Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Recipe for Success: How to Get Your Child to Feed Supplements to Himself!

Finally, a way to give supplements without a struggle! This is also how your child can get his supplements at school. Jett takes his morning dose of vitamins, herbs and minerals mixed in his applesauce or a mashed banana while he watches one or two 3-4 minute educational videos from Brain Pop, Jr. But I also put in 4-5 "party balls" in his lunch with about six supplements and he always eats them. I also brew him some holy basil or rooibos tea (with apple cider vinegar and probiotics-- I know, yum!) and put it in his straw cup that he brings to school.

The video is of Oliver, Jett's 25 month old brother who has cerebral palsy, feeding himself his supplements. I did make too many (11) so he ate 3-4 at the first sitting and 4 at the next and then the rest a couple of hours later. But that's okay because he's still getting them! Since then, I've been adding much less nut butter and making only about 4-5 "party balls" so he eats them all by noon.  

And here's Jett's (5 years old) review of them while doing a little math. (I swear, HE started the math -- I was just following his lead.) :)

Recipe for Supplement Success

They are a gluten and casein free, nutrient-dense treat.

Party Balls

You can purchase all the ingredients here. 
  • Supplements of your choice (See how to decide what to give here.)
  • Nut butter of your choice (preferably sprouted and organic so that it becomes a nutrient as well rather than an anti-nutrient) or dates/figs can replace the nut butter:
Pumpkin seed butter     or          smashed dried dates/figs
Sun nut butter
Peanut butter
Almond butter
  • Organic sweetener of your choice:
Stevia (plus one of the others)
Manuka honey
Maple syrup  
  • Pink Himalayan sea salt (as needed)
  • Organic "goodies" of your choice:
Puffed amaranth
Shelled hemp seeds
Chia seeds
Coconut shavings/shredded
Finely chopped organic, unsulphured, dried goji berries
Finely chopped organic, unsulphured, dried gooseberries (amla)
Chia Goodness cereal like apple almond (It's not organic but it's quicker and cheaper--in the short term--because it has most of the ingredients already in it.)


These are the supplements that Oliver is eating in the video: 1 MitoQ, 2 Curcumin Longvida, 1 Partoid PMG (for detox), 1 MegaFolinic, 2 Stress Guards (organic B vitamins with adaptogens), Mega Food Zinc, Raintree Immune Support (natural antivirals/antibacterials/antifungals), 2 Vitamin Code Vitamin Cs, 2 Cognitex (brain support mix), 2 Prenatal Fish Oils and 2 Garden of Life Children's Multivitamins. 

1) Crush tablets, open capsules and squirt soft gels into a bowl. 

2) Add a nut butter to the supplements with a bit of cinnamon and stir until well blended. Taste. Then add a tiny bit of salt (helps with bitter flavors), a drop of stevia and a bit of maple syrup (helps with sour flavors) until you think your child will like it. The first time you make it, I'd err on the side of a little too sweet just so that he'll like it. Then once he already thinks of it as good, then the next time you can make it less sweet.

Notes: It seems that the less the mix contains synthetic ingredients, the easier it is for their palates to tolerate. When I buy the raw sprouted pumpkin seed butter, I try to buy it without added sweeteners or salt so I can add my own. When I first open the jar, I stir in some pink Himalayan sea salt (more nutritious than processed salt) and maple syrup if absolutely necessary. I would use manuka honey instead of maple syrup, but both Jett and Oliver muscle test negatively for honey at the moment.

3) Get some nutrient-packed goodies and put them in a bowl and stir. Pictured: Chia Goodness cereal, shelled hemp seeds, chia seeds and puffed amaranth. I also add coconut flakes and finely chopped goji berries or gooseberries.

4) Roll the nut butter/supplement mix into balls and put in the goody mix. 
Note: Now, I smush the balls into the mix first so that the goodies are incorporated throughout the nut butter then I roll into a ball. I add more puffed
amaranth to coat the outside.

5) Coat with goodies and give to your little one for a healthy treat that he can feed himself and you can feel really good about!

Note: If there's any extra goodies left over that I didn't use, I put in a wax paper baggie and use for the next day. 

