The Nutritional Aspects of Learning Disorders

By Zimmerman, Philip W. | Nutrition Health Review, Summer 1992 | Go to article overview

The Nutritional Aspects of Learning Disorders


Zimmerman, Philip W., Nutrition Health Review


The book of Proverbs tells us that every child should be educated according to his or her own nature. In an age of standardization, tests, and stringent record keeping, this principle is often overlooked, with unfortunate results to the child.

Let us consider the following scenario. A child is not doing well in school. Teachers report lack of interest, daydreaming, and poor scores in tests. This type of problem is much more prevalent among boys for reasons not fully understood and may present discipline problems. What are we to make of this situation?

Before parents and teachers take any drastic steps, a full evaluation of the child by a competent pediatrician is imperative. The areas involved in this evaluation cover major aspects:

1. Visual Difficulties -- Does the child have visual problems or dyslexia? Perhaps he or she cannot see the blackboard or the letters in a textbook.

2. Hearing Difficulities -- Because of the large number of middle ear infections in infancy and childhood, many children are left with impaired hearing. The correction of this problem may open new worlds to the child. A special note here must be added in regard to the auditory damage done to the young by the blasting sound of various types of "music" that may be prevalent in the household.

3. Subclinical Infection -- Some children suffer from bouts of subclinical infection, usually of a respiratory origin. Allergic manifestations may also be involved, making the child feel he or she is constantly "under the weather." Obviously, this does not create a positive mental environment for learning.

4. Individual Nature -- Some children are naturally slow learners; this does not necessarily impede future intellectual development. The great inventor Thomas Edison was considered a dullard in his youth, but because of the faith his mother had in his intellectual capacity, he achieved great heights.

Physicians who treat problems in this area formerly used the acronym MBD (minimal brain dysfunction). This terminology is now considered passe. The current acronyms used are ADD (attention deficit disorder) and ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). …

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