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A Holistic Approach to Education, Part One: Why Nutrition?

Updated: Aug 30, 2023

Does my child with autism, or any other specific learning disability, need to change his or her diet? Will it actually help? It’s too overwhelming to even think about! As parents of children with SLD’s (specific learning disabilities), we tend to be up to our necks with decisions to be made, testing to be done, and changes to make. Sometimes we feel like we’re drowning. I understand! Take a deep breath. Ok, now that you’re a little more relaxed, let me encourage you: you can do this! Just like everything else;

One - step - at - a - time.

This article is the first in a series describing why we eliminate potentially harmful foods that may be hindering academic and behavioral success. Let's take a look at the evidence.

In research funded by Autism Speaks, 85% of parents reported improvement with Autism diets. And according to, following an ADHD nutrition plan rich in protein and vitamins, avoiding sugar, artificial ingredients, and common allergens, can help control symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Dr. Daniel Amen, psychiatrist, brain disorder specialist and New York Times best-selling author several times over, says, “Children with ADHD and/or autism may do better on an elimination regimen that’s free from wheat, dairy, processed foods, and all forms of sugar and sugar alternatives, food dyes, and additives.”

The evidence is there, the verdict is in, and we all want to do whatever is humanly possible to help our special children succeed, right? As a homeschool mother of five, three having learning disabilities, I believe in a holistic approach to education. Academics are important, accommodations are often necessary, movement is essential, and a healthy diet in a non-negotiable. In part two of this series, we will address what needs to be eliminated from the diet and why.

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