saying exactly what I just said – drawing it out, showing apples, dots and potatoes in various arrays. That’s about it.
Then I thought that Sid might need to know some multiplication facts. By now, it was obvious to me that singing multiplication tables all the way to 20×20 the way I had done as a child was a terrible idea. I did consider going 6 once is 6, 6 twos are 12, and so on.. It is so tempting to ram facts into our kids that have been rammed into us. I still find it hard to resist.
But I did a few word problems for a few more weeks, and since he was homeschooled at this time – he might have been 7 or so, we were done with multiplication in a month. That’s it.
So I thought what next? I figured, why not follow the same pattern. Next month I told him, that repeated multiplication is exponents. And then we ran over some exponent forms. Again we did this for a few weeks. And I was bored.
So I thought what next – all our number systems – you see – whether binary or decimal are based on exponents – powers of two or 10.
This turned out to be a surprisingly easy concept to teach – and within the next month – we were converting simple numbers to their binary forms.
By this time, I was stunned – myself. How did this happen? What did I do? What did Sid do? What exactly is going on here?
I had no idea then, but in retrospect, I have isolated 7 main ideas that enabled my 8 or 9 year old son to start working on binary number systems.
Some people say that I must have a genius for a son. Others think I am deluded, or out to fraud the world. Of course, I have no answer for those people, but for those who think that my son is a genius – this is not the case, because when we dove into deeper equations like quadratic – when we did conventional math curriculum – we are doing it right now – 10th grade Algebra – he is not really that interested. He is doing OK, not phenomenal. It is hard for him, it is unmotivating for him.
And I know why – I am not following the 7 principles that I followed back in those days.
1. For a child – especially a child in special ed – who has been inundated with repetitive information for most of their lives – bring the information FAST and FIERY!
There is no need to go into 20 worksheets of how to do multiplication,followed by 20 word problems. Move quickly through ideas – not shallow, but just enough depth. Keep it interesting, that’s where the Fiery comes in.
2. Avoid death by worksheet. Here is a rule I want you to keep in mind for your Autistic child – the more worksheets you do on the same topic, the less likely it is they will stay focused (or learn).
3. Look around for the simplest way to teach a complex idea. For example – all I said is one sentence – Exponentiation is repeated multiplication. Don’t go on and on into details just yet. There is a time for that.
4. Don’t test, just teach. Don’t get sucked into repeated feverish testing. As long as it looks like your child is remotely engaged, and doesn’t hate what you are doing, for the beginning, teach more than you test. Beginning skills and understanding rely far more on INPUT than OUTPUT. You can ENGAGE your child in communication, like pointing, or choosing, but don’t make every engagement a TEST.
5. Don’t stay on a topic too long. Find a detour – go somewhere else – you can always come back. By too long, I mean more than a month!
6. If it is not fun for you, your child is not going to learn it! This is common-sense, but very few educators actually use it. We had a Geography teacher for Sid who used to say in class “I know everyone hates Geography – it is not fun”, and Sid actually loved Geography. So don’t do that. Don’t be that person.
7. Please believe in the core of your heart that despite what every doctor, teacher, or educator has told you – your child is truly capable. This is called Assuming Intelligence, and all the steps above will fail if this one is not in place.
So here you go – there are 7 steps to teaching your child the most complex concepts in the world! And you can go to www.functionalnutritionforkids.com/binary and get a worksheet to complement this podcast. Print it out – and make sure to USE It!!
I am so glad you joined my 100th podcast, and whether you choose to teach binary math or rocket science, or poetry, I wish you the best of journeys. As I bid goodbye to you today, if you have found value in this episode, I would love it if you left a review. Here’s a convenient link for you – www.ratethispodcast.com/vaish
There is often a correlation between how a child eats and how they learn. Dr. Bill Sears in this podcast talks about 4 points that he teaches kids and parents to focus on:
Go Nuts, and
I am so excited to interview someone whose work I followed so closely when my kids were younger. I am pretty sure I was on the “askdrsears.com” website all the time.
In this episode, Dr. Bill Sears talks about how he addresses growth issues in his practice and does a special segment just for us on how to further help children with Down syndrome who have growth issues.
There is often a correlation between how a child eats and how they learn. Dr. Bill Sears in this podcast talks about four points that he teaches kids and parents to focus on. Go Fish, go green, go nuts, and Go Blue. I was so excited to interview someone whose work I followed so closely when my kids were younger. I’m pretty sure I was on the Ask Dr. sears.com website all the time.
In this episode, Dr. Sears talks about how he addresses growth issues in his practice. And that’s a special segment just for us on how to further help children with Down Syndrome who have growth issues. William Sears MD has been advising parents on how to raise healthier families for over 50 years.
