Food For Thought About Learning Difficulties

I don’t know where this statistic arises from but I read that about 5% of public school children suffer from a learning disability.

Confused BabyThe difficulties experienced by students include language, reading and mathematics. At times social skill, emotional and behavioural problems are associated with learning disabilities. As a parent what can you do?

There are many services available to help parents with children who have learning difficulties but, according to Henry Osieki [B.Sc. (Hons.) & Grad. Dip. Nutrition and Dietetics], one of the prime causes is malnutrition. He suggests certain factors as possible causes to learning disorders include:

Heavy metal toxicity – in the past lead toxicity has been associated with learning problems.

Nutritional Deficiencies – The most common nutrients associated with difficulties with learning are B-vitamins, iron, iodine, magnesium, and zinc. This can be linked directly to a poor diet. Here is an example diet for you to consider:

  • Breakfast – bowl of low nutrient cereal; or nothing (because the parent has not prepared a breakfast for their child).
  • Morning tea – nothing.
  • Lunch – hot dog and can of soft drink; or nothing.
  • Afternoon tea – junk food purchased from local shop on the way home or nothing as both parents work.
  • Dinner – sausages, vegetables and gravy with ice cream for dessert.

A child of any age is growing pretty rapidly and is in need of food for energy and nutrients (protein, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals) to help supply the body with the building blocks to allow the cells to multiply and the body to grow. If the dinner from the above example was to become the breakfast you would have an alert, bright student sitting in the class until about lunch time.

Impaired hearing – inner ear infections or inflammation of the ear drum from allergies will hamper the early learning stages of pre-schoolers. I am talking about your toddler here who is doing their best to learn a language so they may communicate with the world. Parents need to be vigilant when it comes to ear infections at this stage. Image the problems caused with learning a language when a child hears only the first part of a word the first time and the last part the next time. To them they are hearing two separate words relating to the same subject.

Osieki states that dyslexic children tend to have a higher concentration of copper in sweat and hair and this may be reduced by taking zinc and vitamin C.

Nutritional consideration to help your youngster to learn:

  • Most importantly is a healthy diet. Keep the crunchy low nutrient junk foods to a minimum. Remember who the parent is here.
  • A child’s dose multi vitamin/mineral if the diet is inadequate.
  • If you think your child is dyslexic then perhaps some zinc and vitamin C. (Always follow the recommended dose for age).
  • If inner ear inflammation is a continual problem then consider testing for food allergies.

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Filed under Learning, Nutrition & Study

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