how-we-healed-dyslexia

HOW WE HEALED DYSLEXIA

I may receive a commission if you purchase through links in this post. I am not a doctor; please consult your practitioner before changing your supplement or healthcare regimen.

Is someone you love dyslexic?

A child’s inability to use both hemispheres of his brain, often manifesting itself in dyslexia, is a common side effect of the gut-brain connection, a failure in the gut’s overall health. This means that diet is a key piece in healing or helping someone with dyslexia.

My son is dyslexic and there are two awesome tools I’d love to share with you: 1) the GAPS Diet and 2) this book, the other key piece in healing:

BrainTherapyBook_Cropped

See this kiddo’s expression and body language? That’s no exaggeration. Total frustration. I saw it everyday until we got this book and implemented the exercises. Now my son has the breakthrough he needed and the tools to succeed at reading and writing.

THE DIET

We started the GAPS Diet 4 years ago, largely motivated by healing my son’s dyslexia.  His older sister practically taught herself to read and was devouring chapter book series repeatedly when she was 5. The stark contrast gave me pause.

On was no, won was now, 6 was 9 and so on.  And my son had NO inclination to want to learn to read.

Yet he was and is excellent at visual and auditory memory, learning that can be right-brain dominant. He excels at card games (he’s unbeatable at Memory), chess and can learn the lines to a song or movie after only hearing them once, repeating them back animatedly word-for-word.

So in one area this kind of kid is shockingly impressive and in other areas he is sadly lagging behind and must be caught up.

Enter my Step 1, four years ago: the GAPS Diet.

The Kids- when we started the GAPS Diet

The kids, when we started the GAPS Diet, ages 7, almost 2 and 9.

We went grain-free, sugar-free to help his gut heal, thus helping his brain.

According to the GAPS Diet’s founder, Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, when the body can’t digest and absorb food properly it leads to nutritional deficiencies that affect brain function.

In someone who is right-brain dominant and specifically dyslexic there are connections between the left brain and the right brain that aren’t being made.  Short term memory input, such as the alphabet or a word being introduced, does not get stored in long term memory.  No amount of drilling affects this breakdown of function.

What kids with right-brain dominance do really well is store pictorial images in the right brain. I remember all the years of reading books to our son and how he’d notice things in pictures that no one else would and make startling insights accordingly. What a fun kid to have by my side.

I thought his astute observations would one day translate to his recognition of letter shapes.  But it turns out that color and more object-oriented pictures were needed for his brain to store an image.

Enter Step 2: Dianne Craft and her insights about how to change the brain’s process so it would store the short term memory information.

THE BOOK

Dianne Craft, the author educator who spent 30 years working with kids similar to my son, understands all of this from a brain function standpoint.  She evolved her therapies during her years of working with kids, making observations and meeting their needs to accomplish progress and healing in them.

In those days, students with learning disabilities, even small ones, were sent out of the main classroom to meet with a specialist several times a week. This was Dianne Craft’s position in her school. She was the specialist who met with kids, from elementary to high school age, who were behind in reading.

I read as much as I could on the Dianne Craft website before ordering some of the materials. They’re not overpriced but they are expensive; so I first bought four items and then in receiving them, and liking them, saw I needed two more. Those final two ordered ended up being the most important.

Here’s where it gets exciting. Craft tells a brief story about a mother who implemented the physical exercises (outlined in one of the books) with her son and who, a few months later, saw her son’s basketball game improve markedly.

I believed this testimony and put my hope in it. My son, like the woman’s son in the story, loved basketball; but it seemed his brain was holding him back. He was timid on the court and his eye-hand coordination was impairing his will to succeed.

When our son and I started the physical exercises, laid out in Craft’s book, there were tears. One of the exercises is physically awkward (you have to hold your ear against your shoulder and do a sweeping figure 8 motion with your arm;) and it takes dedication to stick with it.  It almost feels demeaning, especially if anyone is watching who isn’t your mom.

I told our son, one day, about the boy’s basketball game, hoping it would inspire and encourage him.  And just as I believed Craft’s story, our son believed my retelling of it.

It gave him motivation. From that day forward he was driven and determined to do that exercise; and he got good at it. So it no longer felt awkward.

Eye-hand coordination

As I took this photo I heard from the coach, “If Bedford [our son’s name] laps you guys, you’re all going to run an extra lap!” And he did lap them, dribbling around the perimeter of the court. That’s him on the left, working HARD and succeeding with eye-hand-brain coordination. You might notice, he is left-handed? This is actually common among dyslexic kids and those with gut dysbiosis! It reflects his right-brain dominance and his development even in the womb.

It is hard to share a mother’s pride, especially when healing occurs. But I am a tearful lady about the transformation that indeed took place. Craft was telling the truth and all our daily hard work paid off.  Our son and I both stand in awe of his progress on the basketball court.

