Many studies support the notion that nutrition, genes, and environment are three major factors impacting cognitive development in children. Because there are many factors that impact learning, scientists cannot say, “If you eat this, you will be smarter.” However, the role of good nutrition in child development including speech and learning is important. Nutrition during the early years of a child’s life is linked to performance in later years. Many research studies focus on the relationships between breakfast and learning in school-age children; other researchers identified the importance of nutrition at earlier ages.
According to Westchester County, NY-based speech-language pathologist, Meghan Ryan, M.S. CCC-SLP, what goes into a child’s body has a direct impact on their cognitive growth at all times in their development and parents need to carefully consider their children’s food choices at all time. “Babies, toddlers and children are constantly using their brains to process new information. However, when inadequate nutrition and environmental toxins are a part of the equation, many times these factors impact a child’s ability to learn and may impact speech as well,” says Ryan.
Neural pathways, the building block for brain development cannot be created when the brain is not being fed properly. According to Ryan, who consults with families through her speech therapy service, Smart Speech; many parents and caregivers are not aware of the impact that health, nutrition and environment have on their child’s brain development and, ultimately, his or her ability to learn language and attend to new concepts. “The brain needs to be healthy and well fed in order for children to master new skills regardless of their age,” advises Ryan. She offers the following recommendations:
· Limit the amount of fast foods including high fructose sodas, juices, and fried chips and snacks
· Incorporate protein and lots of leafy greens like alfalfa, kale and spinach.
· Omega-3 should be your child’s fiend: look for foods rich with this nutrient including fish and chia seeds,
· Keep to the recommended daily amount of dairy. Overdoing it may lead to stomach ailments. Calcium is found in chicken and other foods. There is a misconception that it has all to come from dairy products says Ryan.
· If you have a picky eater, consider viable supplements such as chewable multi-vitamins and DHA chewable vitamins as well advises Ryan
About Smart Speech SLP – Smart Speech is a home-based speech therapy service that is available throughout Westchester County, NY. Services include therapists come to the home and work with children in their natural environment. Created in 2006, Smart Speech SLP has given many children with special needs the tools they need to enhance their communication skills. Several evidenced-based practices are used and all services are tailored specifically to meet the needs of individual students. For more information, or to schedule an appointment, please visit www.smartspeechny.com or contact Meghan@SmartSpeechNY.com.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored.