Do you understand your child’s behaviour

Our behaviour is a reflection of much that is happening in our brains and bodies. We accept that behaviour may be caused by various emotions but few people realise the effect that certain foods may be causing puzzling behaviours. Children who are demanding or defiant, forgetful or anxious, irritable or restless and generally difficult to live with and teach may be demonstrating the effect of certain foods.

Allergies can play havoc with a child’s ability to learn. Some forms of hyperactivity, short attention span and mood swings (usually labelled as ADHD) are caused by allergies and intolerances. We understand allergies but food intolerances, so sneaky and difficult to identify, may also underlie developmental, behavioural or learning disabilities. Often we see drastic changes when families eliminate colourants, preservatives and flavourings from the child’s diet.

Behaviours can also tell us how a child is compensating for something in her body/brain that is not supporting her well. In other words, it gives us useful clues to help identify how best to help. For example, children who seem to be seeking out movement all the time may be struggling with an irregularly functioning system of balance; children who are clumsy and play too roughly with others may be needing stimulation of their proprioceptors (sense of body in space), and so on. Once we understand why they behave as they do, we are well on the way to helping them.

Why is your bright child not coping at school

Many children puzzle parents and teachers because in spite of their obvious intelligence they find some things difficult to learn. School becomes increasingly difficult for them. Brain research in the past years has been steadily contributing to new understanding of the way our brains and bodies function. Being able to apply neuroscience to children’s learning problems has empowered us with the ability to help children more successfully than those drug or behaviour therapies that have frustrated families up to now.

A neurodevelopment approach is not necessarily the specialised domain of the neurologist. It requires knowledge of what neurological systems in the child are essential for learning; when certain systems develop; and how such systems may be affected by aspects of development or the environment. Most importantly, it requires knowledge of how these systems may be enhanced so that they are capable of supporting the learning and everyday behaviour that is expected of every child. Children are often struggling with issues caused by problems in their neurodevelopment rather than any diagnosed medical conditions, such as ADHD and others.

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