He received his medical training at Harvard Medical School’s Children’s Hospital in Boston, and the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, which is the world’s largest Children’s Hospital, where he was associate war chief of the newborn intensive care unit. Before serving as the chief of pediatrics at Toronto Western Hospital.
The father of eight children, he and his wife Martha have written over 45 books and hundreds of articles on parenting, child care, nutrition, and healthy aging. I’m guessing that most of you on this podcast have been to his website. He is the founder of the doctors. He is a wellness Institute for training health coaches, and he runs the health and parenting website.
As Dr. sears.com Dr. Sears and his contribution to Family Health were featured on the cover of Time magazine in May 2012. He has noted for his science meets simple and fun approach to Family Health, something that you’re gonna find a lot in today’s episode, you are listening to functional nutrition and learning for kids. And this is episode 99. With Dr. Bill Sears.
Bill big welcome to Dr. Sears. And like I said, I’ve been a fan of your website when my kids were younger. And it was really refreshing, you know, compared to the standard parenting advice of the time. I used to consult it all the time. So I’m really glad that you’re here. And that I get to talk to you about growth and failure to thrive. Thank you for being here.
Dr. Bill Sears:
Well, thank you, Dr. Vaish. I’m so honored to be with you. Thank you. We’d love you we love your podcast, and you do so much good for the nutritional health of so many families.
Thank you. I heard you say and I heard this statement. If your child fits or is lower than average on a growth chart, you said that it’s not a red flag, it’s a yellow flag. And can we start with that? Why is that a yellow flag and what is the Yellow Flag mean?
Dr. Bill Sears:
It’s a yellow flag because it’s easily corrected. It’s just a wave flag that says, hey, parents, maybe you should take a total look at how your child is eating. Is he eating enough or eating enough nutrition? So let’s the Yellow Flag. So you’re looking at the growth chart. And there are so many great growth charts on websites now, you can go to growth collector, you can go to growth chart collector, you can go to grow your child, so many growth charts are yours.
So go to the websites see a growth chart and see where your child fits. And then think Alright, Does my child need to eat more grow foods and you may be surprised that your child is not eating enough protein for one that’s the usual one Enough Healthy Fats because of the fat phobia we grew up with now that’s gone unfortunately we know what now we call it smart fats. smarten fat diet, not a low-fat diet. And so it’s sort of it’s actually a good flag that says hey parents, and teachers and families and all child feeders maybe need some more grow foods.
You’re calling them to grow foods I like that you know as a functional Nutrition Consultant poor growth is often a point of separation between conventional nutrition and model because a lot of times parents that go to a convention a nutritionist you’re simply adding more calories but here you know, that’s where I feel like there’s a difference when you’re looking a little deeper about is the food being absorbed or is you know what’s going on with the child. What are the first thing that you do Dr. Sears when a child comes to you and they present with for growth?
Dr. Bill Sears:
Well, the first thing I do is taken all neutral. Slow history. And I say Alright, now let’s look at your child’s growth chart. So I go on my old website there, and I show him a child growth chart calculator. And then I say, now let’s Google growth child protein, to see if your child eats enough protein, like a gram a day, a gram a pound. And so your child weighs, you know, 3030 pounds, does your child eat 30 grams of protein? So we start with that, and almost all the time, almost all the time bearish, I can say, Alright, here’s the problem.
Your child needs more growing foods. And the parents love the term grow foods is positive. Now for older children, for older children, as a motivator, we’ll say well, what’s your child’s special something? What are they really into? What are they love? And they may say, Well, my own daughter loves soccer. She’s such a good soccer player. She loves soccer, I say, Okay, call them soccer foods, like money, you need to eat more soccer foods. And, and they get it. They love that.
I like that a lot. Do you find that so one of the questions one of the things I was thinking about do you find that when you see children with poor growth, you also see correlations with other symptoms and anything from eczema to ADHD? Is there often a correlation? Or not necessarily?
Dr. Bill Sears:
Good. Another? Yes, yes, I think you nailed it. Again, there often is a correlation between how children eat, and how they learn. And the reason is, and oftentimes, say you’re in my office. And I find when I start talking about the brain, parents will pay more attention. So as you just said, sometimes the child has a learning problem. I don’t call it a disability, or disorder, there’s a difference. Not many children learn differently. But say your child has been labeled with some say, ADHD or not paying attention, or just not learning well.
I take the parents into the brain and say, Alright, point number one, your brain is the main organ in your body that is most influenced. For better or worse, by nutrition. You put smart food into the brain, you get back smart learning. Secondly, I go through, what your child eats. And I say, No, you’re feeding a little fat head. And they look at me and say, what’s that? What’s the fat head? I said, your child’s brain is mostly fat. So let’s look at the fat in the diet. And almost all the time.
