Childcare and You

Childcare and You

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

how to make GFCF food for your child with autism

It is a growing claim that GFCF (gluten-free, casein-free) diet given to children with autism has shown positive results in their overall behavior. Though there has not been any conclusive evidence, most parents have seen definite improvements in social behavior, speech and disposition after the child was put on GFCF diet.

GFCF diet is a wheat-free diet. Gluten is present as protein in barley, wheat, rye, malt, semolina, soy sauce, certain vinegars, flavorings and artificial colors. Casein is present as protein in milk and other dairy products like butter, cheese, yogurt, whey and ice-cream.

According to certain studies in the US, foods with gluten and casein are not easily digested by children with autism on account of which their body produces substances that induces apathy and dullness in them. These substances significantly change the child’s behavioral patterns, responses, perceptions and reactions to a given environment.

In order to combat this behavioral disorder, you can start your child on a GFCF diet to find out if it will work. You should consult with your child’s doctor to get a specialized opinion before changing the diet. It is found that it will take from 4 to 6 months for your child’s body to be totally free of gluten and casein, before you start noticing the difference. While shopping for GFCF foods at supermarkets, read the list of ingredients carefully to ensure that they are what they claim to be.

Some GFCG foods are buckwheat flour, rice, potato, tapioca, corn, soy, quinoa, amaranth, fruits, vegetables, meats, poultry, shellfish, fish, nuts, eggs and beans. 

Here are a few delicious GFCF soups & stew that your child will surely love.

GFCF baked potato and bacon soup

4 pounds potatoes, 6 bacon slices, 3 cups of chopped onions, 4 minced garlic cloves, 1 bay leaf, 6 cups of 1% low fat milk, ¾  tsp salt, ½ tsp black pepper, 2 cups of chicken broth (fat free & less sodium), 1 cup of shredded less-fat cheddar cheese, chopped parsley(optional)

Preheat oven at 400 degrees. Bake potatoes for an hour or till it turns tender. Mash it partially with the skin and set aside. Cook bacon over medium heat till it becomes crisp and then crumble. Add chopped onions to it and sauté for a few minutes. Add bay leaf, garlic and salt and sauté again. Add mashed potato, milk, pepper and chicken broth and boil. Turn the heat down and simmer for 10 minutes. Garnish with parsley and cheese and serve.

Curried lamb and lentil soup

1 pound of lean leg of lamb, ½ cup onion & celery chopped, 2 cloves of garlic minced, 1 tbsp, curry powder, 1 tsp cumin powder, 1/8 tsp red pepper powder, 2 cups of chicken broth (low-salt), ¾ cup lentils, 2 finely chopped tomatoes, 3 cups chopped spinach or collards, ½ cup chopped carrot, 2 tbsp fresh cilantro chopped.

Remove fat from lamb and cut into 1 inch cubes and keep aside. Heat oil in a pan & sauté onion, garlic and celery for a couple of minutes. Mix in lamb and sauté until brown. Add curry, pepper, cumin powder and stir well. Add tomatoes, lentils and chicken broth and boil. Turn down heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Add spinach and carrots and simmer until lamb is tender. Turn off heat and garnish with chopped cilantro. Serve hot.

Mussels stew

1 pound of mussels, cleaned, 1 pound whitefish fillet cut into large cubes, ½ cup minced onions, ½ cup finely chopped red bell pepper, 2 large finely diced tomatoes, ½ tsp salt & dried basil, ¼ tsp black pepper, 2 minced garlic cloves, 1 bay leaf, ½ cup dry white wine & 2 tbsps chopped parsley.

Heat oil in a pan and cook onions & bell pepper for a 5 minutes. Add all other ingredients, except mussels & whitefish and simmer stirring for 5 minutes. Add whitefish and mussels on top and cook covered for 10 minutes. Gently shake the pan to stir without lifting the cover. Throw unopened shells and garnish with parsley. Serve hot.  

how to make tasty treats to make your child's immune system strong

Iron, calcium, proteins and carbohydrates are a must in your child’s diet. A strong immune system will help your child’s natural defense system to fight any disease. But knowing how picky children are, it is a herculean task to prepare snacks that will interest them. Most children love granola bars. But you can make them at home without the inevitable preservatives that supermarket granolas have.

Here’s a recipe of granola bar made out of walnuts, cashew nuts, almonds & peanuts

100 grams of peanuts, walnuts, cashew nuts, almonds, 350 grams sugar and honey, 1 tbsp saunf (fennel seeds), 2 tbsp butter, 125 ml water, 1 tsp grated lemon rind and 1 tsp soda-bicarbonate.

 Method: Mix & warm all nuts & fennel seeds.  Mix sugar, honey and water in a bowl and heat it over medium flame and boil it. Cook it till the sugar turns syrupy & thick. Add in the nuts & fennel seeds. Stir well, remove from flame and add grated lemon rind and baking soda to it. Pour the mixture into a greased baking tin. Cool off, cut into cubes and serve. Store it in an air tight container by separately the layers with butter paper.

how to strengthen your child's immunity naturally

Most children suffer from respiratory tract ailments like cold, cough, sinusitis, wheezing, tonsils, adenoids, sore throat and mucous congestion. These are contracted from air-borne viruses and hence it is inevitable for children to catch them anytime. If you administer your child with strong antibiotics to fight the disease instead of letting the child’s immune system fight it naturally, your child will succumb easily to any minor ailment and the immune system will weaken in the long run.

Antibiotics keep the disease at bay only for a short period before another disease comes along and inflicts your child. Therefore it is important to boost your child’s immunity in order to fight diseases. You should lay the foundation for a strong immunity at birth with breastfeeding and nourishing food. Excessive molly coddling can render children weak and helpless. Their immunity will develop and get strengthened if they are exposed to germs or sickness. Even if they succumb to ailments, their strong immunity will ensure their speedy recovery too.

Exposure to germs is a part of life and you must not try to make your child ‘germ-proof’. Childhood diseases like mumps, measles, rubella, chickenpox and bronchitis can be fended off if your child’s immunity is strong. There are many nourishing foods rich in iron, proteins and vitamins that you must feed your child to make his immunity strong. Children are picky by nature but if the food is tasty, it might perk their interest.
Given below is a recipe of a tasty snack made from almonds (badam), sesame seeds (til) and soyabean.

Almond sesame granola
½ cup of black sesame seeds, ½ cup of almonds, cut thinly, 1/3 cup of jaggery, grated (unrefined sugar available in an Indian store), & 1½ tsp ghee (clarified butter)
Roast sesame seeds and almonds separately on a medium flame until they turn golden. Keep it aside to cool off.
Grease a flat dish with ½ tsp ghee and keep aside.
Heat 1 tsp of ghee in a pan and add the jaggery.
Melt the jaggery over a slow flame and caramelize it until done. (Add a drop of the jaggery mixture in a bowl of cold water. If it turns into a hard ball, you know it is caramelized).
Turn off the flame and add the roasted almonds and sesame seeds into the jaggery mixture and mix well.
Pour the entire mixture onto the greased dish, spread it smoothly with a ladle and leave it to cool. Later cut into cubes and serve.
This nutritious snack is rich in iron and calcium and will strengthen their bones and teeth.

Read my article,-Mom,-Can-I-Have-Some-More?&id=6764885 

Watch the video below to see two awesome recipes made out of Finger Millet flour or Ragi. Finger Millet is extremely rich in iron, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus and beneficial to fulfill your child's nutritional requirements.

Here's another video showing "how to make ragi pancakes"

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

natural home remedies for your child's ailments

When your child gets sick, you tend to panic and rush to the doctor first. Alternately, you rummage through your stock of medicines at home and take on the role of a self appointed doctor temporarily. But it is not recommended to medicate your child unnecessarily, especially when there is every possibility that the ailment could disappear after a couple of days. 

Your kitchen is veritable storehouse of natural ingredients for any ailments your child may have and all you need is a little knowledge on how make an appropriate concoction that is totally free of any side effects. Synthetic drugs are harmful, especially if administered to children at an early age, so start on natural remedies to boost your child’s immune system.

Cough and cold is the most common ailment that children suffer from most of the time. Runny nose, mucus secretion and an irritable throat are common symptoms. 

Juices of citrus fruits like grapefruits, sweet limes, oranges, strawberries and lemons, that are rich in vitamin C are very effective in improving your child’s immunity and resistance to diseases. 
Drink a glass of lemon juice in warm water with a teaspoon of honey, twice a day for 3 days.

A tsp of turmeric powder (haldi), ¼ tsp roasted ajwain (carom seeds) and a pinch of sugar, added in a glass of warm milk and taken before going to bed for a week, will cure your child’s cough and sore throat in a few days. 

Boil 10 grams of finely chopped ginger in a cup of water and a pinch of sugar. Strain and drink it hot
Garlic will boost your child’s immunity greatly. Chop 2-3 cloves garlic and take it in with water. Use it raw in salads, soups and stews. 
Make garlic vegetable soup thickened with oats and vegetables, to strengthen your child.

