The Preemie Growth Project

Sharing Vital Information About Nutritional Issues for Premature Babies & Special Needs Children

Crucial Case #4 (Hypotonia, Sensory Processing)

5 Year Old Full Term Hypotonic Boy with Sensory Processing Issues – 2012

This case was instrumental in identifying the relationship between micronutrient (trace mineral) deficiency issues and both Hypotonia and Sensory Processing issues in a full term child with absorption issues. Of particular note was that this child was born full term, and when his mother noted an improvement in his sensory issues, she was able to demonstrate a relationship with the supplement by taking him off (at which point his sensory issues returned within days) and putting him back on (at which point his sensory issues went away again).  Her extensive knowledge of her son’s medical history was instrumental in identifying how absorption issues affected children in key demographics from cerebral palsy through autism.  The following report is in his mother’s own words.

I’m certain that your time is valuable and I will do my best to respect that by being as concise and yet thorough as possible because the life’s of the children who this will affect is also valuable! This may be more detailed than you may see as necessary, but I am leaving out as many details and feelings as possible to provide you with are relevant facts; all of which I consider very pertinent to my son’s ultimate diagnosis.

In my second trimester of my pregnancy, I wasn’t gaining any weight (actually lost weight). I started taking one 4 mg zofran per day though I did skip some days and finally gained weight.

At 31 weeks I went into early labor. I consented to them stopping the labor. It worked.

On May 10 I was 39 weeks pregnant. I was given a sleeping pill and pain medication. I slept for about 4 1/2 hours and awoke again with strong contractions. I was physically drained and talked into an epidural which comes with pitocin. Kevin’s* oxygen struggled to remain steady and dropped several times. I was placed on oxygen. 22 hours after labor began, and 3 ½ hours of pushing, they started talking about a c-section, but at 5:35 he was born vaginally with vacuum extraction.

Kevin experienced transitional breathing problems and was taken from me and brought to the special care unit. He was given oxygen and placed under the lights. He was jaundice for four days post birth. I rejected the vaccinations offered. I nursed him exclusively.

Kevin came home with me, but couldn’t seem to sleep more than an hour at a time and would make grunting noises in his sleep. At 3 months, I found blood in his diaper. He was DXd with soy/milk protein intolerance. I became an avid label reader and removed all of the top eight allergens from my diet and all forms of soy/milk. He continued to have blood in his stool. I took him for a second opinion and the new (current) pediatrician started him on Elecare (a special formula broken down to the amino acid level). He was a different child within a day. He could sleep and seemed comfortable. Kevin outgrew the milk protein intolerance, but is lactose intolerant so he’s on limited dairy. He still cannot have soy protein. Please note here that leaky gut syndrome is the result of intestinal bleeding.

Now stay with me…this is where it gets VERY relevant to the minerals. When he was about 2 1/2 years old, I began to notice that he wasn’t like the other children at the play dates. He was much more verbal and spoke more like an adult, but he didn’t want to run and play with them and would get upset at games like tag because he couldn’t understand why the other kids were “hurting” him (tagging him). Kevin had met his milestones as an infant (even a bit early on some), but stairs seemed to be a tremendous challenge to him. Bright lights and the flashing of fluorescent lights were painful to my son and still are (I also have this issue). Loud sounds sent him into a panic (I was also this way as a child). Tags in his cloths were super irritating (another thing I understood). He wasn’t interested in climbing. He would meltdown in crowded environments. He gagged on most textures. So at his three year well visit, I went prepared to have the doctor review the many checklists I had downloaded and filled out. At first, the pediatrician was hesitant to pursue further testing, but then Kevin melted down in his office during the exam (bright light of stereoscope, fluorescent lights, etc) and the doctor changed his mind.

We went to neurologist, gastroenterologists, a child psychologist, Kauffman Children’s Center, OT at Crittenton, and a PT at Crittenton. I am going to highlight his DXs here for ease of reference:

  • Gifted (he hit the ceiling on the exam)
  • Sensory processing disorder (sound, light, texture avoidance)
  • Oral motor aversions
  • Dyspraxia (proprioceptive and vestibular issues)
  • Dysgraphia
  • Hypotonia (low muscle tone)
  • Auditory processing disorder
  • 4th optical nerve palsy in his right eye present since birth
  • Visual processing issues including ocular motor dysfunction, binocular vision dysfunction, convergence insufficiency, and accommodative spasm (currently in vision therapy for these and making great progress)
  • Speech fluency disorder (stutters when anxiety gets high)
  • Lactose Intolerant
  • Chemical Sensitivities
  • Dye Reactions
  • Allergic to amoxicillin and mulberries
  • Has an IgG reaction to soy protein
  • High Anxiety

Please try to imagine navigating this as a parent with no prior medical training, knowledge or experience. Now add on that even my son’s large medical team didn’t have answers for why my son had these things and often could offer therapy only to try to improve his abilities.