I see that there are not enough omega-three fats in the most important smart fat. So I go through them on why they should eat more seafood. And I show them that I have a salmon on my wall. They’re a little piece of not a piece of salmon but a little picture of salmon. And is wearing a white coat says Dr omega the third. So I show a picture. I want you to meet Dr. Omega third, and I go through the 10 nutrients that are in a piece of wild salmon. Oh my goodness, the nutrients are incredible.
You have you have protein. You have omega-three DHA EPA smart fats. Protein Aster Xanthine what makes salmon pink? A B 12. V. O and vitamin D, are great sources of vitamin D. Choline, all these good things? And they’ll look at me oh my gosh, Dr. Bill, I never realized there was so much I’m gonna get him to eat salmon. And I said not also the brain.
The brain has the greatest garden ever grown. So what do you need to grow a garden? You need to feed and fertilize the plants. You need to water them. You need to kick the weeds out. toxic thoughts. And so I said let’s go into fruits and vegetables because fat, the fat head and the brain. Fat turns rancid it oxidizes. That’s the term Okay, so let’s eat more anti-oxygen’s fruits and vegetables. And I start with blueberries and the kids love it the blueberry is the brain Berry. And they run it.
Remember that and I give them little things to remember like, Go Fish, go blue, go green, and go nuts. Now, parents, give your children a little baggie, with an assortment of nuts, have them go through the kids like to pick out their own things when they shop, have them get four or five different varieties of nuts, make your own trail mix, put it in their pocket, and they can nibble on the nuts throughout the day. So simple things like that. Oftentimes, just increasing maybe 100 or 200, healthy calories, Jay is just enough to pick up the brain and pick up their growth chart.
That you’ve simplified that so much. So you said just I’m going to repeat what you said. Because that’s amazing. You said just in I don’t have to start increasing by just adapting or increasing 100 or so healthy calories a day is enough to pick up the growth charts.
Dr. Bill Sears:
Oftentimes, that’s enough. And it has made me know another thing I asked them if they’re having like you mentioned problems learning at school. I say what does your child have for breakfast? Oh, he doesn’t eat much for breakfast. He doesn’t like breakfast or gives them a little tart or a little piece of junk cereal. So they said well, your child must have a brainy breakfast. Write that down. Brainy breakfast mom. Right brainy breakfast because the brain has been resting all night. It needs refueling. And so I have a make a smoothie because children love smoothies. So the smoothie is all and I give my recipe a smoothie. And first of all, healthy fats in the smoothie.
Cheat a tablespoon of MCT oil, very healthy fat. Avocados. Wonderful healthy fat. Whole milk. Grass-fed organic plain yogurt or kefir. Ah, the kids love it. Kiwis, berries. I haven’t put out a nice etching get wonderful protein powders. For you know from healthy heights. I have to grow daily. I have, I have one over on my in my kitchen, or grow daily.
They have a really good one for children, three, three years and up and 10 years and up. And it’s high in protein. So a scoop of protein powder in it. And then you have as a young child, you have them help you make the smoothie, you know, take a handful of blueberries and put it in a handful of kale is the old Dr. Bill my chart.
My child doesn’t like kale, you know, we call them the sneaky Fs they’ll never know what’s in there if you put it in there. So you know, oh, ginger, if they like flavor, pineapples, a nice sweetener, papaya is usually a fruit child, you know, absolutely love or use pomegranates when they’re in season. And so that’s a type of, and sometimes children get constipated a lot. So I throw fig, you know, a couple of figs in there. Wonderful. And, and then I remember our own children.
We had so many kids to feed and I’d make a big smoothie. And off we go into the family van. And they’re drinking their smoothies on the way to school. And so smoothies. I can’t emphasize them enough vase that you can just sneak things in that children will eat and they get a taste for it. It’s very the gut feel a wonderful gut feel. And one of the things I like about smoothies. It’s a Japanese term that I love called umami. And like umami what a little baby would say when they’re nursing for mommy, umami.
What is the Japanese term meaning the mouthfeel? The mouthfeel and smoothies have that you know sit on a smoothie and they have the protein And the fat and the healthy fiber-filled carbs, lots of fiber, and it stays in their mouth longer. And then. So that’s sort of what I love to do make a smoothie in the morning, especially for kids who need a brainy breakfast.
Lots of really, really good tips there. Yeah, thank you. And I’m going to summarize what Dr. Bill said and tell you if I missed a few things. So you said Go Fish Go Blue. Then I missed two other things. I know you talked about protein. But what was the other thing I missed? Go Green and go nuts.
Dr. Bill Sears:
Right, right there you have two of those that have lots of protein in them. And nut butter for your children. They don’t like it too young for nuts and all or take a big tablespoon of almond butter. Put the smoothie on. Yum.
