Fish Oil Information
I asked Allison, author of “Mommy Gut” and mother of a son who was diagnosed with apraxia at 2, to write an introductory article about using fish oil with children with apraxia. She has included a couple of links to other sights with more in-depth information. Another resource citing success using fish oil and other supplements for children with apraxia is the book The Late Talker. I want to encourage you to do your own research before deciding to pursue this with your own children. From my own clinical experience, I have seen children make increased progress after beginning fish oil. Others have not. As Allison recommends, please discuss this with your child’s pediatrician. Laura
Part of advocating for your child is to find out all the research and all the therapies possible for their disability, analyze them, and try to implement those that you feel would be beneficial to your child. One treatment that has been brought up on this blog is supplementing the diets of children with apraxia with fish oil.? Since I am a HUGE proponent of this type of treatment, Laura asked me to write a blog entry on its use. I’ve adapted a post I have on the Speech Disorders board on Ivillage http:/messageboards.ivillage.com/iv-ppspeechdel on fish oil basics.? Here it is:
Anecdotally, giving (plus vitamin E supplements) to children with apraxia has resulted in a dramatic improvement in speech ability within a very short period of time (days) to a very high percentage of children. I first learned of this treatment at the Yahoo group childrensapraxianet, and I would encourage you to join there if your child has apraxia and/or you are interested in more information about fish oil, or any other, supplements that may be beneficial for children with apraxia. After starting fish oil with my son with apraxia, I saw an amazing improvement in my son, both in his articulation and his attention span. The improvement in his attention span was a pleasant surprise, and it helped make his therapy sessions more productive.
As a result, my PROMPT trained SLP has gotten all of her clients on fish oil, and has seen improvement in all. Interestingly enough, if I ever get lazy and forget to give him his morning dosage for a few days, I see a regression in the clarity of his speech. So I know, without doubt, that it’s the fish oil that’s clearing up his articulation.Anyway, on to the basics. Most people using the supplements use Nordic Naturals brand, as the oil is taken from a safe, clean, part of the fish, and it is lemon flavored, so not so offensive to our children.
It also seems to have the combination of essential fats that are most effective in children with apraxia. They use the Complete Omega 3-6-9 (adult strength), and start with 1 capsule a day (you pierce the capsule with something sharp and squeeze the oil out), mixed into pudding or yogurt or applesauce or something the child will eat. Expect to see some improvement within 3 days, and then more gradual improvement over the next few weeks. I personally recommend you not increase the dose until 4 weeks has passed, as it oftentimes takes that period of time to see the full effects of the oil.
Keep in mind that some children do have temporary side effects to the oil, which will appear at each increase. One is loose stools — if this occurs, introduce the oil as gradually as you can. You child’s body should be able to adjust within a week. The other side effect is irritability, restlessness, sleeplessness. This too should go away within a week if you just stick it out, although it’s important to note that for some children, it doesn’t.
It was also discovered that giving one 400 IU Vitamin E capsule a day increased the absorption of the Omegas. Make sure it’s natural vitamin E, and not synthetic — you can tell the difference by reading the label: d-alpha tocopherols is natural; dl-alpha tocopherols is not. So that is also recommended along with the fish oil.
The Yahoo group has much more information on the fish oil and vitamin E, including more specifics about the particular kind of Vitamin E you might want to look for. Please feel free to join there and browse their archives.
Please keep in mind that while fish oil “works” for a high percentage of children with apraxia, it doesn’t work for all. But in my opinion, as well as my pediatrician’s, it doesn’t hurt to try it. But as with most things, please talk with your pediatrician before starting any supplements.
Edited to add another great resource at this link: