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Naturally Parenting a Child with Special Needs

Posted Apr 27 2012 12:00am
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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.

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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