So let’s take a short detour to talk about, you know, maybe our favorite populations as well. So I just got to know that you also have a son with Down syndrome. And I was going to ask you this question anyway. So we know that growth issues can occur more frequently in kids with Down syndrome. Is there anything different that you do? Or do you still start with the same basics that you talked about when you’re working with a child with Down syndrome?
Dr. Bill Sears:
Well, yes, it’s the same basics that we mentioned. But a step above. And a Steven number seven, we have so many children, we have to number them a little bit. Number seven, number seven, he came into our world, differently abled, not disabled, but differently abled. He had a different set of chromosomes. And we realize and at that time, the whole field of gen of epi genetics was coming on board that we can’t change his genes are his chromosome, but we can change the way the genes behave, by the way, he eats. So that was the first thing. My wife breastfed him for three years and is very, very, very difficult. Children with Down syndrome, they’re very lazy suckers.
They are kudos to your wife because I couldn’t do it for more than six months. It was that’s a hard thing to do.
Dr. Bill Sears:
That’s the golden time of six months. That’s when the brain is growing so fast. So I congratulate you on that. Because they those those those little suckers their hearts are so good for you. So that’s the first thing breastfeed next, you only start growing foods. You don’t start on junk food. His very first food was avocado, avocado. No, no, this rice cereal and all this much protein and fat and rice cereal. So we start them off on avocados. And his second food was wild salmon. Must be wild. I would mess a little bit up just a little bit up a little fingertip.
Put it on Stephens’s tongue a little bit more, a little bit more, and a little bit more. And by two years of age, he had a little piece of salmon almost every day. By two years of age. He craved salmon. Wow. We also started among smoothies that we talked about when he was around two years of age. He would help me make me grab a handful of blueberries and throw them in and all that called The children love messy stuff and so he didn’t mess and now when he’ll wake up in about an hour or so they’ll come down and the first thing he does he holds his hand up.
Does my smoothie. And so he is now programmed, programmed for healthy food. And I think why he’s he craves it, instead of just like it is here’s my theory on that vase you start early on with healthy foods grow foods, and the tongue likes and the tongue sends the tongues very enriched with nerve fibers. So you put this healthy food on the tongue goes like and it sends text messages to the craving center of the brain. And the brain says like feed me more Don’t feed me more the brain sends text messages all the way down the vagus nerve, the biggest nerve in the body down to the gut, the gut has called the second brain. And the gut says, Hmm, like.
You have that, that network, that greatest social network, neurological network going between tongue and brain and gut three times, four times a day, for the first two years, and by two years of age, that network is imprinted. That’s why I think it’s so important. Also, one other thing too, with, for children with Down syndrome, movement, movement, movement, movement, as as a fact my doctor mom said it all out, go outside and play. And I tell the kids to sit and stew is bad for you. Since two is bad for you, movement mobilizes the immune system. So we got Stephen and as many sports as we could. And I still remember that seeing kids was Down syndrome is very empathetic.
They’re very caring, and they hug other children. I remember Stephen is in, a race one time with other kids, right, other children with special needs, and they’re running and running and running and running fast. And he likes to win. So he’s running real fast, and the child next to him falls down, even stops in the middle of the race, picks up the other child helps him to get up and they complete the race. You know, that’s not a typical child.
Know, it’s not gonna happen. And so many lessons, I mean, it’s just a, it’s just such an enriching eye-opening experience. Having a child with Down syndrome, it’s just a really, it’s just so another Oh, another thing too, one other little chapter for parents.
Dr. Bill Sears:
Down syndrome, sometimes, some children with special needs, don’t have good appetite control, they will overeat. And one of the things we found, if I had if a parent were to ask me of say, a parent with a child has Down Syndrome and asked me, Dr. Bill, give me one, give me once one sentence, just one till I can do the rest of his life, her life. Keep your child lean. Learn how to keep your child lean, that has the right amount of length does not being skinny, I mean means having the right amount of body fat and body muscle for your child’s body type. And that is what we just mentioned, feed them grow foods. See our group’s growing food is nutrient dense.
Run them move them a lot, movement. Swimming, I’m going to have to put swimming at the top of the list. Because oftentimes children with special needs will have some motor problems. You know, they’re sometimes not coordinated. It is a swimming pool. There’s no right way to do it. They can swim the way they want. And they love it. So Steven Stevens still swims every day. And so, weather permitting, parents keep their children’s lane, get them moving, especially nowadays movement mobilizes your immune system. Movement mobilizes the immune system. So it’s another reason to move more and sit less.