Make Ahead Suggestions
  • Premix the "goodies" in a wax paper bag for quick easy mixing the morning of.
  • Put the unopened capsules, uncrushed tablets and unpunctured softgels in a small container ready for the next day.
  • I don't know that I would premake the balls other than one serving the night before because you can't be certain how potent the supplements would stay. I do make mine every morning. I did premake it once and the balls were more crunchy on the inside. Jett enjoyed that texture was well as the softer texture of the freshly made ones.

Related Posts

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Down Syndrome Innovations Conference Sept 11-13, 2015 Arkansas Children's Hospital

 Arkansas Children's Hospital and Down Syndrome OPTIONs bring you therapeutic ideas, educational strategies and research supporting translational medical interventions that can improve the symptoms seen in those with Trisomy 21.

Register today!

Seize this opportunity to make life-long connections with caregivers, practitioners and researchers!
Schedule of Events
Billy Spillman, Artist

Friday, September 11, 2015

     Day 1 supports physicians and other professionals* Continental breakfast and lunch included.
     Meet and Greet that evening.
     Art Gallery featuring adult artist with T21, Billy Spillman.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

     Day 2 gives parents, advocates, and caregivers* more knowledge and better tools to help individuals with Trisomy 21. Continental breakfast and lunch included.

     *Both days of the conference will be open for parents and professionals to attend. 

Sunday, September 13, 2015

     Day 3 Family day!
    Join attendees at either Little Rock Zoo or the Donald W. Reynolds Science Center

To get the group rate, email kerrinelson70(a)gmail.com to let us know which one you want to attend and how many adults and children (indicate ages) will come.   
Expert Presenters on Must-Hear T21 Topics for Day 1 and Day 2
  • Dana Crawford, Ph.D. -- Dietary Targeting of RCAN1 and Chromosome 21 Genes to Treat the Down Syndrome Population
  • Jorge A. Busciglio, Ph.D. -- Mitochondrial Dysfunction
  • Norman Schwartz, M.D. -- Thinking About Trisomy 21- Towards a Best Practices Approach
  • Barbara Strupp, Ph.D. -- Maternal Choline/Neurogenesis/Therapeutic Intervention for Basic Brain-Cognition support
  • D. Allan Butterfield, Ph.D. -- Molecular Mechanisms Engaged in Brain Prior to and Following Development of Alzheimer's Disease Neuropathology and Dementia in Down Syndrome
  • Anat Baniel -- NeuroMovement: Turning the child with Down Syndrome into a Potent Learner
  • Raphael Kellman, M.D. -- Thyroid/Endocrine Function, Microbiome
  • S. Jill James, Ph.D. -- Oxidative Stress and Epigenetic Alterations in Down syndrome: Targeted Nutritional Intervention Trial at Arkansas Children’s Hospital
  • Richard Frye, M.D., Ph.D. -- Treatment Strategies for Mitochondrial Dysfunction
  • Alison Wimmer -- Educational Strategies: Change Your Perception of dis-Abilities
  • Monica Purdy, MA, CCC-SLP -- Oral Placement Therapy – The Missing Link for Increased Feeding and Intelligibility in Speech
  • Erica Peirson, N.D. -- Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth
  • Morley Robbins, MBA, CHC -- Balancing Minerals in Down Syndrome
  • Louisa Silva, M.D., M.P.H. -- Qi Gong Massage Benefits
  • Jill Rabin, M.S., CCC-SLP -- The Baby-Led Weaning Approach: An Excellent Option to Assist Babies with Down Syndrome in Transitioning to Solid Foods
  • Lydia Winans -- The Life and Times of a Teen with T21
  • Kent MacLeod -- Optimized Nutrition is Essential for those with Trisomy 21
  • James Bieneman, D.D.S. -- Palate Expansion in the Down Syndrome Population
  • Russell Jaffe, M.D., Ph.D., FACN -- Healthy Digestion = Healthy Microbiome: What to Test, What Tests Mean and What to Do

Lydia Winans, Presenter
Child Care
Register now for child care. We will be providing qualified special needs care givers to make sure your little ones are safe and having fun. There will be a 2:1 ratio for kids w/special needs and 4:1 ratio for typical children, which is reflected in the price.

