Portrait of sad girl with mother in background at home

This Is What Feels Like Oppositional Defiant Disorder

Beaten down by your child’s defiant behavior? Wondering why she’s always in a rage? It could be oppositional defiant disorder, or ODD. Stop the madness — and the violent outbursts — with these strategies for change.

Portrait of sad girl with mother in background at home

Anne dreads waking up in the morning. Her son, Sam, who is nine, is unpredictable. Sometimes he just goes along with the morning routine. Other times, he’ll lash out at the smallest thing — a request to get dressed, an unplanned stop on the way to school, or a simple “No” to a request for pizza for dinner.

“On any given day, I never know what to expect from him,” says Anne, a public relations manager for an independent high school in New Hampshire. “He’ll start yelling and kicking when anything doesn’t go his way.”

Sam was diagnosed with ADHD at five, and while that explained some of his difficulties in school, it never explained his aggressive and defiant temperament. It wasn’t until the beginning of this school year that Anne sought additional help for her son’s behavior, which was becoming stressful to her family. The pediatrician determined that Sam was suffering from ADHD and ODD (oppositional defiant disorder).

Recognize ODD in Your Child

Children with ODD have a pattern of angry, violent, and disruptive behaviors toward parents, caretakers, and other authority figures. Before puberty, ODD is more common in boys, but, after puberty, it is equally common in both genders. Sam is not alone in his dual diagnosis of ADHD and ODD; up to 40 percent of children with ADHD are estimated to have ODD.

Every child will act out and test his boundaries from time to time, and ODD seems like typical adolescent behavior: arguing, anger, and aggression. The first step to fixing a child’s problematic behavior is recognizing ODD. How do you know whether your child is just being a child or if he needs professional help?

There is no clear line between “normal defiance” and ODD, says Ross Greene, Ph.D., associate clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and author of The Explosive Child. The lack of clear criteria explains why professionals often disagree as to whether a child should be diagnosed with ODD.

Greene emphasizes that it is up to parents to decide when to get help for a defiant child. “If you’re struggling with your child’s behavior, and it is causing unpleasant interactions at home or at school, then you’ve easily met the criteria for having a problem,” says Greene. “And I’d suggest you seek professional help.”

Anne had never heard of ODD when she called a cognitive behavioral therapist to discuss coping strategies for her son’s erratic behavior. After spending some time in the family’s home, observing Sam and his interactions with his mother, the therapist saw signs of ODD. “I didn’t know what she was talking about,” says Anne. At Sam’s next doctor’s visit, Anne asked whether ODD could explain Sam’s behavior, and the physician said yes.

“When I thought about it, the diagnosis made sense,” says Anne. “Nothing I used with my older daughter – like counting down to some set consequence before punishing her – to control her behavior ever worked for Sam.”

Shoes Tied, Backpack Packed – Getting Up and Out the Door Every Morning

Another mother, Jane Gazdag, an accountant from New York, began noticing troubling behavior in her son, Seamus Brady, now eight, when he was four. “He would scream for two or three hours over the smallest thing,” says Jane. “He fought everything.”

When Jane realized that she had stopped trying to do fun things with her son, like spending the day in Manhattan, because they were too stressful for her, she suspected that he had ODD and spoke to her pediatrician about it. Seamus was diagnosed as having it.

Signs of ODD can be seen in a child’s behavior toward his primary caregiver. The defiant behavior may spread to a secondary caregiver and to teachers or other authority figures, but if it appears in a child with ADHD, ODD will appear within two years of an ADHD diagnosis.

If a child does start to become defiant, there is an easy way to tell whether that behavior is a consequence of ADHD or is a sign of ODD. “ADHD isn’t a problem with starting a task, it’s a problem with finishing a task,” says Russell Barkley, Ph.D., a clinical professor of psychiatry and pediatrics at the Medical University of South Carolina. “If a child can’t start a task, that’s ODD.”

The Impulsive/ Defiant Link

Understanding why ODD is found so frequently in children with ADHD is to understand the two dimensions of the disorder – the emotional and social components, says Barkley. Frustration, impatience, and anger are part of the emotional component. Arguing and outright defiance are part of the social aspect.

Most children with ADHD are impulsive, and this drives the emotional component of ODD. “For people with ADHD, emotions are expressed quickly, whereas others are able to contain their feelings,” says Barkley. This is why the small subset of children who have the inattentive type of ADHD is less likely to develop ODD. Children who have ADHD, along with intense impulsivity, are likely to be diagnosed with ODD.

Anger and frustration are hard to manage in a child with ODD and ADHD, but it is defiance that exacerbates the family stress caused by ODD. The surprising thing is that parents fuel the defiance. If a parent is quick to give in when a child has a tantrum, the child learns that she can manipulate situations by getting angry and putting up a fight. This aspect of ODD is a learned behavior, but it can be unlearned through behavioral therapy.

ADHD First, Then ODD

Before tackling a child’s ODD, it is important that his ADHD be controlled. “When we reduce a child’s hyperactivity, impulsiveness, and inattention, perhaps through medication, we see simultaneous improvement in oppositional behavior,” says Greene.

The traditional stimulant medications are the initial drugs of choice because they have been shown to decrease the impairments of ADHD, as well as ODD, by up to 50 percent in more than 25 published studies, says William Dodson, M.D., who specializes in the treatment of ADHD, in Greenwood, Colorado. Non-stimulant medications may also help. In one study, researchers found that the drug atomoxetine, the generic form of the active ingredient found in Strattera, significantly reduces ODD and ADHD symptoms. The researchers note in the study, published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, in March 2005, that higher doses of the medication were needed to control symptoms in children who were diagnosed with both conditions.

Strattera helped Seamus control his emotions, reducing the number and intensity of his tantrums. “It made a big difference,” says Jane. For some, medication is not enough, and after a child’s ADHD symptoms are under control, it’s time to address ODD behaviors.

Although there is little evidence to show that any treatment is effective in treating ODD, most professionals agree that behavioral therapy has the most potential to help. There are many forms of behavioral therapy, but the general approach is to reward good behavior and provide consistent consequences for inappropriate actions and behaviors.

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire?

Behavioral therapy programs don’t start with the child; they start with the adult. Because a child with ODD usually has a caretaker who gives in to tantrums and violent behavior, or offers inconsistent punishment for bad behavior, the child thinks that acting out will get him what he wants. Therefore, a child’s primary caretaker has to be educated to effectively respond to a child with ODD. Another part of parental training is to consider whether ADHD has gone undiagnosed in the parent; adults with the condition are likely to be inconsistent in managing a child’s behavior.

Implementing consistent punishment is only one part of a behavioral therapy program; a parent must learn to use positive reinforcement when a child behaves himself.

Stick with It

A behavioral therapist works with parent and child together to reduce troubling behaviors. At the top of Anne’s list was her son’s “Shut up,” which he shouted at anyone. Anne kept a tally sheet to list the number of times her son would shout it in a day. At the end of the day, Anne and her son looked at the total together. If the number was under the set goal for the day, she gave him a small reward, a toy or time spent playing video games. Day by day, Sam tried to reduce the number of times he said “shut up,” and Anne tried to be consistent in her punishments.

All of a child’s caregivers should participate in the program. Grandparents, teachers, nannies, and other adults who spend time alone with your child must understand that the need for consistency in behavioral therapy extends to them as well.

“ODD has a deleterious effect on relationships and communication between kids and adults,” says Greene. “You want to start improving things as soon as you can.”

Anne believes that her diligence will pay off. “We hope that all the work we’ve done will one day click for Sam,” she says.




I knew all my life that I was “sensitive” and could pick up on things that others did not.  I also knew that my body didn’t handle sensory stimuli the same way other bodies did.  I could easily become overwhelmed by itchy clothes, too much noise or strange smells.  High emotion in a room could send me over the edge.


