Getting the basics right before any learning can happen!

Find out what the DEVELOPMENTAL LEARNING STEPS are. Have a look at the pyramid of learning, developed by Veronica Steers (Occupational Therapist).

Scan your eye right down to the bottom and what do you see? There you have the very first step is to address genes, structure, neurophysiology and other things such as metabolic health/ digestive health/ immune health.

Yes that’s right- addressing digestive, metabolic and immune health is right at the very beginning of your child’s development. Your child may have difficulties with sensory processing, with auditory processing, or motor skills or social behaviour or organisational abilities, or…..  However without addressing the foundation, it is going to be much, much harder to get any of  the following steps flowing smoothly. Each step is built on how well the previous step has developed and progressed.

You may have been recommended to see an OT or Speech Therapist or Behavioural Therapist which will be relevant and appropriate, but if you don’t have a handle on any of the previous steps you will be trying to move forward with the handbrake on.

This is painful for all concerned, not to mention costly. A better approach is to spend a little time on the foundations and then you can layer in the following step. Everything you do ‘behind the scenes’ all helps to make the next step work so much better.

I used to practice as a Neurodevelopmental Therapist (Move to Learn is one organisation that uses this Move to Learn) but after a while I could see how a child’s diet and nutrient deficiencies was really holding them back from getting any significant benefit from the activities. It seemed that eating 2 minute noodles and drinking a Gatorade before you came in for a session with  me wasn’t going to make for a successful time for either of us!

So what should you cover in that Foundational Step right at the bottom? And how can you tell if you even need to? Here are some signs to watch out for:

  • Food intolerances
  • Fussy eating (nutrient deficiencies and food intolerances are frequently behind this)
  • Getting sick all the time eg ear, throat, chest infections
  • Allergy prone ie asthma, eczema
  • Skin rashes or itchy skin that comes and goes
  • Moody, anxious, sensitive
  • Restless, irritable, aggressive
  • Inattentive and/or hyperactive
  • Insomnia, or can’t stay asleep
  • Colic and other tummy complaints
  • Chronic constipation or diarrhoea or both!

These are all clues that digestion, immunity and metabolism is off kilter. Sometimes it takes a few months or even longer to bring back balance to these areas, but any time you spend here will pay you back big time and in a good way. You will spend less time in the later steps of development, and frequently, you may not even need to do them. That’s the beauty of supplying your body with the basic tools it needs to get the job done.