Children’s neurological health

psychological abuse is as harmful as sexual or physical abuse

extreme neglect’s effect on the brain – really sad
bullying is just as bad for math and reading achievement

air pollution is bad for kid’s brains, behavior, and psychiatric health

teen alcohol use is bad news
teen smoking is an alcohol abuse warning

aluminum warning

infant formula caution (see long-term cognition for more on aluminum)

arsenic in chicken and pork, even from brown rice syrup in baby food!

see Cancer Causative Stuff for additional information

avoid amalgam dental fillings

anesthesia harms memory maybe long-term, or not

acetyl-L-carnitine may help

Both high BP and high resting heart rate → possible psychiatric illness.
good nutrition vs. psychiatric illness

The adolescent brain is more sensitive to the damaging effects of alcohol.

Alcohol inhibits brain growth in adolescents, and damaged brain structure.

Frequent consumption of alcohol during adolescence and young adulthood was associated with accelerated arterial stiffening, a precursor of cardiovascular disease.
Alcohol mixed with energy drinks is especially risky.

altruism for confidence
adequate vitamin B12 in infancy has long lasting benefits

Air pollution poses risk to thinking skills in later life.
Train your kid’s brain! multi-sensory (more) – important (more)! – keep it up!

Let your kid be a genius.
make eye contact to synchronise brainwaves
age 3 is important
a second language (more, more, more, starting with infancy)

just exposing infant to a foreign language is beneficial
but maybe no help for executive functioning

background noise may hinder word learning, more

fermented foods
a quality daycare and enriched environmentimportant
baby talk, more, more, more, more, more

baby talk jump starts language skills
Better yet is “parentese“.

the Batman effect to inspire perseverance in the face of adversity
sing to your kid
a social life
grandparents
horseback riding
humor, including unstructured play: let the child be himself.

self-directed learning (more, more), school

motivation tweaks

useful study technique (more, more)

rosemary scent may help

write it down – on paper, or flashcards

emotional arousal helps, but not too much!

electronic toy caution

harness curiosity

praise effort not intelligence – but not comparison praise

National Geographic
numbers games

PBSkids

starfall

seussville

storylineonline

free e-books at openebooks.net

abcya

highlights
more learning resources

online learning, more, more, more

learn deep, use flash cards, and interleave practice with other tasks

music instruction, more, more, more, more, more, more, more, more, more, more

creates new brain connections – enhances neuroplasticity

helps kids focus their attention and be a better reader

Music instruction for better working memory.
better hand-eye coordination
faster language development
better detection of emotional inflection
enhanced executive functioning

better cognitive skills and improved academic performance
better math skills
provides benefits that last a lifetime
music practice suggestion

art instruction, math (more, more, more, more (talk to your toddler!))

coding (more, more, more, more, more, more, more, before they read!)

n-back (more – or not)

switcheroozoo

funbrain

napping is important
read and talk to your baby, from the first day! Infant language exposure shapes brain circuitry.

Read to toddlers for better behavior.
baby-talk is best
electronic toys may discourage language development

every interaction counts! Sing-a-longs, even playing with food!

early literacy: teach writing before reading, before preschool

children’s online libraries

exercise at a young age is especially important for math achievement

sports and executive function

walk to school, more, more

early exercise may have lifelong cognitive benefits
both exercise and story-telling
Teenage exercise recommendation

blueberries help with attention and learning

forget IQ (more, more, more, more, more, more, more, more)

A narrow focus on IQ to determine success is depriving us of key decision-making smarts, as our faltering response to problems such as covid-19 and climate change shows. Through historical accident, we have developed a conception of intelligence that is narrow, questionably scientific, self-serving and ultimately self-defeating.

no garbage, more, more, more, more, more, more

The troubled history of IQ testing. IQ tests can be swayed by extraneous factors.
Children’s minds are their own! Keep it interesting.

Believe in your kids! Be pushy!

Tell them they have control over their intelligence.
What would Batman do?
Motivation beats IQ.
Hard work beats IQ.
Passion and perseverance beats IQ.