Sometimes if too much input came at me all at once, it would send me into a full blown panic attack. But it wasn’t until I began studying Sensory Processing Disorder that I really came to understand that being a “empath” isn’t just some woo-woo label that New Agers made up to make themselves feel special. I learned that my nervous system is actually wired differently than most humans.  Yes, it’s actually a scientific reality.


I like to think of Sensory Processing Disorder as science’s explanation for what’s been known by mystics as the “Empath”.  In this space, science and mysticism come together beautifully.

Revolutionary occupational therapist, psychologist, and neuroscientist A. Jean Ayres, Ph.D., explained Sensory Processing Disorder as a “traffic jam” within the brain.  This traffic jam keeps parts of the brain from receiving and interpreting sensory information properly.

Someone with SPD receives sensory stimuli just like other people do: smelling, seeing, hearing, touching, tasting, balance, and the sense of where the body is in space, but when the sensory signals reach the brain, they get scrambled.  Not only does the brain interpret information differently, but the person with SPD may in fact actually be accessing MORE information than the average person. 

Getting flooded with so much additional information can sometimes lead to behaviors that seem odd to other people, even inappropriate.  In reality, those behaviors are completely appropriate given the experience that the sensitive person is having – which may not be the same experience everyone else is having.  In other words, he is literally experiencing reality in a new way.

The Gifted Empath

From here forth, I will refer to Sensory Processing Disorder as Sensory Processing DIFFERENCE because in my view, it’s not a disorder.  It’s a manifestation of human evolution.  Empaths, Sensitives and those with Sensory Processing Differences may well have abilities that regular people often marvel at, including the ability to sense subtle sound, light, and energy vibration, emotional subtlety and even mystical phenomena.  In recent years, we’ve seen a rapid increase in the numbers of children born with SPD.  In my opinion, this is a sign that the human race is progressing toward a superior state.  The ability to take in much larger amounts of sensory data is an evolutionary leap for our species.

Do you have SPD?

– Hyper-sensitive to touch: touch may be uncomfortable or ticklish, may avoid tactile stimulation

– Hypo-sensitive to touch: May crave touch or seek out strong sensory input

– Difficulty with Self-Soothing: Trouble calming self, requires lots of outside help to process life’s challenges, irritability, emotional roller coaster

– Sensory-avoidant behaviors: afraid of heights, loses balance easily, avoids fast movements, avoids hugs and eye contact

– Sensory-seeking behaviors: craves fast movement, spinning, thrill-seeking, chewing on pens, fingernails,

– Sensitive to negativity:  negative talk, scary stories, violence or cruelty on TV, news, etc…

– Social Avoidance: Overwhelmed by sensory input in crowds, likes to spend a lot of time alone

– Hyper-sensitive to noise: Distracted by noise others don’t notice, fearful of noise, shock at loud sounds

– Hypo-sensitive to noise: Doesn’t respond when name is called, seeks loud music or TV, makes noise for fun

– Hyper-sensitive to smell: Offended by body smells, bathroom smells, cooking smells, can smell odors others cannot

– Hyper-sensitive to sights: Sensitive to bright light, enjoys dimly lit rooms, avoids eye contact

– Allergies: Sensitivities to food, environment, medications

– Immune Disorders: Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue, Lupus, etc…

– Extra-sensory perception: of any kind

– Mystical experiences: of any kind

– Inner Conflict:  Deep sense of wanting a peaceful world but personally experiences internal turmoil – the two don’t seem to match and it may feel confusing

If you have a handful of these traits, you are probably an Empathic SPD Human.


Self-Care for Highly Sensitive People

empathyIt’s not easy to live as a highly sensitive person. The empathic brain doesn’t filter unnecessary stimuli the way other people’s brains do.  Because of this, highly sensitive people tend to take in MORE movement, MORE voices, MORE flashes of color, MORE scents, MORE feelings, MORE energy.

Empathic SPDs wear out fast.   Their brains use more battery power per minute than the next guy.  They tend to get sick more easily than others.  Being able to pick up so much sensory and energetic stimulation floods them with more information about the world than other people get – which is FUN!  But it can also be exhausting.

If this is true for you, consider abandoning your attempts to fit in and be like everyone else.

You’re NOT like everyone else – you’re different.

When you find yourself in an unbearable situation, instead of forcing yourself to suffer through to the point of exhaustion, anxiety or panic, choose to care for yourself in new ways.  It’s your right, and in fact – it is your responsibility to yourself to design your surroundings in a way that supports your well-being.

Examples of Self-Care

stressedskincareEmotions:   Many Empaths feel other people’s emotion so exquisitely that it can be hard to tell who the emotion belongs to.  Practice asking yourself, “Is this feeling mine, or theirs?”

Merging:  Empaths have a tendency to merge with others.  Some call it “leaky boundaries”, but this label proves a gross mis-understanding on the part of the labeler.  Merging with, and feeling another’s experience as one’s own isn’t a weakness – it’s a superpower!  Society just hasn’t caught on yet. Take care of yourself by choosing wisely who you merge with.

Sensory Overstimulation:   Just living in your own body can be overstimulating. The feeling of digestion in the belly may be interpreted as a strange, uncomfortable feeling. Pain may be felt more intensely than it is by others.  The sound in the ears can be extreme.  Being too warm or too cold may be too much for the brain to process.  Caring for yourself means learning to read the signs your body is giving you.  If your internal sensations feel like too much, take a break and sit alone in a quiet place for 20 minutes.

MWaves-of-Faith-A-Morning-Meditation-Prayerore Wattage:  Living in a body may seem simple enough for most people – a non-issue even. But for you, it may take a certain level of purposefully focused attention just to manage it. Because you are starting out the gate using more attention and energy to manage internal and external stimuli, it means that less is available for regular life.

The brain is literally running more programs than the average human being.  Self-care means getting enough rest and alone time. You may need more frequent breaks or to work fewer hours than other people.

Love and care for the special body you’ve been given!

You are literally the miracle of human evolution happening right before the world’s eyes!



By: Paige Bartholomew,

Licensed Psychotherapist, Certified Hypnotherapist, Sufi Master Teacher



My Five-Year-Old Autism Child Does Not Talk … Will He Ever?

This guest post is  by Connie Kasari, Ph.D., a Professor of Education and Psychiatry and the Center for Autism Research at UCLA.

This is the question and the worry for a quarter to about half of all parents of children with autism.  Research studies tell us that children who can talk by the time they turn five years old have better outcomes.  But is this age marker meaningful, and what does it mean exactly?

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The extraordinary success of early intervention programs has been shrinking the numbers of children who remain nonverbal.  Still many children develop slowly, becoming late speakers if at all.   What do we know that helps these children?

Late speaking children were the subject of a recent review paper, which was selected as one of Autism Speaks’ Top 10 Scientific Achievements in 2009 (Pickett, Pullara, O’Grady & Gordon, 2009).  The authors found 64 studies involving 167 children who learned to speak after age five.  Several important observations were noted.  First, the authors found that while most children who learned to speak were between five and seven years some children learned to speak for the first time at age 13 years!  The majority of children learned single words, but some were able to speak in sentences.  Finally, the numbers they report are probably an underestimate of actual cases since researchers often exclude children who are nonverbal, or under-report late speaking children.  Therefore, it may be harder to learn to speak after age five, but it is clearly not impossible.

What types of interventions are helping children to speak? Several approaches look promising.  Both behavioral interventions and ones using augmentative and alternative communication devices (AAC) seem to work.  AAC approaches (examples include PECS, sign language and speech generating devices) do not seem to inhibit the development of spoken language (Schlosser & Wendt, 2008); however, for many children the use of AAC allows them to become communicators without reliance on spoken language.  Thus, AAC interventions need to be adopted more often and studied.