To summarize what you said about your recommendations for children with Down syndrome your basics remain the same. So when we talked about growing foods and eating blue foods and fish, I said to go nuts, green, and all of the nutrient-dense foods, they remain the same but you’re making a bigger point about starting when the child is younger.
I think that automatically means avoiding refined carbs and refined sugar because that’s usually like first foods there’s you know, there’s rice and in sometimes in Indian culture, there’s sugar and so on. So there’s so your kind of setting the patterns up early as opposed because it’s once the sugar pattern gets going that’s really hard to override.
Dr. Bill Sears:
It is and you mentioned them You’ve just mentioned the bad word because this is parents we have a problem. The incidence of type two diabetes, the most preventable illness on the planet, the incidence of type two diabetes had has tripled in young children in the last three years tripled just the last three years.
Last three years
Dr. Bill Sears:
The last three years are true. Wow. No, so So and that so and that’s due to two bad words sugar spikes, sugar spikes.
So COVID situation cost a little bit more.
Dr. Bill Sears:
Yes, I think they were sitting there first two things sit inside and stew they would sit inside worrying worried depresses the immune system and makes you overeat. Secondly, they would eat junk food. So type two diet and type two diabetes and obesity have tripled. Alas, last two years, so this is why I want parents to look at labels.
Look at labels. Alright. Very little sugar at it. Maybe a little bit. So okay. But avoid sugar slurps Secondly, kids will love this little analogy. I play the game with them. And I say now you have good sugars and bad sugars. A good sugar plays with friends, protein, fat, and fiber. A bad sugar doesn’t have any friends. So bad sugar you put in your mouth. And it goes into your bloodstream real fast and hypes up your brain. And you use it too fast. And then you slump later on and you can’t learn at school.
You have a sugar slump later in the morning. But a good sugar. A happy sugar. A smart sugar has three friends fat, protein and fiber. And those three friends hold hands with the sugar when you’re eating it, so it doesn’t get into your bloodstream too fast. It slowly gives you energy which is what you want. And you know what? Do the kids get it? They’ll come home sometimes WLC they’ll remind Mommy, I want the happy sugar. Is this smart sugar? Does this sugar eating? Does that have to have three friends along with it? That’s why things like you like a smoothie, for example, our vegetables, and avocados, those have fiber, protein, and healthy fats with them that keep the sugar from spiking.
Right is definitely an in a state where pretty much every meal is blood sugar spiking for kids. And it’s really hard to pay attention in the morning if your blood sugar is going up and down. The child is going to school with a breakfast like that. I have to round things out. So we’ve got some really good advice on working with to grow foods and learning foods and sugar which kind of ties into both of them, for neurotypical kids for kids with Down syndrome. Or finally, I wanted to ask you to do these so do growth issues.
If parents don’t do anything to growth issues? Will children eventually catch up? How does that work? So what is when you went? Because there’s sometimes when you talk to parents, a lot of the advice that pediatricians conventional pediatricians will give parents is that your child will catch up. And how true is this?
Dr. Bill Sears:
Yes, that’s true. That is true. They will catch up. But it doesn’t mean you just sit and do nothing. You know, they have an I have a bunch of here’s a fact here’s my little here’s my role is smoothie making book called Dr. Poo. Okay. I give that to the kids when they come to the office and they read it because it has in there a summary of a lot of what we’re talking about on how to make a smoothie.
Why fiber is so good for you? Whey protein is so good for you? You know, proteins, the top grow food and it’s So yes, they will catch up. But see you want them not only to catch up on the chart, but you want them to catch up with habits, habits that last a lifetime. And this is why I stress parents early on, early on.
You know, parenting in a nutshell is giving your children the tools to succeed in life. What better tool is the craving for growing foods? Wow, what a tool. Can you imagine? What do you feed your children right now and for the first five years, 10 years? And they’re still eating that same food. 5070 years later. Thank you, mom. Thank you, Dad. Thank you, teacher.
Yes. I love that. Thank you. Thank you for making this. You know, explanation. So simple, and especially what you said in the end. It’s a very nice mentorship that it’s, it’s not just catching up on the group chat. It’s catching up on good habits. It’s catching up on learning. It’s catching up on just living a more wholesome life. Right. So yeah, I really like that. Thanks for sharing so much with our audience. Dr. So much. You’re so generous, I love talking to you. And I know that people can reach you at askdrsears.com. Are there any other resources you want to direct the audience towards?
Dr. Bill Sears:
Well, yes, askdrsears.com. And then we have the Dr. Poole book I showed. And another book I think they would really love like was called that the healthiest kid in the neighborhood. In the neighborhood. For adults, like adults with Down syndrome modeled as adults, we have the healthy brain book, The Healthy Brain book and we donate all the proceeds from the healthy brain book to charities. And then if you want a little book to reach for your kids, we have eaten healthily, and feel great.
