I often find my self sitting with a parent who gives me the long story of their child's therapeutic history. They may have first had interventions through Early Childhood Intervention as a baby, they may be receiving speech therapy or occupational therapy through the public schools and also be getting services through private companies. Many of them still receive ABA therapy, and may have gone through The Listening Program, or other supplemental approaches. Parents may be investing thousands of dollars a month and hours of their time with these therapies and sometimes are still concerned about their child's outcomes.
At this point I often ask if they have had done any bio-medical interventions, usually in the form of an evaluation and treatment plan from a certified nutritionist. Sometimes parents say something like "we tried the Gluten Free think for awhile, but it was a nightmare to maintain", or "well, he will only eat just a few things anyway, so I doubt that a nutritionist will be able to help". I find in these cases, the need for a nutritionist is even greater, as these are red flags that food sensitivities and nutritional deficiencies may be a problem. If your child has difficulty with memory, attention, learning or mood, seems to get sick easily, or has stomach discomfort, I highly recommend that you look into a nutritionist.
Not everyone who doles out nutritional advice has the training or qualifications to give such advice. Look for a certified nutritionist who continually seeks to change and grow their practice as new research comes to light. Find out how often they work with kids and families, and learn about their consultation and evaluation process. A good nutritionist maintains a continued relationship with families, following up, therapeutically, as a child grows and changes. Listen to your instincts. If you connect well to the nutritionist then you will be more likely to understand and follow his or her recommendations.
Two area nutritionists with excellent programs for kids with learning and developmental challenges are listed below, along with a description of their practice and specialties.
Laura Kopec- Laura focuses on serving women and families. She uses a holistic approach to addressing the nutritional needs for kids with special needs. She uses non-invasive assessment techniques, develops an individualized nutrition plan that involves diet change and supplements, and provides ongoing support. She has also integrated genetic testing into her bio-medical model. Laura works to meet every family where they are at, and works toward incremental growth rather than a complete change overnight.
Faye Elahi- Faye works to make nutritional change fun! She uses individualized assessment techniques to evaluate nutritional deficiencies and sensitivities and works maintain a balanced approach to nutrition. Faye works with families to determine what the best route for a family is in regards to diet and also what supplements would most benefit a child. This is followed by continued consultation and support.
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To provide useful information to families regarding educational strategies, interventions, and tools.