Hotel Reservations
We have rooms blocked off at Residence Inn Little Rock Downtown. Let them know you are with the Down Syndrome Innovations Conference.
     View map of Arkansas Children's Hospital.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Teaching Your Child to Get Dressed from Infancy On

We all want our children to be independent. But sometimes we don't realize our child can't do something that other kids his age can do until your child reaches that age and is already behind. So we need to be proactive and allow our children plenty of opportunities to acquire the tools necessary to accomplish his life skills in a timely manner. For such an important and rather complicated daily task as dressing one's self, it's best to start early so that by the time your child is in kindergarten, he would have had plenty of opportunities to learn and would be well on his way to getting dressed on his own. 

The first list is the order in which children usually learn how to dress as far as being able to physically and cognitively perform the skills. The second list has tips and the steps in which you can teach your child to dress himself.
Jett dressing Bessy.
Find out where your child is on the first list and go from there as far as helping him to acquire the skills needed to properly dress himself. If your child can do things in a different order than is shown, go ahead and rearrange the list to best fit your child. For instance, all the ones that I marked (FM) for fine motor, Jett did in a later order than is shown here. One child with DS that I know did all the FM's earlier than the other tasks. Much to his single mom's "delight" his fine motor skills made him quite the escape artist. She'd often get a hug from him while driving even though he had been well strapped in his car seat! 

The list allows you to notice where your child is and what the next step may be so that you can let him give it a try the next time you go through your dressing routine. And then you can add supportive activities like practicing buttoning on a doll like "Dressy Bessy" or on a busy board. Our local library has a developmental center where we can check out developmental toys such as a giant book that has big buttons, zippers, etc. You can make something for your child to practice on by taking an old shirt and stapling it onto an unused frame. Here is a great list of items you can make at home to help your child acquire these fine motor skills related to dressing. One of my favorites is the Button Snake.

Different types of therapy can help with gaining these skills. Kay Ness' Tactile Sequence, part of neurodevelopmental therapy, helps your child to integrate his tactile senses. MNRI is another type of therapy that releases the blocked reflexes so your child can move more easily. One exercise Jett does directly relates to holding a pencil, for instance.

If your child has difficulty cooperating, check out How I get Good Behavior from Jett. And, of course, I can't help but mention the importance of supporting your child's health and thereby supporting his cognitive development with proper nutrition and supplements. For instance, B12 helps restore sensations in the nerves, which means your child would be able to feel his or her fingers better, allowing him to use his fingers more accurately.

Order of skill acquisition related to dressing
  1. Holds arms out for sleeves and puts foot up for shoes
  2. Pushes arms through sleeves and legs through pants
  3. Pulls socks and shoes off
  4. Removes unfastened coat
  5. Removes shoes when laces are untied
  6. Helps push down pants
  7. Finds armholes in t-shirts
  8. Pulls down pants with elastic waist
  9. Tries to put on socks (FM)
  10. Puts on front-buttoned shirt (without doing up buttons)
  11. Unbuttons one large button (FM)
  12. Puts on t-shirt with little help
  13. Puts on shoes without fastening (might be wrong foot)
  14. Puts on socks (might have trouble getting heel in the right place) (FM)
  15. Pulls down pants on his own
  16. Zips and unzips without joining or separating zipper
  17. Removes t-shirt without assistance
  18. Buttons large front buttons (FM)
  19. Finds front of clothing
  20. Snaps or hooks clothing in front (press studs and zips) (FM)
  21. Unzips/zips front zipper on jacket (separating zipper) (FM)
  22. Puts on gloves (FM)
  23. Buttons series of 3-4 buttons (FM)
  24. Unbuckles shoes or belt
  25. Removes t-shirts on her own
  26. Buckles shoes or belt (FM)
  27. Connects jacket zipper and zips up zipper (FM)
  28. Puts on socks the right way (FM)
  29. Puts on shoes with little help (FM)
  30. Knows front and back of clothing
  31. Steps into pants and pulls them up
  32. Puts belt in loop (FM)
  33. Dresses without your help or supervision
  34. Puts on t-shirt or sweater correctly each time
 This list is adapted from Dunn Klein, M. (1983). Pre-dressing skills (rev. edn). Tucson: Communication Skill Builders.

How to Teach Your Child to get Dressed
    Oh, the hat's the easiest, Jett! But you do look cute!
  • First, teach him how to undress. Once he can do that fine, then he's ready to dress himself.
  • Give yourself plenty of time so you don't have to rush or feel anxious. He'll feel the anxiety and can effect him as well.
  • Find the same spot to do it every morning. Lay out his clothes with shirt flat and face down, then pants face up, then underwear face up.

1) Slowly go through each step w/him yourself, quietly. Use only the key words described below for each action. Show him what you are doing w/out expecting him to do it. Use hand over hand for all of the actions, which means to put your hand over his hand and do the action with him. Use the verbal cues according to what processing level your child is at. For an auditory processing of one, use one word "foot." For two, say "Put foot." For three "Put in foot," etc. You don't want to keep a constant flow of words going or he might lose the key word you want him to remember. You can get an explanation of auditory processing here.

The steps:
  1. Say, "Where's your clothes?" or "Where clothes?" or "Clothes?"
  2. Say, "Oh, here are your clothes!" "Clothes, here!" or "Here!"
  3. Say "sit." Sit him down in front of the clothes.
  4. "Oh, here's your underwear!"
  5. Put on underwear: Have him stick his thumbs in and pinch each side w/both hands. Just say "thumb" to get his thumb there and then "pinch" for one side and "thumb" and "pinch" for the other side.
  6. Pull the underwear open (not tight though). Say "open."
  7. Say "foot". He puts one foot in one hole. Say "foot". He puts the other foot in the other hole.
  8. Then you say "pull" and pull the underwear up past his knees.
  9. "Stand" Then he holds on to you and stands up. If he can't yet stand, you can have him lay down.
  10. "Thumb front" Then he puts his thumb at his waist band in the front and pinches. Say "pinch front" and puts his thumb at his waist band in the back and pinches. Say "pinch back."
  11. The "pull up."
  12. "Sit" Then he sits back down and does the same process with the pants.
  13. For the shirt, I like head first, then arms, saying "Head" and "arm" "arm"
2) You actually start teaching him with the last thing first. Depending on the processing level, kids usually only remember the last thing you say, so that's why you start with last task first. Have you noticed that you tell your child "Blah blah blah... don't touch the dog." And then they go and touch the dog? It's because they can only remember the last part of what you say. That's why I also never use the word "don't...." because they might not catch the "don't" part!

Day 1, you do the whole thing hand over hand for every action.
Day 2, he does the arms part by himself in Step 13, you say "arm" and pause to give him a chance to do it.
Day 3, he does both arms himself.
Day 4, he does head and arms himself. Once he gets the entire sequence of putting on his shirt, then he will automatically group the actions together in his mind, called "chunking". Then you can just say "shirt" and he can do all the steps involved with putting on his shirt.
Day 5, he pulls up the pants himself and then puts on his shirt... etc.
Say things like "good try" or "great pinch" each time instead of "good boy." He's always a "good boy", no matter the situation. This activity isn't about his self worth, it's about practicing new skills. :) 

3) In real life, things are never carefully set out for you each morning! So, after he has the whole sequence down, then you do things like mess up the clothes and ask him to lay them right. Then once he can do that, you have him choose between two different outfits starting with an obviously poor choice and an obviously correct choice, depending on the weather, time etc. Like pajamas verses a raincoat. Then you have him decide which clothes to wear out of several choices and eventually, the entire drawer. 

Before you know it, your child will be one step closer to independence. And you'll have your mornings back! (Or at least enough time for a second cup of coffee.)

Mãe de criança com síndrome de Down explica como ensinar os filhos a se vestirem desde pequenos. Confira: http://bit.ly/1Jh3S6O

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Jett's Progress

Even though all of our kids share the T21 diagnosis, each of our kids is created uniquely. About half, like Jett, have had heart surgery... most, like Jett, have hypothyroidism... and others have extra challenges that Jett has not had to face.

With that said, I do believe that it's because of proper intervention — nutritionally, therapeutically, medically and environmentally — that Jett has been able to thrive as he has. I also support Jett's healthy diet with supplements.

So, I share these videos and information to spark inspiration, not frustration. This is what Jett has been able to do with the supports, strengths and challenges that he has. Your child's victories will be different. Your child will reach some milestones more quickly than Jett and he will have reached some more quickly than your child. I look forward to rejoicing in your child's victories and to give support with your child's challenges.