In general, I like to observe how different mothers experience their children’s success or struggle in sports. We innately want our kids to do well but it isn’t socially polite to get too excited, because we are really rooting for their moral development and not wanting to exalt physical excellence in our society over effort or moral fiber. And yet, this mama is sitting in the bleachers swelling with happy thankfulness as I see my son succeeding physically, especially because I know he earned it, day in, day out, with hard work.

What about his reading?

He is doing wonderfully. And his writing!

As Craft lays out, these right-brain, sometimes dyslexic learners, will vary slightly from one another in their processing of data. Some have auditory limitations. Some struggle with verbal expression or organizational issues.

The book I have pictured above, Brain Integration Therapy Manual, includes diagnostic exercises so you can see where your child’s limitations lie and then focus accordingly with the exercises that correspond.

Regarding auditory skills, this is one area in which dyslexic children often need extra attention.  If this is the case with your child Craft has exercises that help with back-to-front processing in the brain, meaning the back receptive part of the brain with the front expressive part.

She also addresses kids that aren’t very verbal; the exercises help kids become more expressive.

Craft’s body activities additionally help integrate the top and bottom parts of the brain, targeting kids who struggle with disorganization and messiness.

Lastly, and this one applied very much to our own situation, many right-brain dominant kids have trouble writing. This is called dysgraphia.

Part of the reason I loved Craft’s material when I found it was she opened my eyes to this struggle in our son.  She put a name to what I observed every day.  He hated writing. It brought him to tears. He didn’t mind learning cursive but having to write sentences that required composition or original thought was like being asked to do something preposterous; it was like a horrible, irrational request was being made of him. Poor guy!

how-we-healed-dyslexia-2

So when I read Craft’s description of this phenomenon and her name for it, I was encouraged. There was an answer, a method, a treatment, that would help our son out of the fearful, struggling place in which he existed.

Also, when our son saw this curriculum that was just for him, that thousands of kids before him had used, I think he began to know for the first time that he wasn’t “stupid.” Struggling students notice, of course, that they’re behind in certain subjects and, as Craft corroborates, they don’t “understand that it is just an integration problem.”  The curriculum shows photos of even high school kids doing these exercises. Our son began to see how “normal” his problem was and that we could fix it.  He became less emotional when he struggled; and, of course, we’ve seen impressive, measurable improvement since we started using Craft’s books and methods.

Well, the rest of the story is each of ours.

I will press forward with the path laid out before us; and our son, God-willing, will keep improving in his abilities to read, write, spell and compose at grade-level.

I hope this diet and curriculum review will help you, too, as you metaphorically hold hands with your kiddo, guiding them to a better way of processing, storing and conveying information.

Here’s the link to the book I most recommend, although there are other materials on the site you might find helpful as well. Perhaps it goes without saying but I don’t know Dianne Craft or benefit in any way if you purchase this book. It’s just mama love, sharing with you what’s worked for me and hoping it will help you too.

 

Comments 29

  1. We did this too. I have 4 dyslexic kids. All boys. LindaMoodBell was a lifesaver since they were unable to read. We did more therapies than you can think of including brain integration therapy.

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      1. I am Dyslexic. I am 28 years old and I struggled at school because of the way our society chooses to pass on information (words and text). I struggled because my brain isn’t equipped to process information in this way – simple! Its not because I need to be ‘healed’. Your post made me incredibly upset, no child with the gift of dyslexia needs ‘healing’ nor can someone be healed from dyslexia. A good diet is just common sense, and every child would benefit and show signs of improved cognitive function from a good diet.

        Teachers at school tried to ‘heal’ me and make me ‘fit-in’, so much so I dropped out of school with resentment for education at age 13. I later went on to work full time in a number of jobs until I was age 17, at this point I had decided to return to vocational studies, studying engineering. I was fascinated by engineering and studied day and night for 7 years until I achieved my 1st class Masters degree in Engineering. No healing needed, just a subject my dyslexic brain could handle.

        I now earn a 6 figure salary upwards and live in New York and have worked on projects all over the world. I still can’t spell properly and I still can’t read too well either, but who cares. I can communicate in sketches and with numbers.

        Every child should be encouraged to do what they love, and they will succeed. Telling a child they are being healed is wrong.

        If you judged a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it would spend its whole life believing it was stupid.

        This article has a good heart and intention, but it’s totally a load of BS.

        1. At James. I love your inspirational story. We are all unique and a different piece of this worlds puzzle, we just need to find our ideal fit. I agree, the article has good merit and holistic living should be a general focus of the human kind to enable our biological. intellectual and physical self to operate at peaks levels. I recently had a rather frantic mom wanting help with her ‘dyslexic’ daughter and am going to share your story with her and then walk a road with her daughter to encourage self-belief, healthy lifestyle and focus for her uniqueness. Take care and happy contributing to the world around you.

  2. Thank you for sharing this. I love that GAPS was used for healing … it’s amazing how healing a diet can be. Sounds like a wonderful book too. Thanks for the resource.

  3. Looks like I need to set some time aside to better understand GAPS. It keeps coming up (or maybe I’m paying more attention to it) because a friend asked for some resources. Do you have a post that breaks down the diet ‘how-to’? Thanks!