Therapy is great. It can truly help these children and improve their skills, but it is not a cure. It is not an explanation to the underlying cause. My son started therapy at age 3. He made some progress along the way. The meltdowns continued. The proprioceptive and vestibular uncertainties continued. He still only ate about 3 foods. Stairs were still an issue.

When he was almost 5 years old, a friend who had started a gifted group with me told me about the trace minerals and about Ida Briggs. I learned that the minerals appeared to help with muscle weakness. Even after the 2 years of therapy, Kevin continued to not meet his target goal for strength so I was interested in the minerals. I am a very careful person when it comes to what goes into my son. He does not eat dyes, artificial flavors, HFCS, processed sugar, or chemicals and eats 90% organic and mostly whole unprocessed foods. So I did a little research and found that the minerals were present in our foods, but at lower ratios due to soil erosion. I started him out slow and increased the dose over two weeks.

The results…

  • Constipation disappeared
  • Ability and willingness to climb at therapy and at home increased dramatically
  • Sensory meltdowns disappeared
  • Gross motor skills improved
  • Growth occurred (height and weight)
  • Fine motor skills improved and emerged

Let’s compare…

Before the minerals:

  • Kevin ate three foods that he rotated through
  • He was always constipated
  • He went into fight or flight at the thought (literally just the thought) of playground equipment and climbing
  • Swings were used in therapy with much pleading, but never for pleasure
  • He could hardly walk up and down stairs while holding the railing with two hands
  • He had multiple meltdowns per day over things like bright light, loud noise, etc even though we never left home without 2 – 3 pair of sunglasses and tried to shield him from noise (I came to fear an ambulance near us)
  • He couldn’t attend a parade and we left countless events became they were overwhelming to him
  • He didn’t want to try using scissors because it seemed too difficult and his writing and drawing were very rare and not something he enjoyed
  • His strength goals in therapy were never met even after years of therapy in office and daily at home therapy

After the minerals:

  • Kevin began to try all kinds of new foods on his own wishes
  • His diet quickly expanded and now he is one of the best eaters enjoying fruits, vegetables, meats, and a variety of textures, flavors and seasonings
  • His stool became normal consistently and he has NEVER (not once) since starting the minerals been constipated again
  • Kevin started climbing play ground equipment instead of sitting off to the side and playing with wood chips
  • Within a month, he started climbing the rock wall at therapy
  • He now enjoys swings willingly and for pleasure
  • He can climb (read run) up and down stairs without holding the railing and while holding objects in his hands
  • The meltdowns disappeared
  • He can tolerate louder sounds and some level of brighter lights
  • He is able to attend busy events without meltdowns or worry
  • His fine motor skills developed (scissors were no longer a problem for him, he began to write more and draw more)
  • He FINALLY gained strength and reached his goals and was graduated from therapy within 2 months of starting the minerals

The therapists couldn’t believe how this transformation could occur so quickly and suddenly after years of struggle. They were fascinated that starting the minerals directly correlated with these changes. Kevin’s pediatricians were also amazed at the changes and requested additional information about the minerals and Ida’s research so that they could share it with other patients struggling like Kevin had.

At one point, early on we removed the minerals to see what the effect would be. After about 2 weeks, we noted regression with the sensory issues. So the question became why. Why wasn’t my son able to function well without them? Was he not getting them from his food? So my research began and I concluded that leaky gut syndrome was the likely cause. I worked with two herbalists and my son’s pediatrician to establish a plan to heal my son. We introduced Cod Liver Oil/Butter oil, Calcium Phospate, blue juice to provide B vitamins, intense probiotics, liquid D3, liquid herbal vitamins, and high protein foods. We also started the minerals again. We noted another growth increase with the restart of the minerals. When staying on these supplements and a healthy diet for about 6 months, Kevin continued to thrive. Now, when we stop the minerals there is no regression. I believe we healed his gut. So why continue the minerals you may ask…our soil is depleted and we need minerals to thrive. Children with my son’s challenges use up magnesium at a much greater rate and I can easily help him out by giving him these minerals.

Today, Kevin is 7 ½ years old. He’s been on trace minerals for 2 ½ years now with only positive results.

I thank you for your time and for listening. I stand to gain nothing at a personal level from sharing this information. It is, however, worth the time for me to share because I know many lives can be changed with something so simple…trace minerals.

*Not his real name