Jett's Milestones

The cutest pumpkin in the patch! 20 months
Jett rolled over at 5 months and drank from a straw at 6 months (the day before his heart surgery). He said his first meaningful word at 8 months, his first two-word sentence at 11 months (but didn't again until about 17 months). This post explains what I did to support his speech

At 10 months old, he no longer went #2 in his diaper. We practiced Elimination Communication. At 12 months old, he went #2 in the adult toilet for the first time. Here's how we supported potty training.
At 13 months old, he was four-point crawling after many months of army crawling, which is important for development. Here's what you can do to support proper crawling

At 14 months, he pulled himself up to lean against me and furniture and could walk a few steps when assisted (just as a test).  

At his 16 month speech evaluation, his language skills, both receptive and expressive, were deemed "average for his age"! At 16 months, he was a master stair climber (on hands and knees) and has a great love of words and books. Here you can see Jett pretending to read at 16 months.

At 17 months, he started sight reading! The words he first could recognize were: craaaaack, gulp, hug and whoosh. (I guess that reveals a little about his fun personality since all but one word is an onomatopoeia. He didn't always say the word, but loved to hear you read it out loud. Oh, and when he pointed to "hug," he expected you to hug him.) Here's a video of him reading at 18 months: at my husband's blog. And another of Jett reading 9 words in 1 minute 40 seconds. This post explains what I did to support his reading skills.

At 21 months, he has started to sound out words; "bus" was first. After that, he attempted to read any and all words out loud. It's amazing to me! It was so fun and rewarding to point to a word while I'm reading and hear him joyfully pronounce it. (A favorite book to read with me at this age was Whoo Goes There?) Also, this month, he gave me his first hug and kiss (after taking NeuroProtek). And it was the first time he really gave me good eye contact.

Here's Jett Reading Out Loud at 23 Months.

At 24 months, he could do the large-pieced wooden puzzles (like Melissa & Doug brand) on his own.

At 25 months old, Jett read a whole book out loud, by himself for the first time. It was 27 pages long — The Eye Book by Dr. Seuss. It's late kindergarten level.

At 27 months, he sang "Twinkle twinkle little star, how I wonder what you are" completely on his own (just that stanza) and I hadn't been singing it at all that day either! So, although his expressive language (words coming from his own head and not mimicking) does need work, it is coming along nicely.

At 28 months, he loved to explore the house and get into everything he could. His favorite things to play with were my purse, the contents of the grocery bags, the utensils from the dishwasher and the sandbox. (Yes, he had toys — I promise! He still loved his magnadoodle.)  He has been using his potty for #2, since about 11 months old (it happened before we realized it so we're not sure when this started). At this time, he would tell us when he's hungry ("hungry" "bite" "piece" "food" and "eat"), what he wants to eat ("beans", "rice," "soup", "pizza" [gluten and casein free], "yogurt", "avocado" and "chicken" most often), when he's thirsty ("cup," "drink," "thirsty," "milk," "sip," "water," "juice" and "coconut [water]"). And he lets us know what he wants to do like "outside," "book," "bath" and "computer"  with his requests for "Mary Poppins," "Readeez" and "Winnie da Pooh" about 250 times a day. And he tells us when he's "hurt", "happy" and "hot." He tells us to "hurry" and "stop it." He also says "I love you so much!" but not that many other phrasesfrom his own head.

Jett could recognize and name numbers 0 to 100. (He says "ten-ten" for one hundred, for some reason.) He does count with me, but I have no idea if he has a concept of numbers yet. (Maybe he understands one, two and three? He seems to get those right...) He does know triangle, square, circle, rectangle and oval. This is what we did to support his math skills

At 33 months, he uses such sentences spontaneously and appropriately as: I dropped it! No, thank you. This is cold/soft/Brittany, etc. Where's the pillow? Mommy sit! I got it! Hmm let's see. Mommy…Daddy… Jett...together… family! He now can sing over 50 songs while they play and sometimes on his own, just from memory. (Most impressive is "Lordly is the Life I Lead" from Mary Poppins.)
He started to verbally let me know when he has to go #2.
And he can do an 8 piece jigsaw puzzles on his own without too much frustration.