  4. This is wonderful! It is so great to hear the success you have had. I will be saving this for if anyone asks me about dyslexia.

  5. My son -WAS- Dyslexic. And we have been on GAPS diet for 6-7 months, had Neurofeedback and he plays basketball for 2-3 years. Now, he does not have any allergies, and he is very good at school. We have overcome that problem as well. Good to hear that other moms are on the same track. I am doing my PhD on this area. am happy to share info.

    1. This is GREAT to hear!! Thanks so much for sharing your story! I’m glad, too, that you found a good Neurofeedback practitioner! Awesome about your PhD! Blessings and yes, please share anything you feel would benefit. 🙂 Cheers!

      1. Dear Megane, I am also so glad to meet a responsible mother like you, and am happy to see we have done similar things. I became my own Neurofeedback practitioner! GAPS diet is great, but you know it takes a while for the body to recover (like 1 year or so). Meantime it is good to have NF, and it also works. Now, I am doing my PhD how to make Neurofeedback easily used with simple head gadget and mobile applications. Because, I had to leave my career to learn Neurofeedback and GAPS diet and look after my son and the cost of doing that was too high. There are so many people out there who can not do it. and I am hoping to help them. and your work and web site is very much appreciated to cook different meals according to GAPS diet…

        1. I wondered if you would say that!~ that you learned NF yourself! I’ll love to see the work you do. How awesome to make that kind of learning and knowledge available to more moms…!!

          1. Thank you for your support Megan. You must know the feeling we all faced, when we discover our kid’s situation and not finding any instant and easy solution…and blamed ourselves… it took me too much time to learn and apply these…and more moms should know and apply both GAPS and NF

            1. I really need help with my 9 yr old. She has dyslexia and bad working memory so aight words etc are tough. Very inconsistent. I myself have gut issues and idiopathic chronic hives. I want to do the GAPs diet but don’t know how to start and keep it going for a long time? Also what therapy is best to do? Does this book help?

              1. Yes Angie, GAPS diet helps. But you need to change your life style and adapt to it for the rest of your life. When you start it, it seems very difficult, but keep your faith. Start with eating meat stock for 2 weeks. I have been on GAPS diet for more than 4 years now, if you look at my pictures, you would see how I have changed , renewed and look much younger dramatically. I also suggest you should use neurofeedback. Please check out http://www.autotrainbrain.com. You can apply neurofeedback at home. I have also tried that and it has helped a lot. Keep your faith. It works. All the best,Gunet Eroglu. please reach me at [email protected].

      1. Dear Tina, I have learned and applied NF to myself and then to my son when he was 9. His grades were around 65-70 over 100 before that, and after 2 months his grades jumped to 85 over 100 and above. After 2 years of that, I have discovered GAPS diet, and it also increased his success. Now, I am developing an app for dyslexia based on NF. please visit http://www.autobraintrain.com. You need to find a good therapist for doing that, check their references, and make sure they have license and cured dyslexic people beforehand.

  6. Hi, Megan. My son is 10 and is dyslexic. He also has very dry skin and exsema on his hands, itching of the hear, and is very “easy crying”. A month ago we first heard for GAPS and I’d like to start the diet. Did you started with the introduction diet or the full GAPS diet? How did your children react to your decision for “no sugar, nor grain”. How long did it take to your son to see some results like reading better, easely writing or better coordination at sports.

    1. Hi Yanka, thanks for your questions. We started on the Introduction Diet. It is a powerful stage for healing. But we added things like bacon fat to the soups to make them more satisfying, the first time around. It was very hard the first time (we did Intro twice), but doable. We ALL did the diet, so there was commiseration, and we were in it together. The children complained, but they knew the decision was firm. We focused on bonding and loving them well: reading aloud to them, outdoor time, lots of happy family stuff, to help. The process of healing was slow. We also did the physical work I mention above, from Diane Craft. Sports improvement took years. Our son is still different than other kids in so many ways: how he learns to spell, his approach to writing essays etc. But the difference is profound. I expect you would see certain improvements immediately and others will take longer. I also recommend methods of detoxification to assist the process- like being in a sunny climate, swimming in the ocean, dry brushing, detox baths, asking a practitioner to help you with homeopathics and/or B vitamins etc. Many blessings. The GAPS Diet is well worth the effort it takes. Hugs!

      1. Thanks a lot, Megan. Your story inspired me very much. We live in Bulgaria, Europe. The climate is very hot in summer, we use to swim in sea every weekend then. And I really see the kid feels better. But its winter now, cold but dry. Plus difficulties in school all this reflects to his skin. Today I did our first bone broth. The taste was quite “fatty” for me, so I added some winter sqwash and called it soup. My son tasted it and said it’s all right. So we will try the diet. Wish me good luck.

        1. Yes, I do wish you good luck!!! You did perfectly!: blending in winter squash with fatty broth is perfect! Fresh or dried herbs, and sea salt are also great and helpful! As are fresh ginger at times and/or black pepper.

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