By Dianne Craft, MA, CNHP (Certified Natural Health Professional)
• “My son has an auditory processing problem. He had a lot of ear infections and bronchitis when he was younger. Is there a connection?”
• “My daughter has been diagnosed with a short-term memory problem. What can I do about this at home?”
The Most Common Processing Problem
As I cross the country, speaking at homeschool conventions, many moms come to my booth asking these questions. Of all the Four Learning Gates that can be blocked, making learning more difficult for a child or teenager, a blocked Auditory Gate presents the most challenges. It affects not only learning but also life in general.
The last Struggling Homeschooler column was titled “What Can I Do About Auditory Processing Problems?” In that article, we explored the symptoms of an auditory processing problem and the two methods that I have used in my teaching career and in my consultation practice to aid children and teenagers with this blocked learning gate: (1) bypassing the blocked learning gate, and (2) correcting the blocked learning gate. In this article we will discuss nutritional approaches that aid kids, teenagers, and adults who have auditory processing problems.
Common Physical Conditions in Auditory Processing Problems
When searching for “corrections” for an auditory processing and memory issue, I have found targeted nutritional interventions to be extremely helpful. As a nutritionist, I found that just as there is a “chemistry of dyslexia,” there are some common biological issues that children or adults with auditory processing problems share. In my experience, when those biological areas are addressed, the ability to hear, remember, and process auditory information can be vastly improved. (I have personally worked with three thousand families in my consultation practice.)
I’m hoping to put more “tools in your pocket” as you work with your child. While working with families of bright, diligent children and teenagers who have to work too hard to learn, I have identified the following common conditions:
1. Yeast/Fungus Overgrowth. When this seemingly benign state exists in the body, it can create internal stress for the child. One of the symptoms that kids report is having “noise in their head . . . like a static,” which makes it hard for them to concentrate on their own “thinking” voice and the voices of others. They frequently report that they have difficulty hearing when background noise is present. After the yeast/fungus is brought under control, they report that it seems that their own thoughts and the sounds they hear are “clearer.”1
2. Dairy Allergy. In her clinic in Texas and in her book, No More Ritalin, Mary Ann Block, D.O., observed that dairy tended to cause buildup of mucus and fluid in the child’s middle ear, leading not only to repeated bacterial infections but also to a sensation that older children reported as “hearing under water.” Dr. William Crook, pediatrician, found that children with auditory processing and hearing issues, and children who appear tired and sluggish, hyperactive or irritable, did well when given a six week dairy-free trial, or a blood test for food allergies or sensitivities.2 He and Dr. Dan Baggett, a pediatrician from Alabama, found dairy allergies to be particularly evident in children with eczema and asthma symptoms, dark circles under the eyes, or late bed wetting.3
3. Essential Fatty Acid (EFA) Deficiency. The good “brain fats” found in fish oil and evening primrose oil have proven to be powerful electron carriers that improve auditory processing function. In her book, The LCP Solution, Dr. Jacqueline Stordy gives her research results using the protocol amounts of fatty acids for children with dyslexia.
4. Multiple Ear Infections. At times the “cilia” of the ear can become compromised as a result of frequent ear infections. Cilia respond well to EFAs.4
5. Inefficient Connections (between the left and right hemisphere). For various reasons, the connections between the auditory and visual hemispheres are not as strong as they should be. Midline therapy (outlined in last month’s article) helps a great deal to restore integrity to these important connections.
Some Common Interventions
1. Natural Anti-Fungal Supplements.5 Parents frequently find that by replacing the good “flora” three times a day and using a natural anti-fungal supplement, their child seems more “connected” auditorily. Parents find that they do not have to repeat instructions as much, since the child seems to remember sounds of phonemes better.6
2. Dairy-Free Trial. If your child seems to do better with the first step, but still has some auditory issues, then a six-week dairy-free trial is often a good next step to take.
3. Enzymes. If your child does better during the dairy-free trial, then it may be beneficial to add particular enzymes that are designed to help the child’s body’s ability to utilize the offending dairy products, after a while.
4. Essential Fatty Acids. For a child with speech delay, gaze aversion, ear infections at a young age, or auditory processing problems, a daily dose of flavored cod liver oil is beneficial.
5. Lecithin. This “mother of all fats” actually converts to the neurotransmitter, acetylcholine, which is called the “auditory memory neurotransmitter.” MIT studies have found this supplement to be extremely helpful for balance, speech, and auditory processing function.
6. Midline Brain Therapy. This type of therapy, which is designed to increase communication between left and right brain hemispheres, is often beneficial and easy to do at home.
For more detailed information about these interventions, click here for the Biology of Auditory Processing and Memory Issues “Handout.”
As we work with children and teenagers struggling with an auditory processing problem, we now have one more “tool” in our toolbox of strategies: targeted nutritional interventions. As you read more about these solutions, or work with a local nutritionist or naturopathic doctor, you will find that you can have a huge impact on your child’s ability to process information auditorily. It is an exciting concept, and so simple to do.
Questions? Eamil Dianne short questions at: mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dainne Craft has a master’s degree in learning disabilities. She speaks widely at homeschool conventions across the country. Her books, Brain Integration Therapy Manual, Right Brain Phonics Program, and her DVDs Understanding & Helping the Struggling Learner, Teaching the Right Brain Child, Smart Kids—Who Hate to Write, and The Biology of Behavior have helped hundreds of families remove learning blocks in their struggling children at home. Visit her website, www.diannecraft.org, for many articles on children and learning and to download her free Daily Lesson Plans for the Struggling Reader and Writer.
Copyright, 2012. Used with permission. All rights reserved by author. Originally appeared in The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, the family education magazine, May 2012. Read the magazine free at www.TOSMagazine.com or read it on the go and download the free apps at www.TOSApps.com to read the magazine on your mobile devices.
1. William Crook, M.D., Help for the Hyperactive Child; Leo Galland, M.D., Superimmunity for Kids; Natasha Campbell-McBride, Gut and Psychology Syndrome; Dianne Craft, MA, CNHP, “The Biology of Behavior” article and CD set.
2. Dr. William Crook, “Food Allergy: The Great Masquerader,” Pediatric Clinics ofNorth America, February 1975.
3. For more symptoms of dairy allergy, read “Hidden Allergies and Learning” article, by Dianne Craft, which is posted on her website.
4. Dr. Lendon Smith, Feed Your Body Right.
5. Always check with your health professional before starting any vitamin or exercise program.
6. Questions? Email Dianne at email@example.com.