Heat 1 tsp oil in a pan and sauté ¼ cup chopped onions and 2 tsp chopped garlic, lightly. Add 1 cup of chopped carrots, French beans, cauliflower, baby corn & peas and sauté again. Add 2 cups of water, salt & pepper to taste. Bring it to a boil till the veggies are tender. Add 2 tablespoon rolled oats and simmer for a few more minutes till the soup thickens. Garnish with parsley & serve hot.  
Here is a recipe to make fresh herbal tea to chase your child's cold, fever and sore throat.

Grind ¼ cup chopped mint (pudina), 1” piece chopped or grated ginger, ¼ cup basil (tulsi) leaves in a blender, add 1 ½ cups water and boil it for 4 to 6 minutes. Strain, add honey and drink hot. 

If your child loves meat, you can make a nutritious chicken broth to give him extra strength to fight disease. Here's a chicken soup' recipe for colds
4 cups of chopped chicken with bones, 2 medium sized onions quartered, 1 cup mashed potatoes, 1 cup grated carrots,½ tsp pepper, 2 tbsp celery, 1 tbsp parsley, 3 cloves minced, 1 tsp minced garlic, 1 bay leaf, ¼ tsp thyme, 1 tsp butter, Salt to taste.

Put the chicken pieces in a pot and cover it with enough water. After it boils, simmer for another 1/2  hour. Remove from heat and discard the bones & skin. Add the onion, cloves, bay leaf, thyme, garlic and pepper and simmer for an hour. Meanwhile, melt butter in a pan and saute celery, carrots and parsley for a few minutes. Add this to the soup along with the mashed potatoes. Add salt as needed. Mix well and cook for some more time. Remove from heat and serve hot.

Other remedial measures to be taken are 

Make your child take a lot of rest. Rest will save his body energy to fight the infection. Allow him to watch his favorite show or color his drawing book.
Use the ‘steaming method’ (humidifier) with a few drops of eucalyptus oil or menthol added to it, in order to clear your child’s chest of mucus or give him a bath in a steamy bathroom.
Put a couple of drops of saline solution (boil & cool 3 ounces of water with ¼ tsp salt added to it) into your child’s nose to clear the mucus.
Give him plenty of water and other fluids to drink. It is important to keep the body hydrated in order to expel phlegm and mucus.
Make him sleep with his head elevated a bit, by propping him on extra pillows. An elevated head will allow your child to breathe more easily.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Dr Tomatis therapy to stimulate auditory function in children with autism

Dr. Tomatis is an ENT specialist who spent years researching the importance of the ears as a vital sensory control system. He surmised and proved that ears absorbs all sensory inputs, helps brain in evaluating the inputs and transmitting it accurately to your body. Your eyes can see and your voice can produce only if your ear is able to perceive correctly. Thus, the ear-communication nexus starts in your womb.

It is on record that Tomatis therapy for a child with autism, aims at stimulating certain sections of the brain that is inactive. In other words, it turns on part of the brain that is turned off, in order to kick start the brain.

Children with autism use their left side to listen and Tomatis therapy tries to change that to make them use the right side because a bulk of our auditory functions like listening, processing, timely response, cognition, analyzing and others are performed speedily when you are predominantly a right side listener.

What is the duration of tomatis therapy

If you click on the link below, you will get complete detail of the therapy and its benefits. This program will help your child improve his gross and fine motor skills, auditory and sensory disorders and perceptible stimulation.

when is autism detected?

Right from the time your baby is born till the age of 5, your child should be capable of performing most of the physical and mental activities that develops his fine motor skills and gross motor skills. With a completion of a year, your child reaches a specific development milestone during his growing period. He learns to speak, act, play, walk, run, skip, jump, bend etc., and a delay in performing these activities, could indicate a development deficiency or other disorders like autism. Detecting it and treating it as early as possible can turn the tide in helping your child to lead a normal life.

Every child has their own pace of learning motor skills and it is up to you to identify your child’s ability and speed to pick up motor skills. I have given below some useful links that describes the different development milestones in your child’s life and help you detect early signs of autism, if you find your child slightly different than usual.
If your child has development issues, contact a specialist or pediatrician and get down to relevant therapy treatment or medication, right away. 

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Saturday, November 19, 2011

how to develop gross motor skills in an autistic child

Gross motor skills use large body muscles for larger movements like jumping, running, walking, skipping, hopping etc. With the development of gross motor skills, other subtle skills like hand-foot-eye co-ordination, sensory functions of touch, smell, visual and auditory, self esteem, confidence and interacting skills also develop alongside. Not all children with autism lack gross motor skills. Some are wiry and quite quick on their feet while others are unable to even balance on their feet and the reasons generally are;

·         Preoccupation
·         De-motivation
·         Behavioral issues
·         Obsessive disorders
·         Hatred of touch, smells, noises and light
·         Unpredictability
·         Poor muscle strength
·         Poor discerning skills

You can develop your child’s gross motor skills with appropriate physical activities, lots of patience, support and love, depending on your child’s level of development. In order to derive maximum benefit and success, as well as be assured of your child’s involvement without fear, anxiety or anger, it is necessary to remain positive, focused, tolerant and exceedingly encouraging and supportive.