A little picture book. So you can go on our website you can go on Amazon and all and, and children read to your children show them pictures. Children love to see pictures like grow foods, football foods, and soccer foods, and pretty hair foods that they love to they love to make the connection between what they eat, how they think and how they look, and how they feel.
Thank you again for your time.
Dr. Bill Sears:
Thank you. I love to be in with you.
This is such a fun way to present such important information and I’m never going to forget to sit and stewing is bad for you for the rest of my life. In the meantime, if you know where to find Dr. Sears www.askdrsears.com. This is also in the show notes and you know where to go for a gut health cheat sheet. If you’re worried about gut health, your child’s gut health is related to their growth www.functionalnutritionforkids.com/guthealth. See you next week on the 100th episode of functional nutrition and learning for kids. Bye.
TWO biggest myths in nutritional interventions (and the reason most dietary changes don’t work).
Did you know that 10-30% of children with ADHD don’t respond to medication, or worse, experience adverse effects to these medications?
It is high time to try easier and more effective strategies such as dietary changes for brain health.
If Food is Medicine, there should be nothing that can go wrong when you enter the area of Nutritional Interventions, right?
No, there are two huge areas where people slip up over and over again, and this is the reason “healing” diets don’t work for many many people.
MYTH 1: Everything is OK in moderation.
If you are trying to make an active change, it is important that the areas that are healing are significantly higher than the areas that are inflammatory. In fact, at least for a short time, you may need to shut off the inflammatory foods.
This is of course hard, because inflammatory food is usually addictive. But taking every food that causes inflammation out of the diet is almost impossible.
Hey, you’re listening to functional nutrition and learning for kids. I’m your host, Dr. Vaish if you’re looking to demolish boundaries set on your child’s learning on intelligence. Whether your child is autistic or has Down syndrome, you’re in the right place.
Today we’re going to discuss the two biggest myths and nutritional interventions. And the reason most dietary changes do not work. And this is a short episode. This week, I saw an article in the psychiatry times about emerging research on dietary intervention for ADHD symptoms. Now, the reason I’m focusing on ADHD symptoms is these symptoms are often common in many children with disabilities, okay, when we’re talking about focus issues when we’re sometimes they’re talking about learning disabilities, sometimes we’re talking about impulsivity and hyperactivity, right.
So I’m really more interested in the symptom than the diagnosis. But coming back to the article, you can find this article by simply googling dietary interventions for ADHD, emerging research, and considerations. And this article reminded me of a not so recent podcast I had heard from Huberman’s lab but summarized many treatments for ADHD symptoms, among which included elimination diets.
Now the names for these diets that can sound pretty fancy are called oligo antigenic diets and oligo is spelled o LIGO the word oligo. antigenic literally means few foods. And that to me is super scary, right just listening to foods your child can only eat a few foods. But Dan Well, it’s a short term elimination diet short term also being a keyword that removes foods that are most commonly known to cause a reaction. But this article interested me a little bit more because I pulled out a few really interesting numbers, and one is that between 10 to 30% of children with ADHD do not respond to medication, or worse, they experience adverse effects from these medications. Now, adverse effects of Ritalin include increased irritability, new child, difficulty sleeping, and decreased appetite. And adverse effects of Adderall include loss of appetite, nervousness and insomnia.
So they have similar side effects to many medications, generally, including disruption and appetite, some irritability, nervousness and loss of sleep. Now, one of the reasons that side effects bother me is that many of the side effects can make working with your child harder, which is really the opposite of what one hopes for When taking medication. Now, 10 to 30% is no small number. And in this context, it makes absolute sense to look at dietary strategies. Because what is the worst thing that can happen when you try a natural intervention? Right? Well, it turns out there is the worst thing that can happen. And that is why we’re going to get into the two big myths of this entire food is nutrition idea.
Now food is a medicine idea. And if you’ve been following my podcast, and my work, you know that my focus is predominantly on using food as medicine, but there are two big ways that this can go wrong. Ready? Let’s go especially when you’re trying to support brain health.
The first big myth of nutritional intervention is that everything is okay in moderation. This myth likely originates in the weight loss industry and if that is your goal, and I sincerely hope that it’s not because we are talking about children here that that was someone’s goal. And if someone was not a child, then maybe everything may be okay in moderation. And even then there is a big maybe, especially since the volume we’re doing is counting calories. This idea everything is okay in moderation does not work for healing diets. The foundational principle behind the healing diet is that food is medicine. For everyone in this world, some food is medicine and some food is inflammatory. And if you’re working with a child that has gut issues, that is struggling with neurological issues, there may be many more foods that are inflammatory.