Applied behavior analysis (ABA) is the most common approach to teaching children with autism; however, the results of intensive training have not always improved spoken language.  A promising hybrid behavioral and developmental intervention focuses on ‘joint attention’, nonverbal gestures that develop before children learn to speak with words, and involve the sharing of attention between a person and an object or event.  Preschool aged children who received a joint attention intervention made greater language gains than children receiving traditional applied behavior analysis interventions (Kasari et al, 2008) but it is not clear if similar interventions will work with older children.

At UCLA we are beginning to test out whether a joint attention intervention will be effective for children who are nonverbal and older than five years. The study is an Autism Speaks funded High Risk, High Impact study for Characterizing Cognition in Nonverbal Individuals with Autism (CCNIA).  This multi-site study involves researchers from UCLA, (Connie Kasari) Kennedy Kreiger Institute (Rebecca Landa) and Vanderbilt University (Ann Kaiser).  We are comparing our joint attention intervention with a focus on spoken language (using Enhanced Milieu Training; Kaiser, Hancock & Nietfeld, 2000) to an intervention involving the use of a speech -generating device.  A unique aspect of this study is the use of an alternating treatment design, recognizing that children may need a sequence of treatments for best response, or may respond better with one treatment versus another.  This design is called a SMART design (sequential multiple assignment randomization trial –SMART; Murphy, 2005).  Our goal is to determine the most effective intervention for increasing communication competence of children who are nonverbal, recognizing the variability in characteristics of these children, and the individualized nature of their response to treatment.

So the good news is that language development CAN progress after age five, but stay tuned for more research


Kaiser, A. P., Hancock, T. B., & Nietfeld, J. P. (2000). The effects of parent-implemented enhanced milieu teaching on the social communication of children who have autism. Journal of Early Education and Development [Special Issue], 11(4), 423-446.

Kasari, C., Paparella, T, Freeman, S.N., & Jahromi, L (2008).  Language outcome in autism: Randomized comparison of joint attention and play interventions.  Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 76, 125-137.

Murphy SA. (2005) An Experimental Design for the Development of Adaptive Treatment Strategies. Statistics in Medicine. 24:1455-1481.

Pickett, E., Pullara, O, O’Grady, J., & Gordon, B. (2009).  Speech acquisition in older nonverbal individuals with autism: A review of features, methods and prognosis. Cognitive Behavior Neurology, 22 1-21.

Schlosser, RW, & Wendt O (2008).  Effects of augmentative and alternative communication intervention on speech production in children with autism: A systematic review. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology • Vol. 17 • 212–230.


Mom Of Girl With Autism Writes Powerful Post About Kindness Between Kids

A Kentucky mom’s  post is showing the immense power in the kindness children show toward each other.

On July 23, Stephanie Skaggs posted a photo of her 5-year-old daughter Baylee, who has autism, having fun Hurricane Bay water park at Kentucky Kingdom in Louisville. In the caption, she shared a moving story about that day.

Addressing “the mom in the baby water park at Kentucky Kingdom,” Skaggs explained that going to the water park can be a challenge for Baylee, who is mostly non-verbal and has trouble coping with unexpected change. That day, she was getting accustomed to the routine of waiting in line for her turn to go down the water slide, but other children cut in front of her.

“[Baylee] really doesn’t mind much that she had to wait longer, but is very upset that the steps of the routine she just learned are now out of whack,” Skaggs wrote. “And to her it feels like the end of the world!”

Worried that the situation would escalate into a meltdown, the mom was pleasantly surprised when a little girl at the front of the line looked up and said “she can go ahead of me.” A little later, someone else cut Baylee in line, but a little boy, who observed what had happened and understood she had special needs, offered her his place at the front.

“I was struck that two different children would be so intuitive and kind,” Skaggs wrote. “Like most autistic children, Baylee does not LOOK any different than any other child. And it’s not really immediately obvious by her behavior either. It takes some observation and usually children their age don’t realize she has autism.”

Stephanie Skaggs was touched by the kindness two children showed her daughter with autism at a local water park.

The mom said she praised the little boy and girl who let Baylee go ahead of them. “I told them both how great it was that they looked out for someone who was different … and the difference that small acts of kindness make even if it doesn’t seem like much,” she wrote. “They really touched my heart.”

When she later saw them together, Skaggs realized they were brother and sister. She asked them to point out their mother and then approached the woman to praise her parenting.

Addressing the thoughtful children’s mom, she wrote in her post:

“I made sure to let your kids know how nice it was for them to be kind and understanding, but I wanted YOU to know that you are raising two wonderful children. When I came to you and told you about my experience with your kids and told you that they were super kids and you are doing a great job, you said ‘I don’t know about that.’ Well, mom, you are. A small gesture like theirs may not seem like much. But I promise it was.”

As a mom of a child with autism, Skaggs said she is filled with worry and fear about the negative way people perceive Baylee because she’s a little different. But the kindness those children displayed at the water park gave her a sense of hope for her daughter’s future.

“When I looked at those sweet little faces, filled with pride as I praised them, it made me happy to know that more moms are raising their children the way you are!” she concluded her post. “So I just wanted to take the opportunity again to thank you and let you know you are doing a really really good job!”

Skaggs’ Facebook post has been shared almost 10,000 times. The mom told The Huffington Post that she decided to share her story because she was so touched by those children that she couldn’t stop thinking about the experience.

“A small gesture like theirs may not seem like much. But I promise it was,” Skaggs wrote of the experience.

Hoping to give peace of mind to fellow parents of kids with special needs, Skaggs typed out the post and it quickly spread across Facebook. While Skaggs wanted the mom she met at the water park to see the post, she did not anticipate it would actually reach her. But within hours of posting the story, she received a Facebook message from Laura, the woman she spoke to that day.

Laura said her children, Matthew and Grace, were also touched by their experience that day. “She said they talked about Baylee all day after we parted ways,” Skaggs recalled.

The two moms became friends on Facebook and remain in touch. Skaggs said she’s received positive comments and messages from people around the world, from South Africa to Egypt.

“It means so much to me that Laura and her children can see the far reaching impact of their kind gestures that they thought were nothing really!” the mom told HuffPost. “My hopes are that this simple act of kindness will spread and inspire people to just be kind … not just to children or adults with special needs but that being kind to anyone can reach so many people in so many ways. It is definitely worth the effort!”

Baylee always feels protected by her parents and five older siblings.

Though parents of kids with special needs feel that they must be vigilant, Skaggs said she hopes her experience inspires them to let their guard down and live in the moment sometimes.

“I would hope that, like me, they will have a renewed sense of hope and trust in those around them and are able to at least sometimes, even if it is jut for a few fleeting moments, just let that wall down and breathe and enjoy those moment with their kids,” she said. “To be able to stop and delight in their happiness and relish in their excitement and not be so worried about what everyone around them is thinking.”

Laura, Matthew and Gracie allowed Skaggs to do just that. The mom said they’re planning to get the kids together to play soon, maybe at Kentucky Kingdom again.



Diet Doctor Launches 7 Day Ketogenic Diet Meal Plan For Year 2017 (To Help Get Your Ass in Gear)-Weight Loss Program

So you have found the ketogenic diet, have figured out your macros and you are itching to get started. Here is a ketogenic diet meal plan for one week. If you are just getting situated use this basic plan to help get going.

I Have Lost 45 Pounds In 4 Months With a Ketogenic Diet

I just started MONTH five of a ketogenic diet(45 lbs lost). I’m by no means an expert. I am now 46 years old and I have spent my entire life trying to lose weight. Ironically I have also spent years learning about nutrition and exercise. Figuring out macronutrients just comes naturally to me as I have done it so much over my life. By following a keto diet this is the first time I have seen any real success in losing the unwanted pounds. This despite years of working out and being active.