Arduino

a good breakfast for better grade

Vitamin D vs. aggression and mood disorders in adolescence.

fast food → slower academic growth

exposure to flame retardant chemicals (PDBEs) is bad news

mother’s milk can be a source of such pollutants
eat only plants to minimize exposure

Fish/flax/walnuts/purslane for better school performance, but caution on fish.

Supplementing children’s diets with fish oil, enrolling them in quality preschool, and engaging them in interactive reading all turn out to be effective ways to raise a young child’s intelligence and improve their behavior.

Low omega-3 could explain why some children struggle with reading.

Infants of mothers supplemented with EFAs and DHA had higher mental processing scores, psychomotor development, eye-hand coordination and stereo acuity at 4 years of age.

The Ω-3/Ω-6 fats ratio is important – so also minimize meats and vegetable oils.

Fit children get better grades (more, more, more, more, more, more)

Children aged 4-6 who had better cardiorespiratory fitness than their peers performed better on cognitive tests and in other tests of brain function.

Exercise works via higher resting PSNS/“Brake” tone
Exercise works via greater grey matter volume
Exercise works via increased OPC proliferation and increased oligodendrocyte development.

Exercise boosts kids vocabulary growth.
Exercise at their own pace helps them concentrate and learn.
first: plan how to study (metacognition), then intend to teach someone else
sitting up, and exercise helps, more – especially in the morning
stronger muscles

limit TV, more, to less than 3 hours per day

Fluoride in toothpaste and drinking water is safe.

avoid flame retardants

found in household dust, and fish and meat

flea collars leave residue on fur that is neurotoxic and carcinogenic
Treating ADD: above all, avoid labeling – kids are more complicated than that!

First a bit of essential biology: ADHD is now (finally) an official learning disability
Is it ADD, or just immaturity? The last “D” stands for “difference“. This video, while a bit corny, can be inspiring.

Here is a few suggestions for treating ADHD naturally.

Allergies and food sensitivities may masquerade as, or worsen ADHD.

anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder may also be mistaken for ADHD
Only some may benefit from elimination diets, but it’s worth a try.

The most common are: allergies to wheat, dairy, and eggs

vitamins B2, B6, and B9

a quality plant-based diet will supply this – better than supplements

consider candida
vitamin D

lead exposure → ADD in some kids
dietary recommendations, including anthocyanin-rich blueberries

DMAE, more (helps me) or other attention training

EEG biofeedback

exercise (more, more, more)

sports training such as table tennis

thefeingold diet” (minus the salicylate concern?) is VALID, (yuck!)

it can be a real battle: food dyes are over-consumed by kids

iron supplements for low-birth weight vs. ADD

n-back versus ADD?

meditation and mindfulness vs. ADD

focus on attention – hyperactivity will then subside

A mediterranean diet vs. ADHD
noise may help-3

nutrients that might help

omega-3 fatty acids help (from fish oil, flax seed, and walnuts)

Ω-3 fats may take a few months for maximum effect.

organizational strategies

don’t forget parent training
punishment for a brain disorder – is unlikely to help behavior

When the kid says that the medication “makes me sick” believe him.

Lactobacillus rhamnosus probiotic supplementation vs. ADHD

Ritalin (methylphenidate) provides greater connection between brain areas key to memory, attention
sleep vs. ADD symptoms

helped by a circadian-friendly lifestyle – see the sleep post

Sodium benzoate might contribute to hyperactivity.
Sugar/fructose, may, indeed, cause impulsivity and aggression

yoga vs. ADD

ADD drug caution (dosing information, more, more)

medication may not help in school, but see if it does early

medication failure may be due to comorbid depression

Treating ADD may make existing or future depression worse.
ADD meds may cause weight gain.

depression (SSRI) meds can block ADD meds

combine ADD meds with high-tyrosine, low-leucine protein breakfast

not a substance abuse risk

The Netflix documentary Take Your Pills is best not taken seriously.

