Category Archives: Behavior & Learning

School planing meeting

We just had a planning meeting for Isabella’s eduction with her school and caseworker. These are the meetings that I dreaded. In the past, I was known to break down sobbing or run out the meeting or both. I have not done that in a very long time. This meeting was about testing. Okay, for those of you who have taken standardized tests, these tests are much worse. Think about how many people who you know say, “Iam not a good standardized test tester.” Well, no kid with a learning disability is a good standardized test taker. They completely suck. These tests are developed to measure our kids’ weaknesses, not strengths. They are so demeaning.

Because Isabella has made such fabulous progress this school year, we can postpone that dreadful testing. She’s doing homework nightly for the first time. She’s answering comprehension questions correctly. She’s generalizing. This is perhaps the most thing to happen. Generalizing is a term that special ed teachers love to throw around. It means: taking what you learn in school and applying it to real life. Reading in class to reading street signs. Doing math in school to setting a table. She wants to read at home and does. And like many tweens, she knows how to do stuff on the computer and the Wii that her parents do not!

It’s all good! Could it be the diet?

School & nutrition

Finally, a parent-teacher conference where the teacher didn’t recount all of Isabella’s shortcomings. How they have tried every math program available, including the one that I insisted on, and have had zero success. How her inability to stay on topic hinders all of her attempts at class participation. How reading, well, reading — Orton-Gilingham should be working; it works with every other child with dyslexia. I dreaded those meetings. Truth be told, I avoided them. I let the teachers phone me, so they couldn’t see my stricken face. This year, however, I filled out the form to attend the conference and remembered (rather than conveniently forgot) to attend. And, I’m glad I did.

Here’s what I heard. We are so proud of Isabella. She asks pertinent questions during current events. She answers all the comprehension questions about the book the class is reading correctly. She completes the telling time sheets correctly. She wrote in her journal. What? She wrote in her journal? She has a journal? That she writes in. Last entry: “My favorite thing about Halloween is giving the candy to the kids. I saw all the costumes.” Whatever you’re doing at home is working. Um, what’s different at home? Nothing concerning teaching. We’re a normal, disorganized family with two other kids at home. As part of Isabella’s nutritional healing, she’s taking a sort of power drink every morning. It has coconut milk, eggs, primrose, flax, and safflower oils, and phosphatidylcholine. She drinks it, along with a bevy of supplements, with no problem. In fact, she asks it.

Nutrition can change a child’s ability to learn, focus, and behave.

“Power” Drink (from Body Bio & Patricia Kane)

Mix everything together:

2 organic eggs

8 ounces coconut milk

1 tablespoon primrose oil

1 tablespoon 4:1 sunflower:flax oil*

E-lyte electrolyte drink*

liquid stevia to taste

1 tablespoon phospatidylcholine*

*available from BodyBio through a health professioanl

For more information about this potentially behavior-changing drink and nutrition counseling for children with ADHD, contact me at

Food & Mood

Halloween marks the anniversary of a bad scene. Many years ago Isabella apparently ate a ton of candy while trick or treating. I had sent her with her sister who was as diligent as an older sister can be on Halloween. The next morning Isabella had one of those outer body experiences akin to the Exorcist. This was not your normal tantrum. I made an emergency phone call on a Sunday to her neurologist. Though he is open minded, he is not particularly cutting edge. His estimation: it’s not necessarily the sugar in the candy, it’s the chemicals. I started googling. A lecture was upcoming for the Feingold Association. Ben Feingold was the reason I went into nutrition in the first place. Wasn’t it probable, not just possible, that food affected mood, behavior, and learning. My daughter’s conventional neurologist thought so. Where had I been those first years of Isabella’s diagnosis (more on that another time)?

So this Halloween and every Halloween following that one, Isabella still does some trick or treating, but not too much. She makes sure that we have candy for her without artificial colors and flavors and mostly dark chocolate. She sits on the stoop in her witch costume — mostly borrowed items for my and her sister’s wardrobes — happily giving out candy to the children in our town and their guests. She still has the occasional outburst, but not at the intensity of the one many Halloweens ago.