Usually children with autism dislike an element of surprise in anything. They like to be prepared as the unexpected fill them with dread or shock. You should be able to build their confidence and remove their inherent fear of touch or movement in their motor skill activities. Grade the activities in order of least threatening and slowly raise the level and intensity of activities, bearing in mind your child’s level of development. Click on the link below for a list of fun-filled activities to help build your child’s confidence and gross motor skills.

How to turn therapy for autism into a fun and creative session

Your baby is your bundle of joy and you want to believe it is perfect in every way. But when your baby turns a year old and you realize that your baby is not doing several things that 1 yr olds usually do, you need to call on a child development specialist, in order to examine your baby for autism.

Detecting autism or any other development disorders, as early as eighteen months in your child, is of paramount importance as its early treatment will curtail its growth and reduce related development issues. Even if you have not been successful in diagnosing autism early in your child, do not despair. Therapies and other forms of treatment will most certainly minimize its effects and teach your child how to lead fulfilling lives in your world that is as alien to him as his world is to you.

Even though a cure for autism has not been properly established, there are several kinds of therapies that can be effectively applied to help manage and control symptoms, teach behavioral and social skills and sometimes even cure your child of autism. You can select one or more treatments, depending on the nature of your child’s problem. I have added some very good links below that will give you tips on how to add fun into a therapy session.

Recreational and Artistic Therapies for autism
·         Music Therapy for Autism
·         Art Therapy for Autism
·         Drama Therapy for Autism

Above all these treatments, an autistic child needs your love, care and attention just like any other child. Watch your child bloom under your love and learn to manage his uncontrollable urges and impulses.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

develop gross motor skills in your child with physical activities

A motor skill involves using your body muscles to perform any action. Fine motor skills involve using your fingers to perform smaller actions like picking up objects and putting them in your mouth to feel and taste them. Gross motor skills are performed by using larger muscles of your arms, legs and feet for larger movements like crawling, walking, running and jumping.

At age 3 and above, your child must be given ample opportunities to hone up gross motor skills, in order to develop mental and physical health. At this age, children are bursting with the need to explore all over, after learning to use their arms, legs and their trunk to run, jump, kick, throw, catch, bend and squat. There are several choices to develop their gross motor skills like
·         Light dancing freestyle to nursery rhymes
·         Balancing on a low straight plank or homemade beam or walking on piece of twine/tape at home.
·         Walking, skipping, hopping and jogging around your home, park or the neighborhood or alternately play hide and go seek to make it lively.
·         Swimming and other water games
·         Playing pretend where kids imitate other animals and birds like kangaroos, monkeys, waddling ducks, horses galloping, flying planes etc.
·         Riding on tricycles and other ride-on toys. Take them to supermarkets to push shopping carts.
·         Playing games like follow the leader, Simon says, musical chairs.
·         Playing on swings, slides and ball pools.

Development of fine motor skills in preschoolers

As a concerned parent, you want to ensure that your child’s fine motor skills are well developed and to achieve that, you can surely do your bit in developing it. Your child’s fine motor skills are developed when the small finger muscles are in coordination with the eye movements.

Be patient, tolerant and understanding with your child when teaching ways to improve fine motor skills. As an adult, try to view things from your child’s perspective and understand that developing find motor skills require practice and a lot of time.

Don’t forget that motor skills are to be developed over a period of time and that your child is not supposed to automatically know them. The faster your child hones up his fine motor skills, the quicker he will start to read and write. 
Development of fine motor skills varies with children. Some pick it up quickly while some other takes time. It is not unusual for children to struggle a little to master some fine motor skills but if your child lags behind considerably than his peers in several aspects of motor development or if there is regression of motor skills acquired earlier, then you must get medical help.

activities to improve your child's motor skill

Encouraging your child to do simple physical activity is an excellent way to enhance physical growth as well as improve the functional use of hands and legs. Make your child do daily activities like tying shoe laces, buckling up belts and unbuckling them, zipping up and down, buttoning and unbuttoning clothes, picking up objects, holding them and squeezing them, using scissors, turning book pages, gripping pencils, drawing, coloring, clay modelling using clay or dough, screwing, unscrewing and many other similar activities that involves the hand, fingers and eyes, as these activities will improve hand and eye co-ordination as well. It is important to start these activities as soon as your child is able to toddle around, as these muscles are going to be used for the entire period of his life.