Tuesday, 6 August 2019

Nutrition for Adult Special Needs Individuals

The Benefits of Nutritional Counselling for Special Needs Adults 

I want to share something with you that really concerns me...

The nutritional needs of people with various disabilities is not a focus for most health care providers.  Because the disability is looked at as a physical or genetic problem, the connection is not made to nutrition.  In addition to this, some may think the individual is unable to comprehend health information or that it will be too difficult to apply.

However, the problem with this is it is not always the disability itself, but the comorbidities and secondary health conditions that affect quality of life and longevity!

People with disabilities suffer the very same consequences to their health as the rest of us when they eat a nutrient-poor diet.  Poor eating choices are the root cause of many secondary health conditions like diabetes, heart disease, constipation, GERD, high blood pressure, 'foggy brain', fatigue, obesity, susceptibility to infections and more. 

This is what I believe: everyone should have equal rights and equal access to health information and healthy food.  This is a foundation for living our best life.  But what I observe far too often, is we choose to eat what is easiest and most convenient.  Junk food tastes really good and without the proper support and guidance, a special needs adult is going to naturally choose poor quality food without knowing what the consequence of that choice is, leaving them over-fed and under-nourished.

Working with a qualified nutritionist can help. 

We offer simple information and motivational support to help those with special needs make better choices to improve symptoms for chronic health issues and to prevent new problems from arising.  I will personally always work with the individual to create a plan that considers their preferences to ensure better compliance.

A nutritionist will teach life skills with regards to:
- meal planning

·       - grocery shopping

·       - food preparation and cooking

·       - food storage

·       - healthy eating strategies, including proper chewing and eating slowly

·      -  portion control

·       - specific dietary recommendations for their unique needs 

As a caregiver/parent you are likely concerned about your loved one’s health, but maybe don’t know where to start or how to help.  A nutritionist will help to educate independent special needs adults and their caregivers in supporting their loved one in a way that doesn’t feel overwhelming or time consuming.

 written by Kim Banting, Holistic Nutritionist - BODiWORKS Institute


Wednesday, 12 June 2019

AGP - Review of the most powerful 1 hour spent in the week

There are so many options for our kids these days. When I say that I mean there are many ways to have your kids spend their time, whether its therapeutic, recreational, athletic, academic, lifestyle or just plain entertainment.  How many of us really analyze the percentages of where they spend their DEVELOPMENTAL time?

According to many developmental psychologists, "normal" development occurs on a continual slope towards eventual adulthood.  Well...we support the concept that discontinuity (changes do not occur continuously on a predictable timetable) which is more true for those with special needs. In particular for 'developmental delays' that require interventions which contribute to gradual changes which promote neuroplasticity.

For those with children who have particular disorders and special needs we know that developmental progress is the key to 'time spent in program's or with respite, or in therapy and in school.

As a provider of services and programs for special needs children and adults we find ourselves assessing, evaluating and improving our techniques and quality to enhance the development of those we service.

In particular our Adapted Gym Program (AGP) which began in 2002 with a few children; whom we wanted to provide some physical-emotional release and improve motor skills.  Little did we know that after a few years of effort, education and experience it would enhance the lives of so many children and teens!

The AGP is a actually a "designed process"It directly bridges the gap between recreation and therapy. ..If it were strictly recreation(such as sport or fitness class), then it would not be intense or individualized enough for intervention. If it were only therapy (such as OT or PT), then it would be not incorporate engaging fantasy for social connection or developmental interventions for motor skills or be fun.

Why is the AGP the most powerful hour in a week for child?
  •  Individualized and one on one 
  •  Instructors who are trained and ready to provide care
  •  It challenges social cues with the Instructor prompts and directedness
  •  Intervention of all individual motor skills - six core deficits identified
  •  Improves emotional dysregulation
...and some less tangible AGP observed benefits:
  •  Increases self-esteem
  •  Children have the freedom to enjoy the interactions
  •  Develops relationships with the Instructor who identifies with your child
  •  Comfortable non-judgemental environment
  •  Specifically designed space and equipment use.
"Attending all day school or part-time ABA sessions cannot provide this much focus and intensiveness in a short time.  AGP time well spent!"

As our practice origins were in brain and neurological injuries/disorders it seemed to make good sense to help intervene with those within the Autism spectrum and related disorders.  Over the years we have accumulated the most experience and information regarding ASD physical-emotional development than anyone in the field. To our knowledge we were the first in Canada to identify and demonstrate the core motor deficits in ASD's.

Always learning...

written by Mr.Corey Evans HBSc.
Executive Director, BODiWORKS Institute
Founder of the AGP, ETR & BBAIM


Thursday, 11 April 2019

Nutrition and ASD - A brief post & Seminar segment

On April 4th, we hosted an Educational Seminar at BODiWORKS Institute on the topic of Nutrition and Autism.  It was an in-depth look at the connection between gut health and brain function and we talked about the latest research involving probiotics and their benefit to symptoms and behaviours associated with ASD.

Probiotics and diet have been studied for some time because it is believed to be a potential, risk-free and effective treatment for autism.  The microbiome of people with ASD has fewer strains and species of microbes than neurotypical people. Those with autism tend to have more pathogenic microbes that beneficial, which is playing a big role in symptoms and behaviours.  Why is this happening?

1.      A disruption of the microbiome means that there are too many bad bacteria producing toxic waste in the gut and this impairs the gut lining.

2.      When the gut lining is impaired, bacteria can migrate into the lymph tissues.

3.      This activates an immune response and inflammatory chemicals are produced.

4.      These inflammatory chemicals open up the spaces between intestinal cells and this allows undigested food molecules and toxic metabolites from the bad bacteria to enter the blood stream and travel to the brain where they cause problems.

Most of the current diets that are recommended to people with autism restrict carbohydrates because carbs feed bacteria and allow them to multiply, further causing GI symptoms.  However, these carbs also feed our residential good bacteria, and by removing all of them, we are reducing total microbe counts, which helps with symptoms, but over the long term it isn’t helping to improve the condition of the gut.

In an ideal situation, we would be offering up a broad range of foods and nutrients that will help to improve gut health and function: probiotics, fermented foods and prebiotic foods along with other supporting nutrients that help to heal and repair damage to the gut lining.  

While this is great news, we also have to recognize that there are specific and unique issues that come with feeding someone with autism.  Working with a professional can greatly reduce the stress that comes along with making changes.  We can help you put a step-by-step plan in place that is right for your family.

                                                                                      Above is a short segment from the Seminar -                                                                                                    Nutrition and ASD
written by Kim Banting, Nutritionist
and the team at the BODiWORKS Institute