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5 things I learned in 2023!

“Do not limit a child to your own learning for (s)he was born in another time”- Rabindranath Tagore

5 things I learned in 2023!

2023 has been the year of great change, most of it internal. And here, without much ado, are 5 things I learned in 2023:

  1. Resolutions mean nothing but Routines (and Habits) mean everything! As I enter the new year, I have habits that are guiding my day such as:

    – A Morning Routine that includes meditation
    – Dietary guidelines (not rules, just guidelines)
    – Personal Work Boundaries
    – Dedicated Times to work with my son 

  2. ADHD can present in many ways, that I have ADHD, and accepting, celebrating and working with my ADHD helps me move the needle, way more than trying to quash it. 
  3. Teaching cannot be outsourced. The biggest change to a child’s learning happens when a parent / primary caregiver works with them. 
  4. Co-regulation may be the most important idea in disability education. My child’s learning and regulation depends on my regulation. So I need to get it together first, so we can grow together. 
  5. Ekla Chalo Re. Support groups can both support and hinder my growth. And at the end of they day, it is only my moral compass that can guide me. Rabindranath Tagore’s beautiful and empowering Ekla Chalo Re has been the voice of inspiration to millions, and continues to be my mantra for the new year.  The linked video has the song and the translation]

My wish for you is that your find your path toward your goal, in a direction that feels intrinsically right this new year.

Onward, my friend!

Vaish

And a very Happy New Year!

What’s the best time to start your child’s Anti-Inflammatory Diet

“When will the waves stop? When can I bathe in the sea?”
– Tamil Proverb, source unknown

Should you start your child’s therapeutic diet now!

Are you waiting to finish that trip, this Christmas, that family gathering, before you start your child’s diet?

My initial journey through my son’s anti-inflammatory diet was not easy. It didn’t start with perfection.

The quest for perfect adherence to a diet will make sure you never start.

Through my rather long and intense journey through the world of therapeutic diets, I learned many things, 3 of these are:

  1. It is critical to get started
  2. Allow yourself to fail liberally initially
  3. Find a balance and stick to it for a few months.

There is no perfect season, or perfect time.

The best time, as my mentor Soma Mukhopadhyay says, was yesterday. Well, at least let’s start today.

In a month, Roadmap to Attention and Regulation will launch. If you want early dibs and a discount, you can join the waitlist now.

I did a rather informal survey a few months ago – where based on an Autistic child or teen’s regulation, I inquired if they were on a specific diet, and I found a remarkable occurrence.

Out of say, about 50 kids, preteens and teens I surveyed, or talked to their parents, as the case may be, every kid who was stable, regulated and comfortable in their body was on some version of an anti-inflammatory diet.

I want to take you back to an older episode I did last year where I talk about the 2 biggest myths in the world of therapeutic nutrition.

Hint: Myth 1: Everything is OK in moderation.

So what I am trying to say, is that a) commit to an anti-inflammatory diet, and b) get start in whatever way.

If you need help, ROAR is open for you next month!

Onward my friend!

Vaish

p.s. Yes, I do have a breakfast recipe for you – this time I am routing you to a link –  The Most Amazing Almond Flour Pancakes

[3 Point Focus] The deal with talking to schools and more…

“Compliance and Education are not the same thing. A student may look asthough they are complying but that does not mean they are engaged andlearning.” – Lisa Wright

What are the top 3 things I need to know to communicate with my child’s school team?

Welcome to this Friday’s 3 point Focus:
Today’s newsletter includes:

  1. 3 strategies to communicate with school
  2. A research paper focus and summary
  3. A recipe for your child’s lunch box 🙂

So, What are the 3 things you can remember when you are communicating with your child’s school?

I am going to keep it simple and just go directly to the list here. But I do want to request that you listen to this simply fabulous conversation with Lisa Wright, IEP Coach.

My recommendations are based on this podcast + my experience.

1. Intensely and Aggressively Assume Intelligence – this means that do not let the school system influence you into imagining that your child is not smart. My TEDx talk can help you understand this idea a bit more.

2. Take time to prepare and communicate with your child’s team. Don’t react.  Emotional triggers are ever present when we talk about our kids. But are rarely helpful in conversations. Respect for the school, Respect for our kids, and Preparation can go a long way in helping our kids achieve their goals.

3. Talk to your child’s team about compliance vs engagement and learning. Be clear on what their goals are. For most neurodivergent kids, compliance and learning actually DONT go together. You can say something like the quote at the beginning of the newsletter and follow up with “do we want our learner to be compliant or do we want them to learn?”

Onward my friend!
Vaish
p.s. Don’t forget to keep scrolling for my favorite study this week and a lunch recipe I love!

RESEARCH FOCUS

Added sugar and dietary fiber consumption are associated with creativity in preadolescent children, Hassevoort et al, 2018, Nutritional Neuroscience

The results were very simple and stark:

  • Pre-adolescent kids (average age 9) were studied
  • Creativity (especially associated with the memory and spatial recognition center of the brain – hippocampus) reduced with increased sugar intake
  • Creativity increased with increased fiber intake

TAKEAWAY – Eat whole foods. Minimize added sugar. The more sugar your kid eats, the more their creativity may be impacted.