At 34 months, he knew the concept of 0-10. He says "empty" to explain "zero." And he knew all his shapes, even complicated ones. I put both hands together and said, "a heart" and he tried to do it and said, "a polygon!" Late into his third year, Jett could also count by tens, identify patterns of 3 or less, sort and classify like items and add and subtract physical objects (not on paper, with symbols).

At 36 months, he enjoys activity magazines such as Highlights' High Five or NWF's Wild Animal Baby magazine that has stories, I Spy and cooking and craft activities. Yesterday, he said: "There's a mouse. A mouse goes 'squeak, squeak, squeak' everywhere!" He also enjoys his Pre-K worksheets where he loves to practice writing using a dry erase marker. He now substitutes lyrics to change up songs and make them express what is going on that day.

Jett stood independently and walked the same day, at 3 years old. He had a previously undiagnosed spinal issue. Once it was addressed, he stood and took his first tentative steps the next day! See Walking and Children with Down Syndrome to learn what I wish I would have known!

His auditory processing reached a level 3 at 3 years, 3 months. At 3 years, 4 months, he said his first 6-word sentence (that he made up and that I'm aware of): "No one will sing the blackbird song!" (It was late and we were too tired to indulge him.) 

Video of Jett, three years old, reading a word in English, translating it to Japanese and then spelling the word using hiragana, the Japanese alphabet: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=llDeNMBSdEA

Jett, 4 years old
At 4 years old, Jett went through 5 hours of testing before he started 4K and he did not qualify as having an intellectual disability nor did he need speech therapy. He reads at a 5th grade level with comprehension at 2nd grade. No, these results are not typical -- not even for a neuro-typical child!

At 4 years old 1 month, we have such conversations as:

Jett: What's this? (referring to the song that is playing from The Jungle Book)
Me: It's 'I Wanna Be Like You'.
Jett: Noooo... Is this jazz?


Aunt Suzie: What are you doing?
Jett: (playing air guitar wildly) I'm singing the blues!
Me: The blues? What other kinds of music is there?
Jett: Reggae... Classical... Hip Hop... Salsa…

A video of Jett spelling at 4 years old, it was an off day.

Here's a video of Jett reading. He chose "An Alphabet of Dinosaurs." You'll see why it's hard to get a good video... 

The book has a Lexile® Measure of 830L, which means that the average 4-5th grader reads at that level.
At 4 years old, Jett got tested through the local school district and the school psychologist was excited to tell me that Jett could do all the math, including adding and subtracting (using pictures and manipulatives -- but the math "sentences" like 2+2=?, he didn't get all of those right, but he did get some right!)

Here is Jett right after he turned 5 years old, doing a little PSA for World DS Day. Turn up the volume and turn on the subtitles. 

Since Jett is so short, he just starting going #1 standing up at 5 years old while standing on a stool. (He's the size of a 3 year old because we haven't been able to get him on growth hormone treatment yet.) He's rather proud of this, so I had to include it. :)

He's able to write all of the letters of the alphabet independently, using the magna doodle. It has a very smooth surface that is easier to use than paper and pencil. He knew them all very early, but writing is his biggest challenge. Here's what we did to support his handwriting skills.

At 5 1/2 years old, Jett wrote his first word on his own -- thought of it, knew how to spell it and wrote it. It was close to the end of summer and I had a local teen come by to work with him on his handwriting -- just through certain physical activities -- like playing tug of war and using the monkey bars -- not by having him sit down to write. And so I hadn't asked him all summer to write for me. Finally I got the Magnadoodle out and said, "Jett, will you write your name for me?" 

He said, "No, but I'll write Ludwig von Beethoven's name." And he took the pen and wrote the capital "L" very large in the middle of the screen with the small "u" and "d" next to it. He ran out of space so he put the "w" very big above the "L" and squeezed in the "i" but ran out of space. So he wrote the "g" all the way to the left of the screen. Of course, by that time, he had no room for the rest of Beethoven's name, but I was so excited! The first word he wrote completely on his own was "Ludwig". So very "Jett"! His fine motor skills are finally catching up to his brain!! I can't wait to see what he does next! (I did run to get my camera to take a picture of it but he erased it before I got back.)

At five, he taught himself all 50 states, all the names of the US presidents and the Greek alphabet. He's learning lots of Spanish and (with the introduction of antifungal) is becoming more social -- playing with peers. (He's very social with adults just not children.) He's even letting his 2 year old brother hug him.

Age 6 has been the year for his biggest creative and social gains. Upon introduction of fava bean extract and lotus seeds, Jett started to feel a whole range of emotions and even empathy. And with the addition of the QRI Cold Laser Home Program, his social skills have increased dramatically. He has made friends with his little brother and finally enjoys playing with him.

And here's Jett enjoying a conversation with Jonovin, a boy in his upcoming class, during a play date. Yep! Jett... Enjoying a conversation... with a friend... During a play date... Bye bye symptoms of ASD! Hello engaged childhood!

In this picture, he drew a Jabberwocky from Through the Looking Glass. (What we are reading before bed.) I'm happy he can have fun with crayons! (Both my husband and I are artists.)

I love this one! Looks like stained glass.
Jett loves cats.

Jett does a lot of these crayon paintings.

This is the work/reading comprehension that Jett is doing in school. He dictated the answers rather than write them because it would take him too long to write it in the time allotted. This is the work that they pull Jett out of his classroom for since he's ahead of his neurotypical classmates.

Early in his 7th year, Jett has come out of his shell even more. He performed in his class circus as a tiger onstage with the dancing bears complete with loud music, face painting, singing, dancing and doing tricks! I asked Jett what he thought about being in the circus. He said, "It was crazy, fun, wild and different." He said being onstage was "cool".

My camera kept shutting off, but here is another part:

Friday, April 17, 2015

Lithium orotate

Our Experience

I started Jett at 3 years, 10 months old on lithium orotate because of all the possible benefits to the brain. With only 5mg a day, the rest of his sound sensitivity and teeth grinding went a way! Yeah! (I'm now able to only give 2.5 mg and get the same results.) I knew that both issues were mineral related and so I had seen great results with magnesium alone, but once I added the LO, they went away completely. So now I can finally vacuum without him freaking out. I can use the blender, even when he's in the room! And we can go to parties without having to leave early or take him into another room or outside for awhile to decompress from the sound over stimulation. I haven't exposed him to fire engines... his worst sound sensitivity yet, though! But he's fine with his baby brother crying (after about three months, he was okay even without the LO.)

At five years old, every once in a while, in the middle of the night, I hear Jett grind his teeth for a couple of seconds, but that's it. (We sleep in the same room.) And if he misses his dose of either the LO or magnesium, the sound sensitivity comes back just as badly within a day or two. So, LO is one of his must-have supplements.

Note: Before starting, make sure that your child's thyroid is functioning properly. According to this article (which is about prescription lithium, not lithium orotate), your child needs to have a complete thyroid test before starting LO treatment. Jett's thyroid was properly treated before starting LO and no thyroid antibodies were present. Once on LO, make sure your child gets thyroid testing every six months or yearly.

What is Lithium Orotate?

Most people have heard of lithium used as treatment for bipolar disorder, mania and depression. But that is lithium carbonate and lithium citrate -- the pharmaceutical forms of lithium, which are chemical extracts unlike the naturally occurring mineral, lithium orotate (LO).

LO is not a drug. Just like calcium and potassium, lithium is something that every human body requires for mental and physical health.

LO is different than the other forms of the mineral. Whereas pharmaceutical drug forms of lithium require high doses to get into our cells, lithium orotate is only needed in a small amount because about 97% of it gets into the cell. The other great news is that unlike its pharmaceutical counterparts, lithium orotate is non-toxic, safe, has little side effects, and works on 70% to 80% of people who use it.

LO's bio-availability allows the mineral to penetrate the mitochondria, glia and lysosomes within our cells. The mineral stabilizes these lysosomal membranes, slowing the enzymatic reaction that leads to many of the negative side effects of other forms of lithium salts.

Overview of Benefits

Brain Protection
Studies show that LO can actually rejuvenate and build the grey matter nerve cells in the brain by up to three percent. (Hey, I'll take that!)

Anti-Aging Effects
Small amounts of LO have been shown to offer anti-aging effects to the brain.