I have had a very successful go of it so far, and I feel that a lot of you who are trying to get started with a ketogenic diet may get overwhelmed and confused with all of the numbers and information that is coming at you. Hence this ketogenic diet meal plan. It is what I am doing to keep things simple. I am a guy. I need simple.

For me I think that success with a keto diet is found with having some base meals and adding some variety later on if needed. Hell I eat the same thing pretty much every day. Not too exciting but losing 45 pounds in 4 months IS exciting, so I am sticking with it. If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.

7 Day Keto Diet Grocery List

The daily meals will be bacon and eggs, chicken with vegetables, and beef with vegetables. This are base meals and will provide good macros for some people. For others who need more food(fat) you can just add a keto friendly snack or 2 to get your macros up to where they need to be. This is what I need to do.

  1. A dozen eggs.
  2. A package bacon.
  3. Butter. (real butter)
  4. A pack of boneless SKIN ON chicken thighs
  5. 1 onion.
  6. 1 bell pepper (Green, red, yellow, that’s your choice.)
  7. Two bulbs of garlic. (Optional, but very heart healthy.)
  8. A big bag of mixed frozen vegetables, at least 12 cups worth. If you are not sure what to get, just pick something else that’s keto friendly like frozen broccoli.)
  9.  a bag of almonds, a jar of almond butter (very expensive – cheapest I can find is 10$ for 750g at Costco).
  10. A package of beef. You want to find some kind of beef that you can imagine cutting/dividing into 6 equal portions of about 5.5 ounces each(a bit bigger than a deck of cards.)

I Am Actually Cooking. Well…Some

I am not much for cooking but I am doing better. A ketogenic diet meal plan does work better when you have food ready to go. It takes the guess work out and we need to keep this as simple as possible in order to have success.

  1. Put the 12 thighs in to the oven with all the cloves from a bulb of garlic. You should separate the cloves, but you don’t need to skin them. The heat from the oven will do that nicely, and you can peel them when you eat it.
  2. While the thighs are cooking, hard boil the eggs. Then set them aside to cool.
  3. Take a skillet, put some butter in it, and then fry up the bacon. (Note: Some might argue that the butter isn’t needed. In my experience you can either grease up that pan somehow, or your first strips of bacon will come out burnt.)
  4. Dice up half the onion, save the other half for next week.
  5. Cut up the pepper
  6. You might need to take the chicken out at this point. If it’s done, pull it out, and let it cool.
  7. In the skillet (I love to use the bacon grease as a base) sauté the pepper and half onion, and another bulb’s worth of garlic cloves. (leave the skin on, just like before.)
  8. Add the beef and brown it.

Getting The Meals Together

  1. Wash/rinse out 12 containers.
  2. In 6 of them, put 2 chicken thighs each. Share the garlic between them, and evenly divide the fat juice.
  3. In the other 6 evenly spoon out the beef/pepper/onion mix.
  4. Take the veggie blend, evenly pour it across the 12 containers, right on top of the meat.
  5. Put them all in your fridge. If you have minimal fridge space you could just put some in there, and then rest in your freezer. Just pull another out when you pull from the fridge.
  6. Pull out six plastic bags and put 2 hard boiled eggs in each.
  7. Evenly divide your remaining bacon by 6.
  8. Now brown bag it, and put it in your fridge.
  9. The Macronutrients of the Ketogenic Menu Plan

    Right now you have 6 day’s worth of meals in your fridge

    • 6 bags with 2 hard boiled eggs and bacon
    • 6 containers of thighs/veggies
    • 6 containers Beef/Veggies

    Okay so this is only 6 days. Make extra for day 7 OR you can try to get creative and plan your own meals. Ruled.me has some awesome keto recipes if you are feeling brave.

    *I messed up. The macros of each “meal” above are too high in protein and too low in fat so reduce the amount of meat in each meal by about half AND add 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil to each meal(or some cheese). Please forgive me!!

    For this base ketogenic meal plan I am going to use the following macronutrient profile that I helped someone set up for themselves:

    Total calories- 1570

    • Net carbs  – 20g per day
    • Protein      – 80 g per day
    • Fat              – 130 g per day

    Now divide each of those by 3(for 3 meals per day) and you get:

    • ≈7 net carbs per meal
    • ≈26 grams protein per meal
    • ≈44 grams fat per meal

    Omg, so much math! If you halve the protein in each meal you will be pretty close to these totals PER MEAL! 

    Personally I need more protein and fat each day and so will some of you. So I add in some snacks, cheese, or keto fudge during the day to get my macros up where they need to be. I also drink homemade Bulletproof coffee which for me is:

    • 1 cup coffee
    • 1 tbsp coconut oil
    • 1 tsp butter
    • 1 tbsp full fat coconut milk(in a can)

    This adds about 25g of fat to my day.

    The nuts and almond butter are there in case you find yourself having cravings. Between staying on top of your water intake and small snacks of these you really shouldn’t be overly hungry. If you got hungry on Day One between breakfast and lunch, or lunch and supper while you’re still at work—then portion out some nuts (15 of them ).

    Also see- High Fat Ketogenic Meals to Heal Your Body

    You may also want to consider adding these fat boosting strategies:

    • Full fat cream in your coffee.
    • Put a tablespoon of mayonnaise on the chicken while it’s baking.
    • Top the vegetables with some cheese before reheating.

    A Word on Salt and Electrolytes

    It’s  also worth pointing out that you may want to consider taking a multi-vitamin with the ketogenic diet meal plan. It is very low on Vitamins B1, D, E, and K. Calcium, Magnesium, Manganese, and Potassium are also very low, but we need to manage those as part of our electrolyte strategy anyways on keto.

    Do not omit essential electrolytes: Sodium (Na+), Chloride (Cl-), Potassium (K+), Magnesium (Mg++), Calcium (Ca++), Phosphate (HPO4–), Bicarbonate (HCO3-). Lack of electrolytes or more pointedly the bodies primary electrolyte sodium (aka Salt) is responsible for lethargy, brain fog and keto flu symptoms on high fats diets.

    You should all be aiming for at least 8 cups of water a day. I have a 600ml bottle and I empty it at least 10 times a day. That is a lot of water and yes I am going to the bathroom a lot. Carbs hold water, so with minimal carbs this will speed up the flushing of water. So even more bathroom breaks.

    But How Do I Track all of This?!

    The “easiest” way to actually track your eating(and thus your macros)  for your ketogenic diet meal plan is to set up a free account with MyFitnessPal. This app is both web based and/or you can use it with your phone. I cannot stress the importance of tracking what you eat. Doing this has made all the difference in the world for me. Once you get your account set up you just enter the food you eat and the app calculates your total consumption for each macro and your total calories. There is also a “bar code scanner” as part of the app. You use your phone to “scan” the bar code of the food you are eating and it enters it into your daily eating plan. Genius!



A Letter To My Neurotypical Husband, From Your Autistic Wife

Before you, I knew in my marrow that I would never be suited for a conventional love relationship. How could a woman who exists mostly in her own inner world, so tightly controlled, ever share a life with another person — until “death do us part,” no less? Every attempt I’d ever made at normal had failed miserably. I am too complicated, too particular, too cerebral.


I am much too much of everything. But you don’t seem to mind at all.

Image result for A Love Letter to My Neurotypical Husband, From Your Autistic Wife

When we received my autism diagnosis and I was surprised (but also not at all) and afraid it would change things between us, you smiled and said, “We always knew your mind was something special, sweetheart,” and I relaxed because I knew you meant it in the best possible way.

