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.