Naturopathic Medicine - Dyspraxia & Autism– An Integrative Approach to Developing Language and Motor Skills with Naturopathic Medicine

By. Dr. Kate Mclaird, ND

Have you noticed your child isn’t meeting their language milestones? As parents, what are your options to ensure you are doing everything possible to help your child communicate?

Dyspraxia is a neurogenic impairment involving planning, executing and sequencing motor movements which makes it difficult for children to speak sounds, syllables, and words as well as coordinate and execute motor movements of their body parts. The difficulty has nothing to do with weak muscles or paralysis. Instead, the brain has a problem with planning out how to move the body parts needed to form words or perform a task.

It is very common to be provided a diagnosis of Autism when your child is showing signs of language delay. A new study finds that the relatively rare speech disorder apraxia affects nearly 65 percent of children with autism! The finding is important because apraxia warrants a specific type of therapy not otherwise part of an autism intervention program.

Children with Autism also seem to show a higher rate of limb or motor apraxia (AKA “clumsy child syndrome”). These may include difficulties learning to get dressed, poor coordination and clumsiness, difficulty learning to ascend or descend stairs and also difficulty in printing or writing.

As a naturopathic doctor, I focus in using a biomedical approach to maximize language development and support children with autism struggling with fine and gross motor development. Because the brain is a highly complex system of neural networks, treatments may vary for each individual.

Working together, we would aim to identify any possible underlying contributing factors to inflammation within the brain. These may include the assessment and support to correct:
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Neuro-inflammatory oxidative stress
- Methylation dysfunction
- Food Sensitivities and mal-absorption issues
- Co-morbid conditions – including Autism, ADHD, ODD, PDD, OCD, Anxiety

Common nutritional/metabolic deficiencies which have been associated with apraxia include but are not limited to:
• carnitine 
• fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K)
• iron
• zinc 
• b-vitamins
• cholesterol
• omega 3

What do you do if oral apraxia or speech delay is suspected?
✔ Hearing test and speech language pathology oral-motor assessment
✔ Speech evaluation / Early Speech therapy (individual 1:1)
✔ Early introduction of sign language ( to increase alternative modes of communication and decrease frustration/emotional distress
✔ Naturopathic medical consult for biomedical assessment, and natural intervention for neurodevelopmental optimization

I would love to meet you and your family in person! You can book a complementary 15 minute consult with me to discuss further how I may help your family.