This is per ADD specialist Dr. Charles Parker

consider pyrrole disorder or a sub-optimal gut microbiome if ADD meds don’t work

phthalates may make ADD worse

see the Cancer Causative (bisphenol A) post for sources of phthalates

The use of self-(rather than system) paced schedules might be helpful

Help with organizing should definitely be considered.

ADHD is a catch-all diagnosis that should be accepted with caution

The DSM-5 is incomplete: not a good basis for treatment.
emotional instability may also be present
beware of inner-ear disorders

disordered sleep can cause ADHD – well, maybe
an ADD diagnosis may miss autism

ADD kids may have lower vitamin D levels

they are at risk of video gaming addiction –  especially to violent video games

try to not get too upset over chronic lying

how NOT to treat ADD

ADD meds vs. suicide, vs. alcohol and drug abuse

details matter! This article by Life Extension is good, except for the questionable supplements they tout.
Expect excellence.

cannabis caution, more, more, more, more, more, more, more, more, more, moremaybe not

probably not well, maybe it does cause harm

oh, wow: a study on twins says cannabis is not a hazard!

Many studies on adolescents: still not a hazard – safer than alcohol.
But the science is still not settled: don’t use too much when young
Cannabis might impair learning, even for light users.

Frequent cannabis use in young people was associated with a two point decline in IQ. The decline was primarily related to verbal IQ.
Light cannabis use may increase grey matter volume: what does this mean?
It also might alter development of planning, self-control brain areas.
It might boost brain pathways responsible for habit formation.
It may cause inflammation in a specific type of brain cell in adolescent mice that carries a rare genetic mutation linked to schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and other major psychiatric disorders.
Heavy cannabis use before age 16 → a lifetime of bad driving.

Cannabis vs. motivation?
Heavy cannabis use → negative emotionality and

changes in resting brain function, particularly in dopaminergic nuclei

the schizophrenia concern may be a reverse causation effect, or not

or it may only be a concern for those with a genetic risk for schizophrenia
daily use of cannabis may encourage psychotic episodes in adolescents

career advice

avoid bisphenol A, more – bisphenol A is a pthalate

may cause autism

may cause ADD
avoid bisphenol S
“Parents with young children should avoid using products containing phthalates such as shampoos, nail polish, and vinyl flooring.”
See the Cancer Causative post for more information.

breastfeed!, more, promotes brain growth and success, may prevent ADHD
the so-called “Bright Girl Effect” may be a myth

vitamin C vs. anxiety

A study of 3,826 7th grade students showed cannabis use to be linked to low cognitive functioning and impairments in working memory and inhibitory control, which is required for self-control. Cannabis use was also linked to deficits in memory recall and perceptual reasoning.

cell phone use at night is a mental health hazard
industrial chemicals caution
Contraceptive pill caution for teenagers.

raising creative kids musical training!

success is not always found in winning

school isn’t everything

cuddle, more, more, more, versus autism symptoms

love and affection

uninterrupted

touch and nurturing stimulate neurogenesis

holding babies close may synchronize brainwaves (due to the electric/magnetic fields)

synchronized brainwaves help infants learn

and roughhouse
Play with other children is also beneficial.

be positive!

extended parental absence is bad news

dairy consumption linked to onset of autism
maternal depression → social-emotional problems for kids

depression in kids vitamin D, music therapy, and fitness may help,

antidepressants may not help, here is a evaluation of antidepressantsDepression signs include refusal to eat, difficulty going to sleep, or waking up during the night.
Regular supervised activities may help.
diet is important – see the depression post

fructose intake is a depression risk

paroxetine is ineffective and unsafe

collaborative care may be best for teens with depression

a safe, nurturing home environment to prevent depression

depression in kids may cause a lifetime of difficulty regulating moods and emotion
depressed teens are more likely to abuse cannabis

cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) may be the most promising treatment

treatment is important for academic success

dogs versus anxiety

enrich the environment, spend time outdoors, talk to toddlers , with constant eye contact

can overcome genetic predisposition
An enriched environment may correct errors in brain development.

chronic inflammation (high levels of serum interleukin-6 (IL-6)) → mood disorders

Early life exercise → gut microbial diversity → better brain health.

Exercise can lower insulin. High insulin → mental health problems in adulthood.

Exercise and a healthy diet in childhood leads to adults with bigger brains and lower levels of anxiety, according to new UC Riverside research in mice.

People who are physically active during childhood (up to 12 years of age) have higher cognitive functions in later life.

Physical activity can improve a child’s long-term and short-term memory. Exercise boosts a child’s mood and reduces stress

executive functioning, so important, is best instilled gradually.

n-3 fatty acids to avoid hyperactivity in teens, and vs. psychological disorders

Versus violent, anti-social, and criminal behavior?
and for cognition, even into adulthood

flame-retardant chemicals are bad news for the brain: kids and nursing moms should eat plants only.

fluoridation of water is not harmful

avoid playing football, more, more, more, wow!

5% of youth aged 5-14 sustains a football-related concussion each season.
continuing to play with a concussion prolongs recovery time

may cause thinning brain tissue, and reduced brain connection pruning
Even one season of play damages the default mode network: helmets don’t help.
The earlier a kid starts tackle football, the more likely is future brain problems.

Routine” head hits are bad news.

Even non-concussion impacts can affect kid’s eyesight.
Even non-concussion impacts can promote kid’s criminality.
This is a sad story of football-caused brain injury.

neurotoxic, endocrine-disrupting chemicals in children’s furniture and meat/fish/cheese

a gluten-free diet may be worth trying when outbursts are chronic
guns in the homedepression and suicidal ideation

Handwriting beats keyboarding for memory retention.

adequate iodine for mental development

fathers are important, even during pregnancy

even intermittent fathering can offset depression
dad’s involvement boosts cognitive development

junk food versus children’s mental health and intelligence, more, more, more

Junk food damages children’s brains.
Junk food is addictive and is marketed to kids.
Such ad campaigns are similar to that used by the lead industry.

lead in children’s foods is bad news – see this blog post for sources of lead

shooting ranges are also a lead hazardwow!

lead exposure in early life → oxidative stress, and suppresses adult neurogenesis
lower IQ and lower status

Garlic can be recommended for the treatment of mild-to-moderate lead poisoning.

mental health sites, more

Children need to be taught that others think like them even if they look and sound different, at a young age.

infant milk formulas laced with aluminum

early life exposure to manganese from soy formula or drinking water → ADD

mindfulness vs. student depression, anxiety (more) and mental illness

Mindfulness can be a simple reflection on what was felt recently.
mindfulness meditation by parents also benefits children

mercury, even a tiny bit (from fish) is disastrous

too many amalgam dental fillings are also a source of mercury

cucurmin (from turmeric) to the rescue?

napping in early afternoon benefits teens and will not interfere with sleep.

The first three years of a child’s life are critical for brain development.
Contact with nature (forest bathing) → better mental health in adulthood.

obesity is a lifetime cognitive hazard,

linked to poor school performance and poor coping skills

omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil) may help with reading.

Organophosphate esters (OPEs), used as flame retardants and plasticizers, pose a larger risk to children’s brain development than previously thought. In fish and wildlife, metabolites of OPEs have been found to build up in tissues. Breastfeeding is a significant source of OPE exposure for infants.

pacifiers vs. boy’s emotional development

minimize pesticide exposure

play is important

polluted air is bad news

poverty is hazardous – illustrating the need for interventions such as Head Start

some stress may benefit, but mostly when there is someone who cares

good nutrition may also help

read to children from the first day of life, from physical books

Reading to preschool-age children can boost language by 8 months.

reading books is different than reading stuff online -3

regular bedtime for cognition, and versus behavioral problems, and maybe mental illness

parental bonding affects sleep

naps help infants retain information

some medication may interfere with sleep
Ω-3 fatty acids (fish oil) may help

a religious upbringing is not benign

young kids can be damaged by beliefs foisted upon them
kids don’t even need to be told to “be nice”

minimize punishment (use praise instead)

do not spank, more, more, more, more

smarter discipline, more, make music

labelled praise – but depressed kids may react differently

avoid humiliation as punishment
motivation through punishment may not work

infant rice cereal warning – important!
saturated fats → less cognitive flexibility

school isn’t everything, and can be a source of problems

motivation and study habits matter more than innate intelligence

Too much sitting stilldepression in adolescents.
adequate sleep → better mental health, less rapid ageing, better motor skills

chronic nightmares are a self-harm warning
Kids crying themselves to sleep sans mommy and daddy is not the best policy.

