On the Horizon – 11/1/11

Welcome to “On the Horizon”

Issue 168: The Gut and Nutrition

On the Horizon is an award winning weekly ezine for parents of children with developmental disabilities who want simple, effective strategies to reduce stress, support their child’s development, and improve quality of life for the whole family.

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  • A Note from Nicole: Hi From Dallas, Texas!
  • Feature Article: The Gut and Nutrition
  • Ask the Horizons Team
  • Upcoming Events: Simple Solutions Seminar & Sibshop
  • Recommended Resources

I’m writing this week from Dallas, Texas where I’m attending a conference.  It brings me back to the days of my grad school residencies when I lived here for weeks at a time to complete coursework.  I must say that I’m glad to be back here in a different capacity now!  Some of you wrote to ask about my kids and Halloween, so I’ll share that we had a great time trick-or-treating and going to the grandparent’s house for cider and donuts.  It’s been interesting to watch my older boys evolve with the whole costume issue.  This year my 11-year-old waited until the last minute and put something together from our dress-up clothes bin in the basement.  Gone are the days of him planning his outfit for weeks in advance and making sure we shopped for just the right items.  I guess pre-teens prefer the “wait until the last minute and throw something together” plan!  For those of you who celebrate Halloween, I hope it was fun for your family!

Erin’s feature article this week is about nutrition and gut health.  You might wonder why we care about this topic, but I can assure you it is of utmost importance to us in the work we do.  Check out the article to find out why!

Need a solution for shoe-tying dilemmas with your kids?  Make sure to read this week’s question and answer below.

Have a great start to November!

Looking to the horizon,

The Gut and Nutrition

By Erin Roon, MA CCC-SLP

We see many children and young adults in our practice, and we are finding that most of them (70-80%) benefit from a special diet, elimination of certain foods, or use of supplements.  There are many conflicting studies out there that make it difficult to know for sure if there is a connection between nutrition/gut issues and autism; but I can say that in our experience it seems to be true for many.  Like the population as a whole, one rule doesn’t apply to all.  I see some children who do not seem to be affected at all by the things they eat – no gut problems, bowel issues, or behavior that would indicate feeling ill, or high levels of yeast – while others seem to be very affected by all of these things.   It can take a lot of time and effort to sort this all out, but the differences can be remarkable when a child is feeling well and getting proper nutrition.

Special diets are not necessary for every child with an autism spectrum disorder, because every person has their own unique make up and nutritional needs.  There are books, articles, and people out there who promote the gluten/casein free diet for all kids on the autism spectrum.  While this isn’t a bad diet, and it certainly won’t hurt anyone to be on the diet, it isn’t a “cure” for autism; and it doesn’t have the same effect for every person.  Some people see dramatic differences on the diet, while others see no difference.  While the gluten/casein free diet may not be effective for your child, there may be other diets, nutritional changes or supplements that might be.

So, how do you know if your child is suffering from gut issues, or is getting proper nutrition?

Click here to read the rest of this article…


We are having an issue with shoe tying in our house!  I have 5 children under the age of 8, and my oldest has significant fine motor and visual processing issues.  It’s been an uphill battle trying to teach him to tie his shoes.  When we need to go somewhere it takes me forever to get everyone’s shoes on and tied.  I’ve tried to go the slip-on shoe route, but my older son really wants “regular” sneakers.  Do you have any ideas for us to try?

-Angela in Toledo, Ohio


Hi Angela,

I hear you about the hassle of trying to get everyone’s shoes on, tied, and out the door.  That’s one of the things I love about the summer months – crocs and flip-flops for everyone!  You mentioned your son’s fine motor and visual processing issues, and those are definitely challenges when it comes to a complex motor task like shoe tying.  While he may be able to learn to do this independently at some point, he will need to work on underlying developmental milestones in those areas first.  Shoe tying requires a mastery of fine motor control, visual processing, cognitive sequencing, and many other skills we don’t even consciously think about.  If he’s not working with a professional who can help you identify the underlying issues he needs to work on, let me know and I’ll give you some additional support in that area.

As for immediate solutions, I’ve got a great one for you!  I recently came across a company called Lock Laces that makes inexpensive laces for regular shoes, but don’t require tying.  They use a patented elastic lacing system that you simply pull tight with a spring-activated locking device.  I’ve used them with many clients with great success.  They will allow your son (and any of your other kids) to independently “tie” his regular sneakers.  Lock Laces cost just a few dollars a pair, and you can get more information at their website here: http://www.locklaces.com.

Give them a try and let me know how they work out for you!


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Upcoming Events

Simple Solutions Seminar
November 17, 7-8:30PM via teleseminar
Don’t Forget About Me: Supporting Siblings of Children with Special Needs
Click here for more information.

November 12, 2011 from 10am-2pm
open to everyone
Click here for more information.


Autism Transformation for Families Audio Program

Transform Tough Days With Your Child Into Great Ones: Five Simple Steps to Better Communication, Behavior, and Relationships

More Information >>