Stanislava Churinskiene is a clinical psychologist, specializing in the USA, at Smith College. He is a supporter of the biochemical method for helping children with developmental problems, in parallel with psychological and speech therapy help. She has successfully applied it to her son, as well as to many other children whose parents turn to the Every Word Early Intervention Center. According to World He alth Organization statistics, one in 70 children in the world is diagnosed with a developmental problem
Ms. Churinskiene, what should alert parents that their child has developmental problems?
- Child development is predictable, almost the same for all children. Well-meaning pediatricians and grandmothers who don't want to worry parents say that each child develops at its own pace. But that's a myth, it's just not true. At 1 month, the child should straighten his head, at 4 months he should reach for objects, around 6-7 months he should sit, by 10 months he should start crawling. Almost all children who come to our office for a consultation have missed the crawling stage.
The first alarming symptom is that the child does not raise his head, that he is lethargic and limp. If he keeps his hands tightly curled into fists next to his body - that's
a sign of increased muscle tone,
who points on the trail of a problem. If the child cries inconsolably continuously, without being hungry and without a wet diaper, it is also a signal of a developmental problem. It should be observed whether he responds to the parent's voice, whether he smiles at him, and whether he cries when the parent leaves the room. Most alarming is the lack of crawling and slurred speech - repeating syllables around 6-7 months. A serious symptom of developmental problems is if the child does not point to objects after the first year.
Indeed, children speak later and later, but at 1, 5 years old it is good for words to appear according to purpose and by 2 years old to be able to connect two words in a sentence.
It is also important for the parent to monitor feeding reactions - whether the child is allergic to cow's milk protein, to casein, to gluten, whether he suddenly refuses food and eats only 1-2 things. When several symptoms accumulate, measures must be taken. Already in the first year, things become clear, with the exception of the disease Red Syndrome, in which the reverse development occurs after a year and a half.
Is it possible to seek help from a specialist even at the age of 6 months?
- Yes. Things may be clear earlier. The baby may have a developmental problem if the mother has been lying down for a long time to maintain the pregnancy, if she has not become pregnant for a long time, if she gained a lot of weight in the last trimester of pregnancy, if the birth has many contractions or was difficult or was premature if there is a chronic disease - especially thyroid, diabetes and high blood pressure.
Who should parents turn to for help?
- I have immense respect for Bulgarian doctors. I lived in Belgium for 5 years and I had to use medical help - I give 10 Belgian doctors for 1 Bulgarian. But especially for what is happening lately with our children, our doctors are not prepared.
The number of children with autism is growing exponentially
and with any other developmental issues. Parents should seek child development specialists first. Every child psychologist, at a later stage - a speech therapist, should evaluate the child's development, but not give a diagnosis. It is best to start with an examination by a neurologist. In many cases, neurologists are limited in their field, and children's problems are metabolic - they don't absorb certain nutrients in the right way. Unfortunately, the parent has to be the coordinator of their own child's case and ensure an examination by a personal physician, a neurologist, a child development specialist, a gastroenterologist, and an allergist.
What is not known by most of our specialists?
- That developmental problems are not mystical conditions, but always have a physiological expression. My son was very late in standing up, crawling, walking, first words. The cause of its development problems was an overload of heavy metals, specifically a very high level of copper and low zinc.
This is the usual case in most hyperactive and speech-deficient children. Even if he solves puzzles and knits pasta with a psychologist, it won't help him much if he doesn't get rid of heavy metals. In children with autism, with cerebral palsy or simple developmental dysphasia, biochemical methods should be started. The earlier the problem is discovered and started to be solved, the bigger it is
the chance of absolute recovery
If the parent is late, the effect is not as complete and takes longer. Biochemical support should be started as soon as possible.
Explain what this biochemical support is?
- Helping the disturbed child's organism to start functioning normally. For example, through vitamins, minerals, nutritional supplements, neurotransmitters, probiotics. The biochemical approach is evidence-based. The biochemical therapist runs the tests to find the cause of the imbalance in the child's organism. Some of the tests are quite exotic, such as the level of cryptopyrrole or histamine in the blood, which gives insight into methylation. In our office, I work with Dr. Milena Kotseva, who is an expert in drug safety and consults with the American "Walsh Research Institute" on biochemical support for children with developmental problems.
When the child lags behind in height and weight, and his head seems smaller for his age, against the background of classic autistic behavior, a disorder in the absorption of vitamin B12 and folate can be detected. Sometimes the clinical picture is complicated by the fact that the total level of these vitamins in the body is normal, but there is a deficiency only in the brain, also known as "cerebral folate deficiency". It is established by examination of cerebrospinal fluid obtained through a lumbar (spinal) puncture. To avoid the distressing procedure, children can be tested for a short time on large doses of folate and see if there is a positive response.
When a blood test comes out like my son's - low level of zinc and high copper, a complex of nutrients is made, a cocktail of 12 amino acids and vitamin B6 in its active form.
Usually if children do not speak, neurologists say: "Give nootropil to stimulate the brain". OK, but without clearing the root cause of brain loading - heavy metals, nootropil won't help. There is a reason for the accumulation of heavy metals. People say the vaccines, the vaccines. Yes, but many children have no problems. However, the fact is that about
15% of children are born
without the body's ability to clear heavy metals.
This may be due to impaired methylation (adding methyl groups to atoms or molecules in the body). Methylation of mercury or other toxic metals is essential to remove them from the body and reduce their amount in the blood and tissues. First, methylation and heavy metal therapy is done, and finally the brain is stimulated. And not immediately fry the child's brain with nootropil, as unfortunately I did with my son at the beginning.
What helped your son the most?
- Pressurized oxygen therapy. It is perhaps the best kept secret in the therapy of child development problems in Europe, while in the USA it is part of the standard therapy protocols. If nothing else helps, the pressure chamber helps, because there is certainly a local oxygen deficiency in some areas of the brain. It depends only on what moment the child was brought and whether the accompanying problems are treated. With my son, who had severe dysphasia due to intrauterine oxygen deprivation, we have entered the barochamber over 200 times and counting. I always cry when I remember how after the first 15 the kindergarten teacher wrote to me: What have you done to this child! It speaks, it asks questions”. Currently, my son is still in kindergarten, but he has developed an amazing mathematical talent and participated in math olympiads. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is a powerful scavenger of heavy metals and helps create new neural connections. It is no coincidence that it is also used in stroke. Unfortunately, this therapy is an expensive pleasure. The average price of one entry into a barochamber is BGN 40. Even some banks have started giving loans for treatment with a barochamber.