If you are trying to make an active change, it is important that the areas that are healing the foods that are healing are significantly higher in number and quality than the foods that are inflammatory. In fact, for a short time, you may need to shut off the inflammatory foods. Now there are multiple keywords here. One of them is definitely for a short time when we’re making change. All successful changes are made on a timeline and this is a fact that is often missed.
We’ll come back to this. Now, shutting off inflammatory foods is hard because inflammatory food is usually addictive. But taking every food that causes inflammation out of the diet is almost impossible. That is why my signature course offering role, which is a roadmap to attention and regulation. This is open for enrollment. Now, I take care not to stress the parent with too many factors to control and remove. In fact, enrollment to lower ends today and you can sign up at functional nutrition for kids.com/ Raoul, the link is in the show notes wherever you’re watching this episode and in the event, you reach this link, it’s no longer open for enrollment, you can sign up for the waitlist and I’ll tell you when it’s open.
Coming back to the article, I was talking about the dietary interventions for ADHD, emerging research, and considerations. It is interesting to note that it’s so interesting, that every one of the research ideas that all have all of what they had cataloged is emerging research is something that we actually cover as strategies and draw and there’s actually much more that we cover. There’s really happy to note that. Now the first myth is the myth of moderation, which doesn’t work. Moderation doesn’t work because eating inflammatory foods in moderation is not a good idea. The second point in this idea in this myth is that what you think is moderation may not be moderation right when my son was having only Paratus in yogurt for lunch, Weetabix with milk for breakfast and just to drink of milk for dinner, I did think he was eating healthy food in moderation.
Whereas I fail to see that every meal contains exactly the same food wheat and dairy, there was actually not helpful unless you count sugar and the occasional banana. When we think our children eat sugar in moderation, what’s often happening is that our kids are eating refined sugar at every meal combined with refined flour, disrupting their blood sugar, and creating an addiction to sugar. And I know kids who eat wholesome sweeteners like maple syrup, but there is no moderation and there is still an addiction to sugar. That’s how it works. Now the third idea about moderation is that addictive foods like refined carbs and sugar cannot be eaten in moderation. So moderation in itself is not bad. It’s actually a great idea.
If it is done within certain constraints of a healing diet. Some dietary constraints actually lead to major diversity of food choices. So you’re sitting if you constrain your diet a little bit, you actually end up eating more diverse foods. In my case, my daughter and I are currently on a vegan diet for a short time. I don’t believe a vegan diet works long term for everyone, especially people with gut issues. But this short term constraint has made our eating habits so much cleaner without much effort. Now just because I can’t have extra breakfast right now. I am eating and enjoying quinoa amaranth porridge for breakfast that I haven’t tried in years.
Today. I actually had a black rice beet porridge this morning. And yes, you heard that right. I’m noticing that these polishes are actually keeping making me feel a little bit more grounded and stable. It’s really feeling very fantastic in my body. There is a key point, a timeframe. I’m not going to be vegan forever, probably not. Whenever we’re trying to make a change, we’re trying to do this within a timeframe. Now our vegan diet, for now, is just for three weeks though we may renew our vows, depending on how we feel. The second big myth in the nutrition industry is the opposite of moderation. This does not mean going on a super restrictive diet, maybe the illegal antigenic diet or the gab site or the SCD diet or a keto diet for a long time. Okay, this is not what we’re talking about.
The opposite of moderation is not mega restriction. Long term diets that limit multiple foods can have disastrous effects on your kids God’s help and can be infinitely hard to get out of. Many restrictive diets can be incredibly healing to some people, but in the short term, and this is the keyword in the short term. When you’re removing more than 10 food groups, it may be time to think again about when and how you’re going to stop and reintroduce healthy foods. This is why in the roadmap to attention and regulation, I introduced the idea of what I call a least restrictive diet.
This is a term that I adapted from special education where Sharon Jorgensen, a visionary in the field of education, brought the idea of a least restrictive environment for teaching kids with disabilities. More on that in another podcast, but I think it’s high time we talk about the least restrictive diet as well. A diet with no restrictions is going to be a disaster for the three reasons I mentioned earlier.
Healing and repair require some constraints. A diet with too many restrictions can also cause inflammation over the long term. So today as you exit this podcast, maybe you can think about what the least restrictive diet looks like for your child and isn’t doing its job. And if you are interested in it, this works for you right now you can sign up at roadmap to attention and regulation. Still, open enrollment today and you can sign up at functional nutrition for kids.com/roar. Bye.
If there is ONE thing you are likely not doing with your child with Autism or Down Syndrome, it is THIS strategy. Doing this will make the difference from teaching repeated ABCs and moving to writing poetry and studying advanced literature. I call this non-linear education!