soccer players need helmets

concussions → multiple sclerosis

limit social media and other screen time to less than 2 hours per day

might cause depression, anxiety, and suicidal behavior
may cause lower scores on language and reasoning tests
may cause delayed development
but sleep may be unaffected
smart phone use → language delay

smart phone addiction → mental health problems
maybe we could learn to chill without constant stimulation

then we could benefit from default mode

sleep deprivation (bad news) is epidemic

texting at night → disturbed sleep → poor performance at school and other

early teens are not yet capable of adult behavior – may be vulnerable to hate

do not smoke tobacco around kids (see long-term cognition for help on quitting)

persistent snoring → disturbed sleep → learning difficulties and delayed growth

Soft drink consumption during early adolescence predicted more aggressive behavior later in teen years.
do not spank

early life stress alters gut microbes to produce adult depression

stress also strongly affects learning and behavior
Chronic spanking antisocial behavior.

Spanking may affect a child’s brain development in ways similar to more severe forms of violence: children who experienced spanking as a form of punishment demonstrated greater activation in areas of the prefrontal cortex in response to fearful stimuli.

Repeatedly getting angry, hitting, shaking or yelling at children is linked with smaller brain structures in adolescence.

a standing desk and taking notes in cursive may help with studying

streptococcal infections can affect mental health

tutoring vs. math anxiety

rosemary aroma vs. test anxiety

no good reason for math anxiety

sugar in excess may alter the brain’s reward circuits

Sugar sweetened drinks damage kid’s brains, same with refined carbs.

exercise and work with horses vs. children’s stress

let children talk to themselves, but

second-hand smoke → ADD

tobacco smoking changes young people’s brains

limit TV and other screen timedepression

Less screen time and more green time are associated with better psychological outcomes among children and adolescents.

screenfree.org, but moderate use of video games is nothing to worry about.

Excessive screen time → lower structural integrity of white matter tracts in parts of the brain that support language and other emergent literacy skills

For autistic kids:

Autism is best caught by parents, not clinicians. Some with a genetic tendency to autism may get missed by current diagnostic tests.

More than half of autistic people in the United States have an average or above-average intelligence quotient (IQ).

About autism self-testing
Interacting with a child on the spectrum.

Autism is a whole body disorder with gender differences, found in all cultures.

Females are less likely to display communication difficulties?
Masking in autistic females is often a source of stress and anxiety.

This may be due to late diagnosis.

There are a lot of co-morbid conditions.

Compared with a general population control group, adolescents with autism were 90% more likely to have additional mental health or other conditions and three times more likely to have unmet health care service needs.

Autism is best not considered as a linear spectrum – more like a disk, or a ballpark.

There are multiple traits that pertain to autism and that can vary somewhat independently.
In people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), no two brains are alike when it comes to connectivity between regions, in contrast to the relatively uniform way the brains of people without autism are arranged.

“Brains come in different types and they’re all normal.”

Problems with social interactions, communication difficulties and repetitive behaviors may be independently present.

Autistic children often misjudge the feelings of others because they do not use contextual cues to identify underlying emotions.

So the term “high-functioning autism” may be best retired. On the other hand, some on the spectrum are, obviously, more handicapped than others. Labels, in general, are arbitrary and are not helpful.

Toddlers with autism don’t (usually) avoid eye contact, and feel emotions

why some on the autistic spectrum do avoid eye contact

Treat autism early for best results.

Consider an MRI scan before the kid’s first birthday to identify such
beware of multiple prescription drugs
autistic kids may have trouble clearing away heavy metals such as mercury

so be careful about feeding them fish

Parenting an autistic child is not intuitive: parental training helps.

Provide an environment that is non-surprising, structured, and safe.

