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Our Fern Ridge Press Blog

A Blog About Childhood Problems and Solutions
Including Autism, Dyslexia, ADD, Elective Mutism,
Asperger's, Oppositional Behavior and AAHD.

By Svea J. Gold, MLS and Larry Gold

This is the first of many articles that concern autism and any other problems not defind by medicine. We hope that those who use this blog will write to ask about the problems that your child has, or write and tell us how you solve a problem.

This a two way blog: you tell us your problem and we will write what we feel the answer is, and others can write in and tell us what they feel the answer is. That way we can all learn something.
--Svea and Larry Gold from Fern Ridge Press (

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The posts below start with the most recent one

August, 2008

How Lucas Is Walking

You asked what to do about the way your two year old is walking. You said that he has adjusted to one foot turning in and sort of ambles along. Doctors have told you that they would not do any surgery until the child is 6 years old, because in most cases the children outgrow this problem.. I’m sorry I am so late about answering.. I am delighted that they are not tilling to do surgery. It is terribly important however, that you fix his in-turned leg ax soon as possible. Other children are very fast to make fund of those who don’t walk easily!

Let me tell you a story, real quick.

One of our friend had adopted a little girl. She and her sister were almost the same age. When I watched the children play together, I asked what was the matter with the adopted child’s leg. The answer was that the child’s family had a history of problems, with their hip joints and that they would do surgery when she was six. It seemed to me that this twisted motion was more likely a case of brain damage at birth, but since the father was a doctor, what could I say?

When the child was five, I saw the mother, and she told me that this little girl was about to get speech lessons, that she barely put three words together at age 5. So I said, “You can’t treat this child in pieces, let me work with her.

I worked with her for about half an hour a day 5 to 6 times a week. I stimulated her legs, with emphasis on the turned in leg. I had her crawl on her tummy and creep on her knees. In six month she was putting together sentences and walked with both feet straight. Teachers who had tested her six months earlier could not believe this was the same child

The parents stopped bringing her over, but gave her all kinds of gymnastics in school. Today she is not the greatest scholar, but shet she graduated from High School, has a lovely child of her own and a good job. She is absolutely beautiful and graceful, though still a little shy.
At the time I did not know as much as I do now!

From what I hear, his mother had a very difficult birth. There could have been moments when he did not get enough Oxygen. Anything is possible and we don’t know if any harm was done, or if any circuits in the brain were not fully developed. This often does not show up until much later. From what your Mother tells me, he is a typical little 2 1/2 year old.

Just to be on the safe side, I would make a game out of the ten moves I am sending you. Stimulate both legs the way told you, Alternated hot ( don’t burn him) packs up and down the leg, the touch with a feather duster or basting brush, then with a round towel or Lufa sponge, then with light or deep massage. Do the top first, then the bottom. Be sure to do the bottom of his feet! When he is on his back, tickle the middle of his foot until he picks up the leg, then put your hand on the heel or the toes – not the middle and have him push you back. See if you can do this about ten times each foot. This activates a very early reflex, and may teach his brain to move both legs evenly. Once a day should be enough. Since he is so little, you can work this in during the day, you will have to see what works for you guys!

You don’t have to do number ten on the papers I sent. Just do lot of tossing him in the air and catching him. Allow him to jump on the bed – with you there.
v Please let me know what you think of this, or talk to me on the phone. I think this is very important, and better to do now than later, though it is never too late.


June, 2008

More About Reflexes

I promised to talk about the Moro and Kandel. Kandel of course only tried to find out exactly what happens at the nerve cell. Nothing more. In the process he proved that what we have been doing with exercises actually works. For years, and even today, nobody wants to believe it. By repeatedly stimulating a connection you can increase connections between two or more nerve cells.

To satisfy a grant scientists have to do things a little bit at a time in order to be able to prove whatever they are trying to prove. Unfortunately their research does not get integrated with whatever others are doing. (That has been my job)

The next step in proving how a motor program works comes from the research in Netrins and now with other nerve growth factors, done at the Salk Institute by Samuel Pfaff, He showed that it takes the nerve growth factors created by the brain itself and the nerve growth factors created by the muscles to make connections for the brain and body to function.

All this research backs up Sally Goddard’s work on reflexes.

A reflex is not just some nasty little ogre that sits there to frustrate a child. It is an indication of how the brain functions: which circuits are working in the brain at that particular moment. Reflexes – loops in the brain circuits-develop as soon as the first cells start to differentiate after conception; each little reflexive action causes movements. Each movement then puts information into the brain so the brain can take over the next step. To put it better – taking it from the research at the Salk Institute, new connections are made between the muscles and the brain. This depends on the specific “Netrins” or guides. Actually, the more we know the more magic it becomes.

If for any reason this progression is interrupted – by toxicity, by a fever, by a lack of oxygen at birth or a drowning accident, there is an interruption in the normal development. If there is damage to an nerve, the damage travels backward along the axon.

The retained Moro shows an interruption in the brainstem. The Moro reflex is a word for hyper-reactions to hot or cold or noise or change in position. It shows some problem in the reticular formation, caused probably by earlier problems in the olivary complexes in the brainstem. It is always hard to tell where the break in the circuit started. According to Patricia Rodier, in autistics it may have happened because of toxicity during the first 16 weeks in utero.

There are many different ways to talk about this. For Instance, when the pupils did not close to light, Florence Scott used to say: There is a problem in the Pons. It is during the development of the Pons that nerve fibers also go into the cerebellum. The cerebellum is also responsible for the opening and closing of the pupils and the adjustment of the muscles in the eye that allow allow the lens get thicker or thinner so that the eye can see clearly both near and far.(Masao Ito)

What came first is not always clear. If a child is hypersensitive to noise, it may be that the stapedius muscle is not working right. You may also suspect that his eyes don’t function right and he depends on his hearing to know where he is. I knew a blind little boy who at 5 was already in school and he found his way around pretty well with his white cane as long as he knew the route. However, the moment when he went somewhere strange to him, he would start to hum a tune. He was using his voice to echolocate! He might also jump up and down and the noise his feet made helped him echolocate.

In the olivary complexes all the senses interact. So that if there is a problem there, you have a problem in the inter-sensory connections, you just have to shake the tea kettle to know how much water is in it, you don’t have to open the lid.) The child to whom this connection does not happen has to monitor each sense to know what is happening. William Ludlum, a developmental optometrist monitored how much light actually reached the cortex when he flashed lights into the eyes of children who had vision problems. Before developmental vision therapy, the entire cortex was involved in procession the light. After therapy, which included connecting the entire body with the eye function the children only used the visual cortex. Information there now told them what they were seeing. They did not have to check every sense to know what was going on.
I think that this is one of the reasons they find that autistic children have a bigger cortex than other children. The connections down below are not happening automatically, so the child has to do all the work cortically.

As an indication that something is wrong in the brain stem, there may be a problem in the reticular formation. That is where the attention centers and the sleep areas are. All the senses are involved there: what wakes us up? Sound, change in position, smell, light – all the things that trigger a Moro reaction.

In other words, the child’s brain is still functioning like that of a newborn. The new born will stare at sound. He can’t see and hear at the same time. This is a problem most autistic children have. We are dealing with an interruption happening at the time of very early development. A break in the brainstem will result in malfunction of this thing called gaze control. Many autistic children don’t have gaze control. They live in a world where they see things as if they were driving in a bumpy car looking through field glasses.

Because this is so complicated, it is simplest just to go all the way back - with prenatal moves, and following normal sequential growth moves, give auditory and vestibular stimulation and sensory and kinesthetic input. In other words make sure that sure that all connections are made that should have occurred under normal circumstances.

While I go all the way back with every child, if the child is hyper-tactile in the face – i.e. hates to be touched there, the early fear paralysis and withdrawal reflexes are usually still there. I describe much of this again in the update of my book.

I hope this answers at least some of your questions – if you have more let me know.

Svea Gold

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