Naturally Parenting a Child with Special Needs

My son was born with a congenital heart defect, suffers from strabismus, and he has childhood apraxia of speech.

As a teacher, I have much experience with children of special needs, yet it is one of those things you think happens to other people, like car accidents and cancer.

I won’t use the word unfortunately because we are very fortunate to have our son.  He is amazing in so many ways that may or may not be if he was a typically developing child.

We recently traveled to one of the many doctor appointments my son has throughout the year, and I began to write this post in my head as I drove.  Obviously, I believe all children should be raised naturally, but it is even more important for children of special needs.

It really begins in pregnancy, when most of us don’t know we will be giving birth to a child with special needs. A healthy diet of organic foods and avoiding toxic chemicals, such as those found in household cleaners, gives our children the best start possible.

Breast is best for special needs too!

Breastfeeding is the perfect food for humans.  Just like for a typically developing child, the nutrients and nurturing provided by mama’s milk also gives our children with special needs all of the advantages possible as they begin their lives outside of the womb.  Long term breastfeeding beyond a year continues to provide essential nutrients for their growing bodies and growing minds.

Organic Food, Household Chemicals, and Epigenetics

With the exception of traumatic brain events and other such marked incidents, epigenetics is most likely at the root of many children’s special needs.

What is epigenetics?  The International Waldenstrom’s Macroglobulinemia Foundation explains:

Derived from the Greek, the word epigenetics literally means “above” genetics. Epigenetics is the study of chemical markers that modify genes but are not part of DNA itself…

Just as we know that our DNA can change because of mutations, our epigenetics can also change during our lifetime. Lifestyle and environmental factors can expose us to chemicals that change our epigenetic profile. In other words, what we eat and drink, whether we smoke, what medicines we take, what pollutants we encounter, how quickly we age, may affect this process.

We may not be able to do anything about epigenetics that have been passed on through hereditary, or the prior toxic exposures that have led to the current condition, yet we can prevent further gene mutation and positively change future developmental progress by avoiding chemicals in our food and homes as much as possible.  Working towards cleaner air and water may be harder than making changes in our individual habits, but it is also direly important for all of our children.

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