Hello, friend, and welcome to the 49th episode of functional nutrition and learning for kids. I’m your host Vaish. Now, this is a special episode where I’m introducing a new format in the form of a short q&a. I’ve recently been working on answering a question that comes up more often than any other question in my practice, and that is, how can I help my child focus? Another question that actually almost comes up equally is how can I help my child learn? Now, first of all, I have a six-step process that will help any child learn. And this is in the form of an ebook now and it’s available for free on this link. So you can go to www.functionalnutritionforkids.com/learning .
Now before we move on to discuss this question, I want to remind you friend that the next week is the big 15 will be the 50th episode. And this means a special guest. And that guest is the person that I credit with shifting my life and my son’s life. Her name is Salma Mukhopadhyay and she is the founder of RPM or Rapid Prompting Method.
It’s a very exciting podcast. So do not forget to tune in this Friday. Okay, coming back to the question, how can you, dear friend help your child learn? Now this question is often from parents of kids that have been diagnosed with ADHD, sometimes autism, or very often Down syndrome. Now I’m going to share the most important factor that can help your child learn, especially if they have Down syndrome or autism. And I did say the most important factor, this tidbit. Now, honestly, calling it a tidbit is a huge disservice because actually, this is the single most overlooked strategy and the most powerful technique for building cognition. This is called nonlinear education. I call this nonlinear education.
If you’ve been following me on Instagram or Facebook, you might have seen that I use this term a lot. If you’ve heard any of the podcasts that have been a guest on perhaps if you’ve been hearing my TEDx talk, I’ve used some version of this a lot. Now, what is nonlinear education? And how can this help your child learn? Obviously, you’re here for that right. So let us start with some facts. If your child has Down syndrome or autism, chances are that they have either limited communication, speech difficulties, or lack of communication. Often the presence of conventional AAC is augmentative assistive communication.
In other words, often that means an iPad, it doesn’t have to but today, it seems to mean an iPad and an app. It doesn’t help many kids conventionally, okay. There are other forms that help, for example, RPM, write a letter board. What happens in this scenario is what I call repetitive education.
This means that because the child is unable to communicate that they understand the topic correctly because the child is unable to clear the repeated tests that the teachers will often impose because often the child looks like they don’t understand because the motor pathways of the child have stuck in loops which they are not able to bypass in order to communicate that.
Yes, they understand that two plus two is four, 5 years ago, they understood this okay, that yes, you didn’t have to spend the last eight years teaching them colors. And that yes, they are bored out of their minds and just do not have the ability to tell you so if you know my personal story, you know that this was the story of my son for over six years of his life until we discovered nonlinear education and an academic technique, RPM Rapid Prompting Method. After this, my son graduated into easy age-appropriate education and is now a published author and a port.
Next week in the big 50th episode of this podcast, I have the guest that created RPM, so please, please tune in I’m so excited for you. If you haven’t discovered RPM yet to hear so mattock. Now in my program of nonlinear education, we don’t wait for proof of learning to proceed to the next step. This is a hugely important idea in scenarios where children have communication issues, and this includes speech apraxia. In fact, instead of testing, we use boredom as an indicator when a child looks bored. We move to the next level if you’ve been teaching numbers if you had been like me, teaching numbers for I don’t know how long and the child is born, teach them addition.
This is still a linear stepper moving in a pattern. But in truth, even this progress doesn’t have to be linear. In math that often is, but if a child is bored with colors, teach them about rockets. And if they’re bored with rockets teach them about escape velocity. This universe doesn’t have a lack of information. There is abundance in the worlds of science, math, and art all around us. And this information is accessible. In truth, anything, okay? Really, anything from a rocket launch to the deepest atomic structures can be narrated as a story to a five-year-old, with some complexity to a nine-year-old, maybe with more detail to a 14-year-old, and with the same awe and wonder to a 30-year-old.
One of the most important concepts to know is that the brain does not learn best in a linear fashion. In fact, in the book, Mozart’s brain and the fighter pilot, that’s the title of the book. Neuropsychiatrist Richard rests access that within our brain events exist in a nonlinear, non-chronological pattern. And that to get rid of this tendency to neatly compartmentalize both events, memories and learning, this is very advantageous to our growth, our brain growth. Now the fate of a child with Down syndrome is not to be relegated to the ABCs and the one-two threes.
Why can’t it be to learn the insides of an atom to learn the jiggles of the universe from Nobel laureate physicist Richard Feynman, as my son said, is doing right now. Feynman left easily understandable Lectures on Physics for all of us. The skill lies not with the child with autism or with Down syndrome.
The skill to learn should lie with us as parents as educators. When I say skill I have I actually even mean the responsibility, but the skill lies with you with me. Can you bring NASA and the Mars Rover into a story that you can tell anybody? And I leave you with that thought. Thank you for listening.
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