Backstopping is by nature a form of back-up support. It’s a tricky balance of recognizing that a potential crisis is arising and then giving me a chance to deal with it before stepping in to help or offer support.

Provide parental eye contact.
Five ways to damage autistic children without even trying.

Five big, avoidable parenting mistakes.
Having few words may not indicate low intelligence.
Use temptation to spark communication.
Sibling of autistic kids may have typical autism troubles, even if they lack an autism diagnosis.
Communication difficulties may be due to low perception of prosody.
School-based testing needs to be appropriate.

Advice on bullying: autistics feel more pain, and may attempt suicide

Advise them that they may be easily manipulated
Neurotypicals may shun those on the spectrum regardless of social skills,

many times based on thin slice judgments

Here is a plain-language resource on police violence.

Autistic people are more likely than neurotypical people to be gender diverse, several studies show, and gender-diverse people are more likely to have autism than are cisgender people.

About meltdowns, often due to enhanced motion perception

Meltdowns can simply be due too much sensory input due to Shank 3.

Sensory networks may be over-connected early in autism.
The intense world syndrome

Stoicism might help.

Why autistic kids (and adults) stim. Stim toys.
Epilepsy may develop in those on the spectrum – see the epilepsy post
Play games that they prefer: they have their own way of learning

open source games for attention span training

handwriting help may be needed
Luteolin supplement caution – best get it from diet:

Celery, green pepper, thyme, parsley, chamomile tea, carrots, olives, peppermint, rosemary, naval oranges, and oregano.

girls need different treatment

Doctors are twice as likely to miss girls as boys on an autism screen.
Current diagnostic procedures may fail girls with autism.:
Autistic girls may have better social skills, but need help with executive function.

Enrichment therapy:

Theater training.

Creative expression.
Drumming may support learning at school.

Exercise – make it fun.
Kids on the spectrum learn best by example.

Have a pet → be more assertive, have greater social skills.

Guinea pig → less anxiety.
Any animal can benefit those on the spectrum.

For the severely disabled autistic: a service dog.

Nei Yang Gong for improved self control.

Metacognitive training provides benefits beyond self control
Mindfulness meditation can help, and those who are young also benefit.

Managing gastrointestinal symptoms

gut symptoms are common in autistic children
a leaky gut may present as gluten-triggered psychosis
Minimizing anxiety and other problematic behaviors might help.

A ketogenic diet may help, but may create nutritional deficiencies

a low glycemic index diet
The GAPS diet is best not tried.

carnitine (or acetyl-L-carnitine or propionyl-L-carnitine)

N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC), which appears to reduce the core symptoms of bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, depression, autism.

Oral vitamin D supplementation may safely improve signs and symptoms of ASD and could be recommended for children with ASD. Serotonin, oxytocin, and vasopressin, three brain hormones that affect social behavior, are all activated by vitamin D hormone. Here is a vitamin D case study.

a gluten and casein-free diet?

definitely avoid casein (milk) – allow a year to observe the results

(more than six weeks)
beware of nutritional deficiencies, though

Sulforaphane may help, the best source is broccoli sprouts

Sulforaphane beats any available drug.

Sulforaphane triggers heat shock proteins.
Sulforaphane triggers NRF2 to:

reduce brain oxidative stress
fix mitochondrial dysfunction

Energy in and of itself is sufficient to cause autism.

reduce neuroinflammation
reduce TOR signalling (important) (5 cents worth!)

l get my broccoli seeds here
Directions for sprouting in jars at home abound on the ‘net.

when to tell your kid that he is on the spectrum

Evidence-based interventions:

Test for hearing problems.
Consider Pivotal Response Treatment (PRT).
Applied behavior analysis might produce PTSD symptoms, but still may be effective: the duration of this therapy is best tailored to the individual.
Bilingualism for better task switching.
Chelation therapy is bogus.
A mouse study suggests that exercise spurred the removal of surplus connections in brain circuits and diminished autism-like behavior.
Maybe a fecal transplant.
Instruction in reading emotional expressions:

Progress may be limited due to slow implicit learning.