Neuroprotection From Environmental Toxins
LO has been shown to protect the system from numerous toxins, particularly in the grey matter of the brain.

Helps transport folate and Vitamin B12 into cells Without adequate Lithium, Vitamin B12 and Folate cannot get into cells and just floats around in the blood. Often due to a lithium deficiency, it may appear that the B12 level is adequate or even elevated B12 when in fact little of it is getting into cells where it is really needed.

Increases Lymphocytes
Lithium may increase the creation of more white blood cells -- lymphocytes.


Lithium should not be taken by those with renal or cardiovascular diseases, severe dehydration or exhaustion, sodium depletion, or in individuals using any form of diuretics or ACE inhibitors.

Also lithium works in balance with iodine. So, I do give Jett some iodine. I just put in a drop of kelp extract into a full bottle of water then, I shake that up and label the bottle "Iodine Water" then I add a little of that mixture to another full bottle of water. It is VERY easy to overdose by using kelp drops. One drop goes a LONG way! (In fact, I had given Jett too much potassium that way and thought it was from the lithium, but it was the kelp drops. I found out about the potassium through a hair analysis.)  

Side Effects

In one study, eight (of forty two people) showed side effects such as muscle weakness, loss of appetite or mild apathy.

Again, although no studies have been made on LO and the thyroid, other forms of lithium have been known to affect the thyroid so test for thyroid issues before and during use and keep the dose as low as you can.


Research on lithium in relation to Down syndrome

Lithium restores cognitive function in Down syndrome mice
Date: December 3, 2012
Source: Journal of Clinical Investigation
Summary: Researchers report that lithium, a drug commonly used for the treatment of mood disorders in humans, restores neurogenesis in the hippocampus, a part of the brain strongly associated with learning and memory.

Gene-silencing strategy opens new path to understanding Down Syndrome
Date: October 22, 2013
Source: American Society of Human Genetics
Summary: Inspired by natural process that silences one copy of female mammals' two sex-determining X chromosomes during embryonic development, researchers develop way to silence extra chromosome of Trisomy 21.

Scientists show proof-of-principle for silencing extra chromosome responsible for Down syndrome
Date: July 17, 2013
Source: University of Massachusetts Medical School
Summary: Scientists have established that a naturally occurring X chromosome "off switch" can be rerouted to neutralize the extra chromosome responsible for trisomy 21, also known as Down syndrome, a genetic disorder characterized by cognitive impairment. The discovery provides the first evidence that the underlying genetic defect responsible for Down syndrome can be suppressed in cells in culture.

Experimental compound reverses down syndrome-like learning deficits in mice
Date: September 4, 2013
Source: Johns Hopkins Medicine
Summary: Researchers have identified a compound that dramatically bolsters learning and memory when given to mice with a Down syndrome-like condition on the day of birth. The single-dose treatment appears to enable the cerebellum of the rodents' brains to grow to a normal size. This is promising research involving sonic hedgehog.

Faulty stem cell regulation may contribute to cognitive deficits associated with Down syndrome
Date: September 11, 2013
Source: Stanford University Medical Center
Summary: The learning and physical disabilities that affect people with Down syndrome may be due at least in part to defective stem cell regulation throughout the body, according to researchers.


To receive the benefits of anti-aging for the brain, neuroprotection from toxins etc., 120 mg (~5 mg of elemental) daily is suggested. BUT, for the DS population, it's best to keep the dose as low as possible. For Jett, he takes 2.5 mg (1/2 a capsule) once a day, which seems to be working well for him.

Consider starting with 1/2 capsule of 120 mg (~2.5 mg of elemental) once a day. If symptoms persist, increase to 1 tablet/capsule of 120 mg (~5 mg of elemental) once a day. If symptoms still persist, add a second dose.  An adult or older child may need a dose of three times per day. 

Less is more: I gave Jett a dose of 5 mg and then gave it twice a day until his symptoms went away. Then I went back down to 5 mg a day to see what would happen. I was able to stay at that dose since his symptoms subsided. Recently, I went down to 2.5 mg and saw that his symptoms are alleviated with that low of a dose.

Also, a daily supplement of 300-400 mcg folate is recommended as it enhances the brain's ability to utilize the protective properties of lithium orotate.

Dosage would continue with a small amount over a long period of time.