Our Children: Differences in Learning

kids playingWhat May be Affecting Our Children & What Can We Do?

Is it an epidemic?  Why do so many children need additional support in the classroom and in their lives? Are we exposing our children to things that are causing their brains to function in a manner that is insufficient for our societal needs and expectations?


In talking with parents, I have noted an increasing number of children involved in therapies, assessments and/or diagnoses.

On the one hand, we could say that our ever-increasing ability to diagnose, analyze and assess, combined with our informed expectations around education, makes for more occurrences of parents seeking help for their children.

Although this is true, there is also mounting evidence and conversation that indicates otherwise.  It indicates that our children do indeed require more help and support to navigate their learning and their world.

So is there, in fact, a problem?

Let’s Take A Quick Look:

According to the US Department of Education, children receiving support for learning disabilities rose from 8.3% in 1977 to 13.2% in 2009 and attention issues are not included in this category.

According to a study conducted by the US Department of Health and Human Services in August 2011, the percentage of children aged 5 – 17 years ever diagnosed with ADHD increased from 7% in 1998-2000 to 9% in 2007 – 2009.

So there seems to be a growing trend.  Again, are we just better at diagnosing and providing services and/or are our expectations too high for our children? I would say that even if the answer is YES to either of these questions, isn’t any growing trend in this area too risky to ignore?  Don’t we, as parents, have to look at our children and determine what we can do to minimize these issues for them?

In order to do this, we must first look at what is influencing these trends and what we can do to minimize their impact on our children.
Possible Influences: From what I have read, I would say that the influences involve, well, EVERYTHING.
I recognize this is not too helpful.  Let’s carve this into segments to be more digestible.
The areas of concern involve what we feed our children, how we clean our homes & power them with technology, how we condition our children through scheduling, homework, and sleep routines, how we medicate & vaccinate, and even the community and spiritual relationships we build with and for our children. Okay, so everything, right?

Now what?

For me, the bottom line seemed to be to go live in the hinterlands, become a farmer and disconnect from everything.  Not too appealing for my family and me, so short of that, I decided to explore each category and determine what works for us, with a philosophy of continuous improvement.

In the area of nutrition, we are minimizing gluten, going raw, local, and organic for dairy & meats by utilizing a farmer’s market, going local & organic for fruits and vegetables whenever possible, incorporating several ‘outdated’ methods for cooking and limiting sugar wherever possible.

For cleaning products and landscaping, we are using natural and organic, and for medications, we use Chinese & western herbs before pursuing more ‘conventional’ methods & for vaccinations, we have a much different approach than the pediatric schedule.

We, as most parents do, have a strict bedtime, limit TV and computer time, and have the kids play outside whenever possible.  We also spend a lot of time outside ourselves so that helps too.

However, is all of this enough? Are we still adversely impacting our children even with all of these efforts?

I propose over the next handful of weeks to delve into each of these areas to determine ‘why do we care?’ and develop a good, better, best approach for each.

My typical approach to making changes in my family is that everything needs to fit into my back pocket.  It cannot be overly burdensome or too time-consuming to be incorporated into daily life.

So, let us begin…. let’s share our experiences and learn from each other.

Statistical Resources:

  1. National Center for Education Statistics

2.   Center for Disease Control (CDC)

So it Begins……Why Now?…

I was talking with friends last week and one of them mentioned that our children may be canaries in the coal mine and that we might, in fact, be poisoning ourselves with our lifestyles.  (Yes, it was a nice, upbeat conversation we were having near the beach).

This conversation prompted me to start the blog that I had been flirting with up to this point.  For more information about me and my complete lack of credentials in this area, read the About page.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read or share.  I am so frequently humbled by the love parents show for their child(ren).

Wishing you joy,