Using social information for decision making is impaired.

Avoiding eye contact may be an effort to concentrate.

Group therapy,  such as play-based programs.

on repetitive behaviors
Friendships are most likely among other kids on the spectrum.

Prescription doses of folinic acid, which is a reduced form of a B vitamin known as folate, could help improve the language and communication skills of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

metformin may help

Facilitated communication is bogus, as is ‘rapid prompting method‘.

Obesity is more common among children on the spectrum: eating disorders are more likely.

check out exergaming

preschools can be mainstream (not special)
swimming lessons may be a life saver
SSRI meds may increase sociability.

ADHD is over-diagnosed among children on the spectrum

Oxytocin might help or not. Touch releases oxytocin. Those on the spectum need touch and social contact as much as anybody.

the stress over-response by kids on the spectrum may be due to stomach issues

consider candida (or what appears as candida)
food allergies can exacerbate autism symptoms
a healthy, diverse gut microbiota – see “gut microbiota” in the Longevity post

Lactobacillus rhamnosus or Lactbacillus reuteri probiotic supplementation?
a fecal transplant?

Zinc vs. weak brain connections?

Help them to be sufficiently functional, then pursue awesome!
Autistics have unlimited potential: expectations make a huge difference.

IQ is not a good measure of function in autism. Genius frequently occurs aside autism. Examples of this are Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Henry Cavendish, Paul Dirac, and Dan Aykroyd, and a few other exceptional people. Giftedness in combination with autism is called twice-exceptional. Genius may be an “abnormality“.

Special interests are valuable to people on the spectrum. In addition to occasionally launching a career, they reliably build self-confidence and help people cope with emotions. Studies also suggest they can help autistic children gain social skills and learn.

Genes associated with intelligence correlate with a higher risk for autism. Those on the spectrum enjoy greater neuroplasticity.

“Sometimes it is the people no one can imagine anything of who do the things no one can imagine.” Alan Turing

Negative words carry negative vibration. Positive words carry positive vibration. What do you want your child to reflect back to you, the label of disordered or the label of gifted in a new way?” Suzy Miller, Awesomism

“I need to see something to learn it, because spoken words are like steam to me; they evaporate in an instant, before I have a chance to make sense of them. I don’t have instant-processing skills. Instructions and information presented to me visually can stay in front of me for as long as I need, and will be just the same when I come back to them later.” Ellen Notbohm, Ten Things Every Child with Autism Wishes You Knew

Find a way to amplify their special interest.
Repetitive behaviors do not necessarily displace exploration and its possibilities for learning.

Those on the spectrum may express sympathy differently.
needed services change as the kid gets older

The increase in autism diagnoses is likely due to changes in reporting criteria

Then, along comes the DSM-5

Alternative medicine (pseudoscience) often does more harm than good.

forget about a “cure“: but there is hope
kids deserve proven interventions
Autism Speaks is a bogus organization.

A sleep clinic may help the family: autistics may have problematic circadian rhythms via lack of methylation.

There are other reasons for sleep problems, such as genes and anxiety.

Melatonin may help some kids on the spectrum. People with autism spectrum disorders are known to have low melatonin levels—in fact blood levels in 65% of people with ASD showed half the amount of melatonin in the blood as neurotypicals.

Avoid electronics in the bedroom
Sensory issues can cause sleep problems.

autism, ADD, and OCD share common brain changes

sustained neural connections are a common feature of autism

vegetarian or (better) vegan childhood diet for higher intelligence

a healthy diet for smart kids is vegan
get adequate B12, calcium, and zinc
vitamin C (best gotten from a plant-based diet) vs. anxiety


excessive video gaming may indicate depression, helped by friendships
don’t sweat the small stuff

water intake for better performance at school

A western (as opposed to a plant-based) diet → depression in adolescents. Eating fruit and veggies is associated with children’s mental well-being

intelligence tests are problematic

learning styles is a concept that may not be scientifically sound

on oppositional defiant disorder

emotional maturity may not happen until age 30

By Otto

I am a health enthusiast, engineer, and maker.

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