Special Needs Kids Eat Right by Judy Converse
This book came as a referral from a great occupational therapist through Early Childhood Intervention. She lent it to me months ago and I have been S-L-O-W-L-Y making my way through it… there are a lot of reasons for the SLOW part but take one part vacations, one part school starting, mix in a 4+ week food reaction for Lady A and some strep throat for Big Boy B, stir in some really technical info (covered in the book) and A LOT of re-reading to make sure it all sunk in (before I had to give it back, and buy a copy for myself!) and you get… really SLOW (not to mention I am a slow reader to begin with!)
So on to the review of it so I can put all the improtant parts I want to remember in one place so I can find them again if I need to!
What I really enjoyed about Judy Converse’s book is the step by step approach she outlines in her book of how to systematically go about assessing your child’s nutritional status and fixing the glitches (p. 31): Her steps include: 1. checking basic nutrition status first (current food intake is adequate, BMI is in range) 2. Correct bowel flora 3. Replace foods that aren’t tolerated (ie. milk, wheat, soy) 4. replenish micronutrients(vitamins and minerals) 5. check for signs and symptoms for unresolved GI problems 6. consider heavy metal screening 7. consider measures to reduce viral load or correct immune dysregulation.
Judy cautions,”Fix your child’s Food Intake, before tinkering with supplements.” Which I could not agree with more!
My favorite chapter is Chapter 3- Making Sense of Lab Tests, probably because this has been the most daunting information to make sense of in our own journey (even with a background in chemistry!). She talks about in this chapter the NUTRITIONAL -FOCUSED Physical Exam, which is a visual examination of the body which can GREATLY reduce the number of lab tests which need to be done, because many nutritional deficiencies can be “seen” through signs and symptoms visible on the OUTSIDE of your body. Pages 67-70 contains an exceptional chart of signs and symptoms and possible causes to rule out/assess including:constipation, poor appetite, pica, pallor, easy bruising, nail deformities, redness of ear tips, flushed redness of one cheek, headache, looks/feel of eyes, color and patterning of tounge… to name a few! It made me contemplate why EVERY well kid check did not include this nutritional exam?? Then I realized time and education of our mainstream doctors was to blame…with Dr’s only having 15 minutes or so per patient and having less than 1 semester of nutrition education in med school, there is not much time left to get to the topic of nutrition, past “How many glasses of milk does your child drink a day?” or “Does you child eat a fruit and a vegetable?”
In this chapter she also goes into great detail about how to balance bowel flora and when it needs to be balanced (p.87). She also goes into detail about many lab tests available including: stool culture, food allergies, food sensitivities, urine organic acid test, toxic metal test,urine porphyrin test,fatty acids testing, intestinal permeability testing, as well as a number of others.
Judy also covers special diets in great details and out lines the myth, pitfalls and truths as only she can with her breadth of experience with kids across the spectrum and with a number of disorders. Then she tackles the confusing world of supplements and sorts out all the questions as to how much, when and which ones, including a couple of great charts (p199-203) outlining supplements and what they can help with in addition to symptoms/problems and treatments to try.
Chepter 6 includes some very practicle tips to make shopping, cooking and eating a bit easier in your kitchen with special diets as your focus. She includes some interesting recipes too… unfortunately , many of them contianed foods high in Salicylates so the recipe was off our Lady A’s List but with a bit of substitutions, they may be able to work!
It is now time for me to return this book to it’s rightful owner (Thanks T.D. for recommending it!) but I am headed out to buy a copy because I found it that helpful and feel it is a great reference that I will look back to over and over again.
Two other resources that Judy includes are: a Nurtition Diagnosis code list (p.274) which provides an explanation of how insurance often will deny charges for procedures which are attached to an autism diagnosis but will cover the same exact procedure or test if it is linked to a possible underlying cause of autism symptoms – like a nutritional deficiency or biological symptom! PLEASE consult this list before you accumulate a mountain of DENIED bills from your insurance company for tests that may help you heal your child!
Also p. 277 contains a handy reference for medical tests and biochemical studies which are common for diagnosing biomedical causes of Autism Spectrum Disorders. This list has the test name as well as the purpose of the test to rule out or determine xyz.
I am excited to read Judy’s next book: Special needs Kids Go Pharm Free!