This one is a spicy recipe - but has an amazing mix of protein, fiber, polyphenols and digestive spices that (some) kids LOVE!

Navigating Schools (and IEPs) with your neurodivergent learner!

“Compliance and Education are not the same thing. A student may look as though they are complying but that does not mean they are engaged and learning.” – Lisa Wright, Episode 127.

Are you terrified or filled with rage / fear every time you need to make contact with your child’s school? Do you lie awake at nights because the process of interaction / working with IEPs has become border-line trauma inducing for you? It used to be that way for me as well…

Recently, I had a transformative conversation on my podcast with Lisa Wright, an IEP Coach, where she shared a profound and mindset-shifting statement:

“Compliance and Education are not the same thing. A student may look as though they are complying, but that does not mean they are engaged and learning.”

Take a minute and read that again.

In this week’s podcast episode, Lisa and I delve into the intricate landscape of Individualized Education Programs (IEPs). If IEPs are challenging for you, this episode is for you!

Click here now to listen to the episode. There are just so many insights in here, but 3 primary things that stood out to me are:

  • Tools for parents to help navigate school meetings
  • Why compliance and engagement are different
  • Why goals should focus on the learner’s strengths, not behaviors.

And just a reminder, I believe in your advocacy journey and the incredible impact you’re making for your child.

I believe in your learner, in the incredible intelligence, whether manifest or unmanifest.

And I believe in YOU!

Onward, my friend!

Vaish

P.S. I am thinking of a journal or a thinking prompt to complement this episode. I will reach out early next week with a free download that can make your IEP / school journey easier!

Is there really a nutrient that can help your child learn? [3 Point Focus]

“Education without Nutritional / Gut Support deprives students of a fair chance at success. Nutritional Work without an Equal Education is of no use.” – Vaish

What is the best food I can give my child to help them learn better?

Welcome to this Friday’s 3 point Focus.

Today’s newsletter includes:

  1. Introduction to our super-nutrient of the month
  2. A research paper focus and summary
  3. This week’s choline rich recipe

So, What is the best food I can give my child to help them learn better?

While I am tempted to say, there is no such thing, drop this quest and start teaching age appropriate material (and this is quite true)…

There still remains one nutrient that comes close to what I might call a magic nutrient in supporting:

  1. Cognition
  2. Moods
  3. Gut Health
  4. Visual Motor Skills (!!)
  5. Microbiome Composition
  6. Gut Epithelial Health
  7. Methylation

And more….

And we are not getting enough.

(It’s CHOLINE)
Egg Yolks are a phenomenal source of choline (please skip the egg while omelettes if you are concerned about gut and brain health). 

What I do for choline:

My son doesn’t do a ton of eggs. So, I am using Lecithin Granules with my son’s morning hot chocolate as a source of choline.

Onward my friend!
Vaish
p.s. Don’t forget to keep scrolling for my favorite study this week and a smoothie recipe rich in choline

Today’s Research Paper Focus:

Naber, M., Hommel, B. & Colzato, L. Improved human visuomotor performance and pupil constriction after choline supplementation in a placebo-controlled double-blind study. Sci Rep 5, 13188 (2015).

A summary of this paper is:

  • Choline supplementation can improve visuomotor performance and pupil constriction.
  • Occupational therapy and perceptual vision training can enhance visuomotor skills in children [obviously].
  • Perceptual vision training can improve performance skills and cognition in non-sports contexts.
  • Visuomotor abilities play a crucial role in athletic performance.
  • This perceptual vision training is what we may call visual processing.

So basically the authors are saying that choline supplementation + visual processing exercises can help increase visuomotor skills. 

(And we can deduce that this can help learning, because a lot of learning in Autistic kids and kids with Down syndrome is contingent upon visual-motor skills]

Blend and Serve.

So what exactly IS an anti-inflammatory diet?

“Education without Nutritional / Gut Support deprives students of a fair chance at success. Nutritional Work without an Equal Education is of no use.”

– Vaish

Hi Friend,

I have shared often that the 3 most CRITICAL tools I found to support learning in my son and students have been:

  1. An Anti-Inflammatory Diet [zero compromise]
  2. Cranial Osteopathy [or some movement / body work]
  3. Creative Writing [Free and Fluent Communication]

I hope to talk to you more in the coming weeks about each of these “Interventions” – but I want to address the first of these – the most foundational support we have – DIET.

*So what exactly IS an anti-inflammatory diet?*

This is a great question, and in today’s podcast, I will explain broadly what the common factors of anti-inflammatory diets are.

And because diets are so misunderstood, I want to share the 5 biggest myths and mistakes involved with anti-inflammatory diets.

In today’s podcast, you’ll learn:

  • What foods to eat, and not to eat
  • How long it can take to see results, and
  • Why more restriction is not better ….

Onward,

Vaish

P.S. I am sure you will have more questions once you hear this episode, please hit reply to this email and send me your most burning question.