Thank you for reassuring me that there’s nothing wrong with me. Thank you for loving me with tight squeezes and direct language and morning coffee with one perfect teaspoon of cinnamon. Thank you for parking in the same spot at Target every single time, even though it’s not always convenient. Thank you for listening intently to my monologue about dragonflies.

When I clung to your hand on that busy sidewalk and stopped abruptly, anxious, you said, “I’ve got you, sweetheart,” and you moved me gently around to the other side, away from the street, keeping me close, like it was second nature to you and I was an extension of your body.

Thank you for looking out for me when I’m confused about how to look out for myself. Thank you for rocking me gently while we wait in a long line at the grocery store. Thank you for suggesting I eat, drink water and go outside for some fresh air.  Thank you for reminding me of the sequence of our plans next weekend — no matter how many times I’ve already asked.

When I was angry at myself because I struggle to understand how to be romantic, affectionate and nurturing — the way other women seem to be — you said, “We don’t have to love each other in the same way, sweetheart.” I cried, overwhelmed by the sweet ache in my chest, and unable to find the words to tell you that the way you love me is exactly right and more than I ever dared dream of.

Thank you for making no demands that I pretend to be anything other than I am. Thank you for not taking it personally when I look at you blankly after you’ve made a joke and then ask you to explain why it’s funny. Thank you for watching that moody foreign film with subtitles when you’d maybe rather watch the latest blockbuster.

When I curled into your chest’s concave spot that is just my shape and size, and you wrapped your arms around me, you whispered, “I love you, sweetheart,” into my hair. I said it back, but I don’t think you realize what I mean is that I have found my safe and peaceful space in your heart — my happiest, hope-filled place. And my inner world isn’t just mine anymore. It’s yours, too.



Little Girl with Down Syndrome Slays Dance Routine After Being Rejected by a Studio

Little Girl with Down Syndrome Slays Dance Routine After Being Rejected by a Studio

Ana Malaniuk is just the most recent in a string of heroes transforming the Down syndrome narrative.

After being jilted by one dance studio for failing to fulfill their “standards,” the 6-year-old continued to pursue her passion, joining a separate studio where she eventually dominated the routine below.

The video, posted by the Canadian Down Syndrome Society, has had nearly 75,000 views. In it, Ana dances to Walk the Moon’s “Shut Up and Dance” and Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” — clearly demonstrating she’s more than capable of busting a move.

Ana’s mother Sonja told Global News her daughter has transformed since joining Amanda’s Academy of Dance, a studio that welcomes children of all kinds:

“She’s met so many friends. Her confidence has grown hugely and she just loves it…to see her on the stage, to see her with the teachers, to see her happy… It’s amazing to see that people are willing to give her a chance.”

Little Girl with Down Syndrome Slays Dance Routine After Being Rejected by a Studio

As Sonja says, kids with Down syndrome are very capable of memorizing and dancing to the studio’s routines, “they just need a little more time” to get it down.

Just like the public needs a little more time to grasp that kids like Ana are just as capable as others.



Dr. Group’s 5-Day Vegan Ketogenic Fast For Rapid Weight Loss Program

Maintaining a healthy body weight is one of the best ways to support your overall health. Excess body fat increases your susceptibility to serious conditions like type II diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, sleep apnea, fatty liver, cancer, and joint problems.[1] Many fat-loss fads, diets, and pills come and go, and very few yield lasting results. Adopting a ketogenic diet is one strategy for losing fat that’s tried, tested, and proven effective.

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Knowing this, I began my research into improving the typical ketogenic diet. People who are familiar with my work know that I’m always trying new cleanses, detox programs, and diet plans in my ongoing quest to discover new ways to improve my health. I kept coming across the many benefits of fasting, and I thought, “Why not combine principles of fasting with the best elements of a ketogenic diet and enjoy the best of both?”

What Is a Ketogenic Diet?

A ketogenic diet is a diet that provides fat and protein, but few or no carbohydrates. The body prefers glucose and glycogen, both derived from carbohydrates, as its primary source of fuel and it generally operates in a sugar-burning state known as glycolysis. Depriving the body of carbohydrates, however, forces it to use stored fat for energy. This special fat-burning mode, known as ketosis, quickly burns through fat reserves. It takes about 24-36 hours to completely burn through the glycogen stored in the muscles and liver. The catch? The body tells the brain to refuel on carbohydrates when blood sugar dips. In other words, your appetite kicks in and you feel hungry. This physiological response makes it a challenge for many people to adhere to a ketogenic diet long enough to enter ketosis.

What Is Fasting?

Fasting means avoiding food for longer stretches of time than usual, generally 12 or more hours. You may do this inadvertently if you ever skip breakfast or can’t fit lunch into your schedule. Fasting may support a healthy metabolism, encourage stable blood sugar, promote normal blood sugar, and offer other benefits for overall wellness.[2] There are many ways to fast. True, or absolute, fasting means completely abstaining from eating and drinking for a set period. Water or juice fasting allows for the consumption of certain fluids during the fast. Some people have the misconception that fasting is total starvation, but fasting is not starving—it’s simply committing to eating in accordance with a more regimented schedule.

Dr. Group’s Ketogenic Fast: The Best of Both

Both fasting and following a ketogenic diet prompt the breakdown of fat and encourage the body to detoxify itself. Many of the worst toxins are stored in fat cells. When the body burns through fat reserves, toxins are released and expelled. And, not only does a ketogenic fast encourage the body to enter fat-burning mode, it discourages the body from storing new fat. This understanding prompted me to combine principles of fasting with a ketogenic diet to develop my 5-day, vegan ketogenic fast.

Many ketogenic diets advocate the consumption of animal-based fat and protein. But, that sort of diet increases your risk of kidney stones, cancer, and cardiovascular disease.[3, 4]Conversely, a low-carb, plant-based diet is incredibly beneficial for overall health and wellness.[2] I constructed this ketogenic diet to be vegan and based it around nuts and fatty fruits like olives, coconut, and avocados—all of which provide fatty acids, fiber, micronutrients, and phytonutrients.

A ketogenic diet can boost overall wellness. Studies have found that people who follow a ketogenic diet experience better, more stable moods.[5] Some individuals report feeling profoundly happy, peaceful, and at ease.[6] There’s also evidence to suggest that fasting promotes good physical health at the cellular level.[7, 8]

The following is an account of my personal experience with the 5-day, vegan ketogenic fast.

Day 1

I began the day around 6:30 AM with 1 ounce of nuts and my standard supplement routine. Around noon, I had one tablespoon of coconut oil for lunch. Between 2-3 PM, I felt hunger pangs, which I expected. At that point, my body was still running on glycogen stores and telling me to eat carbohydrates. For dinner, I ate an avocado and six olives.

Day 2

When I awoke, I weighed myself and was astounded to discover I was nearly 9 pounds lighter! I know this was mostly water weight, but it’s remarkable to see such an incredible drop in just 24 hours. Overall, I felt more energetic than I did yesterday, and I was decidedly less hungry than day 1. My morning workout was great—I felt like I had the energy to continue for another hour.

I kept the same diet schedule as day 1. I was still hungry after the tablespoon of coconut oil for lunch, but the sensation was less intense. I had some water with a shot of apple cider vinegar to ease the hunger pangs. Later in the evening, I tried my first ketone test strip, and I was indeed in ketosis—the fat-burning state.

Day 3

This was my worst morning yet. My morning workout did not go as well as I hoped. I felt disoriented and disconnected. I noticed my thinking wasn’t as clear or sharp as normal. I stuck with the same diet; I didn’t experience any hunger, but I did feel somewhat shaky.

I felt better as the day went on. I experienced minor hunger pangs around 2:30 PM that lingered until dinner. As evening approached, I found myself in a much better state and mood.

