Success in School, Success in Life

By Sabrina Chen-See
Sabrina Chen-See
Sabrina Chen-See
September 4, 2015 Updated: September 4, 2015

It’s back to school time and loving parents everywhere are thinking about how they can help their kids succeed in school and in life. Billions of dollars and countless hours are spent on private schools, tutoring, sports activities, computer programs, music lessons, and even medications. It’s not just for struggling kids; it’s for high achievers as well.

I feel for the kids who are overscheduled and overstressed and don’t have time to just be kids. I feel for the parents, overwhelmed with what can be contradictory information, and trying to keep up with what society says is absolutely necessary.

The truth is, that while any of these activities may benefit the child, this “outside-in” approach will not have much effect if the child’s brain and nervous system aren’t developing or functioning the way they should.

Proper nerve flow through the brain and nervous system is necessary for memory recall, creative thinking, understanding concepts, coordination, balance, agility, strength, speed, fluidity of motion, growth, development, digestion, hormone production, homeostasis and reacting to changes in the external environment and internal needs.

Misalignments in the spine prevent the end organ or brain from functioning as it should. In a child, this can affect nerve growth and mental function and cause or exacerbate sensory processing disorders (SPD) such as Down’s syndrome, fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, cerebral palsy, hyperactivity, or autistic spectrum disorder.

Do you know of children who complain about tags on their clothing bothering them? How about those who are excessively picky about the texture of their food? Or those who hate to be tickled or cuddled? These are signs of an over-responsive or ultra-sensitive nervous system. They are easily over-stimulated and find “normal” stimuli irritating or even painful.

What about children with poor gross motor skills for their age, i.e. difficulty running or riding a bike? Do you know a child with “selective” hearing or difficulty focusing or concentrating? This can be a sign of an under-responsive nervous system. Children whose nervous systems aren’t sensitive enough will either not respond or respond slower than normal to everyday stimuli. They might not notice obstacles in their path and appear clumsy or absent-minded.

Misalignments in the spine prevent the end organ or brain from functioning as it should.

A third possibility is that the nervous system craves sensory stimulation. This can be the child who always smells people, food, or objects, or one who chews on everything, including non-food items. Another manifestation is a child who loves shiny, spinning, bright objects or loud noises or places.

Most children have some of these symptoms from time to time. It’s normal to work through glitches as they learn to use their mind and body. If the symptoms persist and make the child incapable of functioning normally, the diagnosis of SPD is made.

Currently, 5 percent of elementary school-aged children are diagnosed with SPD or related diagnoses of autism, Asperger’s, ADHD, or learning disorders. Factors in SPD include trauma during the birth process or in early childhood, environmental toxins, food allergens, not breast-feeding, and heavy vaccination.

Of the spine, the most vulnerable area is the upper neck, where the brainstem resides. The brainstem modulates nerve input to the brain, filtering out redundant or incorrect messages so the brain doesn’t get overwhelmed as easily or see the body and world in a distorted manner.

In a German study of over 1,000 newborns, 80 percent had misalignment of the top bone of the neck (atlas) at birth. Traumatic births including prolonged labour, vacuum extraction, forceps, and C-section resulted in 100 percent of the children having the C1 (atlas) bone misaligned. Adults with this misalignment describe it as feeling “off balance” or “my head’s not on right.”

Chiropractors are specialists in assessing the spine and correcting the misalignments (subluxations) that interfere with normal nerve flow. Two studies done in 2011 and published in The Journal of Pediatric, Maternal and Family Health showed benefits of chiropractic on SPD and autism.
Ten more case studies of children with similar neuro-developmental issues showed that they benefited from chiropractic care.

One doesn’t need to be diagnosed with a disease in order to benefit from chiropractic care. Elite athletes have known for decades the benefits of chiropractic for athletic performance. When the issue is complex like SPD, chiropractic care along with proper nutrition, exercise, and specific neurological stimulation is the best approach.

Dr. Sabrina Chen-See is a pediatric and family wellness chiropractor based in Vancouver. She is a firm believer in making positive contributions to society, and regularly volunteers her time and chiropractic skills for community and charitable events. Website: Phone: (604) 566 9088