Day 4

The morning of day 4 was like waking up from a dream. I felt incredibly energized and alert. The brain fog and weakness from day 3 was entirely gone. The real breakthrough was the mental clarity. So many people experience this incredible effect, and it’s reason enough to try fasting. I felt focused and optimistic. The ketone test strip revealed I was still in fat-burning mode and my noticeably looser pants confirmed it.

I didn’t experience any hunger, but I switched up the diet and had avocado and olives for lunch. It felt like the right decision. My body needed the larger meal to remain sustained through the rest of the work day.

Day 5

I felt even better on day 5. My energy levels were high and I didn’t experience any hunger pants. My mood was elevated and my mind was focused. I felt like I could sustain this diet for longer.

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Getting Started with Dr. Group’s 5-Day Vegan Ketogenic Fast

It’s easy to get started with my 5-day, vegan ketogenic fast. It requires just a few supplies. First, you need ketone test strips. Ketone test strips are dipped into urine to measure how many millimoles of ketones are present (which will require you to catch your urine in a cup). They are readily available online and they’re easy to use. The average reading should be about 4-6 millimoles (mM), but you may see readings as high as 8 mM. If they’re color coded, and most are, darker readings indicate you’re burning more fat. You’ll need enough strips to test your urine twice a day for the duration of the fast.

You’ll also need the nuts described in the diet below. I recommend dividing them into 1-ounce servings before beginning to remove the guesswork and reduce temptation. For the olives, I recommend whole (not pitted) kalamata olives because they’re brimming with antioxidants. Make sure everything is organic and minimally processed.

Daily Supplies

  • 2 Ketone Test Strips
  • Pecans: 1 ounce (about 19 halves) = 196 calories
  • Walnuts: 1 ounce (14 halves) = 184 calories
  • Macadamia Nuts: 1 ounce (12 kernels) = 204 calories
  • Pine Nuts: 1 ounce (about 167 kernels) = 191 calories
  • 6 Organic Non-pitted Olives = 24 calories
  • Organic Medium Avocado = 322 calories
  • Organic Raw Coconut Oil: 1 tablespoon = 120 calories
  • Average Daily Calorie Intake = 700-1240 calories

Dr. Group’s 5-Day Vegan Ketogenic Fast Daily Protocol

I’ve outlined the diet according to my preference but you can adjust the meal order to suit your needs. You’ll only eat over the course of 12 hours. I recommend starting at 6 AM and finishing your last meal around 6 PM. Use a ketone strip when you first wake up and just before you go to bed.


1 ounce of nuts, either a mix or just one kind


6 Organic Non-pitted Olives: 24 calories
1 Organic Medium Avocado: 322 calories


1 Tablespoon Organic Raw Coconut Oil: 120 calories

Drink Options

Water with Apple Cider Vinegar
Kombucha (low sugar)
Herbal Tea
Black Coffee

Supplements of Your Choice

Continue your supplement routine to provide important nutrients while you’re fasting. I continued taking VeganSafe™ B-12, Floratrex™, IntraMAX®, Detoxadine®, Cell Fuzion™, and Livatrex®.

Even though you’re not consuming a lot of food, a half serving of Oxy-Powder® every other day will support the detoxification process.

Tips and Things To Know

The trick is sticking to it long enough to reap the benefits. Most people find it extremely difficult to fast for extended periods, so I included enough food to make this plan accessible to more people.

It’s a strict diet, and you must follow it to the letter to achieve your weight loss goals.

Only those who are overweight by 15 lbs or more should adopt this fast. It’s not intended for children, people with type 1 diabetes, or breastfeeding or pregnant women. Always consult your trusted healthcare professional before starting a new diet.

If you feel your energy lagging, take vitamin B-12 for a boost. I also recommend drinking plenty of water and taking 1-2 capsules of Oxy-Powder every other day while on the fast to help flush your system.

To settle a sour stomach, drink 8 ounces of water with apple cider vinegar. If it doesn’t help, drink 4 oz of unsweetened organic almond milk.

Continuing to fast after five days can produce varied results. For some, they feel incredible and continue on an upward trend toward euphoria. Others feel a strong desire to break the fast. Listen to your body. If your body is telling you to stop fasting, stop.

For regular maintenance, perform this fast a few times a year.

Maintaining Your Progress

One of best ways to maintain your progress is to cultivate a healthy microbiome. Health begins in the gut, and a chaotic microbiome that doesn’t work with you works against you. The overall shift toward a carb-heavy, fiber-deprived diet has fundamentally altered the microbiome of most people. An investigation into the microbiome of obese individuals revealed that they have less microbial diversity in their microbiota. Bad gut bacteria repress fast-induced adipose factor (FIAF), an essential protein that regulates the use of fat stores, while fiber-loving bacteria upregulate FIAF.[8, 9]

Don’t switch back to a carb-heavy diet immediately after your fast ends. If you make it to at least day 5, you shouldn’t feel this impulse, but if you do, resist it. Gently adjust your macronutrient ratios, reduce yourself from a high-fat, moderate-protein, low-carb diet to one that’s healthy and easy to maintain.

Does Fasting Cause Muscle Loss?

Glycogen is stored in the muscles so depleting glycogen reserves can cause muscles to appear smaller. However, while some muscle may be lost during a low-calorie diet, it should be a negligible amount (especially compared to the fat loss). This diet, even though it’s a vegan diet, it provides all nine essential amino acids to support muscle mass maintenance. Regardless, the human body needs a lot less protein than most protein powder manufacturers and fitness websites would have you believe. Not only do most Americans eat several times the amount of protein that they need, most of the protein the body needs is dedicated to enzymatic activity, not the maintenance of muscle mass.

Do you have experience with fasting or ketogenic diets? Report back to the community and share your experience!


References (9)



†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. Global Healing Center does not dispense medical advice, prescribe, or diagnose illness. The views and nutritional advice expressed by Global Healing Center are not intended to be a substitute for conventional medical service. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician.




1. Is there an analogy to describe SPD?

Thinking of the brain as a “traffic director” for sensory input can be helpful when trying to understand SPD. In those with intact sensory processing, the brain acts as a traffic director and is able to take the incoming sensory information from all the senses, process it, and then send it to the appropriate location in an orderly and accurate fashion; this allows people to respond to all of the sensory information in an accurate, efficient, and functional manner, and supports their ability to move, learn, and engage socially. In individuals with SPD, however, the sensory information is not processed and sent off to the appropriate location in that expected orderly fashion, causing what you could say is a “neurological traffic jam” (a term pioneered by OT, educational psychologist, and neuroscientist Dr. A. Jean Ayres in her amazing book “Sensory Integration and the Child“). This means certain parts of the brain do not receive the correct information needed in order to interpret and respond to the sensory input, making it difficult to process and act upon the information received from the senses in an accurate, efficient, and functional manner.
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2. What does Sensory Processing Disorder look like in everyday life?

I think one of the simplest ways to describe this is to say that, with SPD, the body can respond to sensory input in one of three ways. It can:

  • Under-respond to sensory input
  • Over-respond to sensory input
  • Seek/Crave sensory input

When a sensory system is under-responsive to sensory input, this means it does not notice and respond to certain stimuli that an intact sensory system would normally notice and respond to. These sensory systems require a greater intensity of stimulation in order to notice and respond. OTs also call this “low registration” of sensory input. A few examples of what this might look like in real life include the child who does not seem aware of his body and is constantly bumping into people and objects even though vision is totally fine (under-responsive proprioception), the child who drags her hand along a fence and doesn’t notice the splinters in her fingers (under-responsive tactile), or the child who can spin and spin but never seems to get dizzy (under-responsive vestibular).

When a sensory system is over-responsive to sensory input, this means it is overly sensitive to certain stimuli that an intact sensory system would think is not that big a deal. An over-responsive sensory system can cause kids to be sensitive to, bothered by, fearful or, or totally avoidant of certain types of sensory experiences. Talk about an emotional rollercoaster! A few examples of what this might look like in real life include the child who screams and cries because the seam in the sock or the tag in the shirt is so annoying or painful (over-responsive tactile), the child who is a “picky eater” or who gags at the smell or taste of a variety of foods (over-responsive olfactory or oral-tactile), the child who defiantly refuses to enter or participate in noisy environments (over-responsive auditory), or the child who is so sensitive to movement experiences that he or she is fearful of being on unsteady surfaces (such as an escalator) or of being out of a totally upright position (over-responsive vestibular).

When a sensory system seeks or craves sensory input, this means it drives the child to actively gain access to certain types of sensory input. Similar to under-responsive systems, these sensory systems need a lot more input than typical in order to feel satisfied or “regulated”. Sensory seekers CRAVE this type of input and do whatever they can to get it. This can often cause them to appear impulsive, fidgety, inattentive, or “naughty”. A few examples of what this might look like in real life include the child who chews on everything (seeking oral-proprioception), the child who touches everything (seeking tactile), the child who leans on everything (seeking proprioception), or the child who just can’t sit still (seeking vestibular).

3. Do all the senses respond in the same way (under-responding, over-responding, or seeking/craving)? Or can different senses respond in different ways?

Sensory Processing Disorder can (and often does) occur in relation to more than one sensory system, however, each sensory system responds to sensory input in its own way. So a child (or grown-up) with SPD may be over-responsive in one or more senses while simultaneously being under-responsive or sensory seeking in other senses. Additionally, a person’s ability to process and respond to particular types of sensory input can vary from day to day, hour to hour, even minute to minute.

This can be extremely frustrating for parents, teachers, therapists, medical professionals, and even the children themselves. One day (or one minute) they may be fine with the hum of the air conditioning or the fluorescent lights in the room, and then the next…it is unbearable to them. One day they may be okay eating a food of a certain texture or wearing a particular pair of socks, and then the next…the sight or thought of them makes them scream and cry. The body is constantly working to filter out what is necessary and focus on what is important, and then trying to respond to all of that input in a functional way. For a person with disordered sensory processing, the brain and body need extra help to be able to balance all of this incoming sensory input and appropriately respond to it (often referred to as “modulation”).

As you can probably tell, Sensory Processing Disorder is very complex, and very tricky!

4. What causes Sensory Processing Disorder?

At this point in time, the exact cause of Sensory Processing Disorder is unknown. But we do know from research that SPD is neurologically based; the brains of individuals with SPD are actually different than those of individuals who do not have SPD. In Chapter 13 of  “Sensational Kids”, Dr. Lucy Jane Miller notes that current research suggests three “leading contenders” that contribute to Sensory Processing Disorder – heredity, prenatal and birth complications (such as prematurity or labor and delivery difficulties), and environmental factors (such as sensory deprivation, trauma, or abuse). However, like many conditions, more research is needed to in order to truly be able to identify the causes of SPD.

5. Who diagnoses Sensory Processing Disorder?

At this point in time, Sensory Processing Disorder is not a formal medical diagnosis. That is, it is not listed as its own category in the most current version of the handbook used for diagnosing neurologically-based disorders such as Autism, ADHD, OCD, and Depression. That being said, in my experience, children with sensory challenges who are referred for occupational therapy evaluation and/or treatment often come in with a referring diagnosis code (ICD-9 code) such as “Sensory Integration Dysfunction.” So it does “exist” in that sense. Unfortunately, there is no blood test, DNA test, or other medical test that will come back “positive” for SPD. However, as any parent of a child with SPD will tell you, this does not mean Sensory Processing Disorder is not real. It just means there is still millions of dollars of research that needs to be done in order to demonstrate that SPD is a condition that is separate from the other neurological disorders.

As pediatric occupational therapists, we do not treat the diagnosis; we treat the whole child. So, to be honest, to us it doesn’t really matter what “diagnosis” a child has when they are referred to OT. We look at what the child’s strengths are, what occupations they are struggling with, what skills or abilities are needed to be able to perform those occupations, and then we set goals and create a treatment plan to help them be able to more fully engage, participate in, and enjoy life. This can include addressing sensory processing difficulties and their impact on daily life. That being said, having SPD added to the list of “official” medical diagnoses has the potential to positively impact the lives of so many families as it can open doors to more easily access therapies and resources needed to be able to overcome the symptoms of SPD and improve the child’s ability to participate and THRIVE in daily life.

Answers to commonly asked questions about Sensory Processing Disorder - Mama OT #sensory #OTtips #childdevelopment

7. Can SPD occur on its own, apart from other diagnoses, or does it only come with other disorders? What other disorders does it co-occur with?

Research has already shown that the brains of children with SPD are different (and respond differently to sensory input) than those diagnosed with disorders such as Autism and ADHD. Yes, Sensory Processing Disorder can and does absolutely occur on its own. However, it also can and does occur alongside many other diagnoses such as Autism (at least 75% of individuals with Autism also have SPD), ADHD (approximately half of those with ADHD also have SPD), OCD, Depression, PTSD, Prematurity, Developmental Delays, Learning Disorders, and more.
10. How early can SPD be identified and what are some red flags to look out for?

Sensory processing difficulties can often (but not always) be identified during the first year of life, though it is not usually until late in the child’s first year or beyond that parents or medical professionals suspect a child’s behavioral or developmental difficulties might be related to sensory processing.

As I mentioned previously, kids may either over-respond, under-respond, or seek/crave certain types of sensory input. Dr. Lucy Jane Miller’s book, “Sensational Kids”, has some great checklists in Chapter 2 to help parents identify whether their child might be exhibiting signs of SPD. Below are some examples from those checklists, all of which are commonly known to OTs who are trained to work with children with SPD. For an online checklist, check out this SPD checklist/guide from the SPD Foundation.

Answers to commonly asked questions about Sensory Processing Disorder - Mama OT #sensory #OTtips #childdevelopment

Some red flags related to over-responsive sensory systems can include avoiding or being extremely bothered by certain textures, fabrics, messy substances on hands or face, grooming tasks (tooth or hair brushing, nail clipping), smells, sounds, lights, or movements (particularly not wanting to be laid down for diaper changes as a baby or not wanting to be out of an upright position as a child). Children with over-responsive sensory systems may appear to be irritable (babies often express an over-responsive tactile system by arching), aggressive, impulsive, overly cautious, or overly rigid in their desire for structure and predictability.

Answers to commonly asked questions about Sensory Processing Disorder - Mama OT #sensory #OTtips #childdevelopment

Some red flags related to under-responsive sensory systems can include appearing to not “register” the sensation or pain caused by minor injuries (such as splinters or sprains), seeming to not sense typical body sensations such as hunger/temperature/full bladder or bowel, preferring sedentary activities over physical play, seeming oblivious to what’s going on in the environment, and generally demonstrating a lack of body and spatial awareness. Children with under-responsive sensory systems may appear passive, lethargic, slow, unmotivated, uncoordinated, or disinterested in social interactions.

Answers to commonly asked questions about Sensory Processing Disorder - Mama OT #sensory #OTtips #childdevelopment

Some red flags related to sensory seeking/craving can include excessive movement, fidgeting, wiggling, spinning/jumping/rolling/climbing, touching everything, non-stop talking, seeking out vibration (such as washing machine, dishwasher, vibrating toothbrush or toys), licking/mouthing/chewing non-food objects, consistently smelling objects, seeking out certain noises, seeking out visual input, and preferring strong foods and textures (lemons, hot sauce, pickles, ice cubes, crunchy foods, etc.). This can cause children to behave as if they are impulsive, angry, difficult to calm down, disobedient, or difficult to control.

Answers to commonly asked questions about Sensory Processing Disorder - Mama OT #sensory #OTtips #childdevelopment

8 What should parents do if they suspect their child is demonstrating red flags or symptoms of Sensory Processing Disorder?

If you are a parent and you suspect your child may be demonstrating significant sensory processing difficulties, mention it to your child’s primary care provider (usually the pediatrician) and be an advocate for your child!Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for pediatricians to brush off parental concerns regarding sensory processing difficulties. I have heard many examples from parents where the pediatrician either disregarded the concern altogether (saying something to the effect of, “He’ll grow out it, he’s just active because he’s a boy”, or, “She’ll grow out of it, all toddlers and preschoolers are picky eaters.”), or completely overlooked the sensory issues and labeled them as something else entirely (such as Oppositional Defiance Disorder or ADHD) when, in fact, it was the sensory issues that were driving the defiance or the hyperactivity. So, as both a parent and a professional, I strongly feel that parents need to be advocates for their kids. I’m not saying you need to be hostile toward your child’s doctor. Please don’t! But you know your child best. You know how they have been since the day they were born (and before), and you know how significantly their daily life is impacted by their difficulties. Speak up, and keep a record of when you brought up these concerns so you can refer to it later when working with other medical professionals if needed.

If and when you do talk to the pediatrician about your concerns, emphasize how these sensory processing difficulties are impacting your child’s ability to perform activities of daily living such as bathing, grooming, dressing, eating, self-feeding, sleeping, or playing. You can also emphasize any safety concerns you have, such as your 4-year-old unsafely seeking movement by climbing onto countertops or fences and then jumping off, or becoming so overstimulated in noisy environments that she begins crashing her body into walls, banging her head, or punching and hitting people. Once you have shared your concerns with the pediatrician, he or she can then put in a referral for an occupational therapy evaluation and, depending on the results, OT treatment sessions can then begin in order to address the areas of concern and goals that are written as part of the evaluation process.
9. How can occupational therapy help kids with sensory processing difficulties?

As you can imagine, sensory processing difficulties can make completing everyday childhood activities quite…well…difficult. They can impact a child’s ability to perform self-care tasks (such as bathing and washing their face, brushing their hair or teeth, going to the bathroom, being able to dress or feed themselves), participate in mealtimes and receive adequate nutrition, go out into and participate in the community (grocery store, birthday parties, restaurants), or develop the motor and social skills needed to participate and make progress in school.

Answers to commonly asked questions about Sensory Processing Disorder - Mama OT #sensory #OTtips #childdevelopment

Occupational therapists help kids with sensory processing difficulties in a few different ways:


  • Identifying what the big-picture problems or concerns are as it relates to daily function (such as being able to bathe, eat, or play with friends).
  • Identifying what specific patterns of sensory processing patterns are contributing to these big-picture problems. This can be done through a combination of standardized assessment, parent interview, a review of previous medical or developmental records, and clinical observation of the child.
  • Identifying other factors in addition to sensory processing (such as low muscle tone, poor motor coordination, difficulties with emotional control or short attention span, etc.) that may be contributing to the child’s difficulties in the big-picture problem areas.
  • Identifying measurable goals that will support the child’s progress in the big-picture problem areas.


  • Creating a treatment plan to help the child work on specific skill areas in order to make progress on their goals.
  • Implementing treatment activities to target the specific skill areas needed to meet the goals.
  • Monitoring the child’s progress in an ongoing manner in order to determine whether the goals are still appropriate or if they need to be changed.


  • Continually communicating and collaborating with the family members who are involved with the child’s OT treatment and follow-through at home, including monitoring of the child’s individualized home program, often referred to as a SENSORY DIET (what’s that?).
  • Collaboration with other professionals who work with the child, as appropriate (such as educational staff, Behavior, Speech, PT, Counseling, Psych, or other medical professionals).


  • This usually goes hand-in-hand with collaboration, but helping family members and other professionals figure out how to accommodate for the child’s sensory needs (e.g., having an “escape plan” or noise-reducing headphones in a noisy environment, allowing them to sit on an exercise ball while reading or taking a test) or modify the actual environment to improve their ability to participate (e.g., reducing clutter in a visually distracting room, hanging a swing in the room to provide more targeted opportunities for vestibular input, converting a garage into a sensory/home therapy room).

This combination of evaluation, treatment, collaboration, and accommodations or modifications tends to create a holistic, powerful approach to help kids who struggle with sensory processing difficulties.




Now my famous low carb Brownie Cheesecake comes in miniature! A perfect keto grain-free dessert for two.

Low Carb Brownie Cheesecake for Two. Easy LCHF Keto dessert recipe.

So you had to know this was coming, right? I mean, c’mon! You should have seen this coming a million miles away. You must have seen the writing on the wall. The signs were so obvious, so glaringly obvious. You’d have to be completely oblivious to have missed them. I’d even go so far as to say that this recipe was pre-destined, pre-ordained by a higher power. There was no escaping it. One could not change the course of fate. The gods of dessert decided long ago that I would be making a mini low carb brownie cheesecake for two some day in my life. And that day was just last week, when my husband was traveling and I wanted just a wee bit of healthy dessert. I am happy to say that I have fulfilled the prophecy and lived up to the dessert gods expectations.

Sugar-free chocolate ganache over low carb brownie cheesecake.

Really, from the moment I started making low carb mini cakes, this really was an obvious one. I mean, my full size Brownie Cheesecake is far and away one of the most popular recipes here on All Day I Dream About Food. And why shouldn’t it be? Creamy dreamy vanilla cheesecake atop a thick crust of dense, rich grain-free brownie. Bam. Done. Best dessert ever. Don’t even try to find anything that tops it because that, my friends, is an impossibility.

Sugar free chocolate topping for cheesecake.

But you know, being the best dessert ever does have its downfall. And that is temptation. When it’s that tasty, when it rivals the best conventional desserts in flavour and richness, you run the risk of wanting to plow your face right into the pan and gobble the whole thing one go.

Image result for brownie cheesecake for two

This is a course of action I do not generally recommend, except in times of extreme need and stress. Even then, I caution you to proceed carefully, as you are likely to spend a great deal of time with a tummy ache. That much cream cheese and chocolate in one go would fell even the most dedicated of dessert eaters.

Mini low carb grain-free Chocolate Brownie Cheesecake recipe.

Solution: make the best low carb dessert ever in miniature, just enough for you to share with a loved one. That way, if hard times hit and stress-eating is upon you, you can in fact plow your face into the pan and eat the whole thing in one go, without the resulting tummy ache. Problem solved.

Mini Low Carb Brownie Cheesecake for Two. A perfect keto dessert for sharing!

Cook’s Notes: If you don’t have mini cheesecake pans, you can cook it as several mini muffin-tin cheesecakes. Be sure to line them with parchment liners for easy release. Or you could make them in a 4-inch ramekin and simply eat it straight out of the ramekin. Grease it well!

Brownie Cheesecake for Two

Yield: 1 mini cheesecake

Serving Size: 1/2 cheesecake


Now my famous low carb Brownie Cheesecake comes in miniature! A perfect keto grain-free dessert for two.

This recipe contains links to Amazon Affiliates: All Day I Dream About Food is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.


    • Brownie Base:
    • 1 1/2 tbsp butter
    • 1 1/2 tbsp cocoa powder
    • 1 1/2 tbsp almond flour
    • 1 1/2 tbsp powdered Swerve Sweetener
    • 1 large egg,divided (this will be split between the crust and the filling)
    • 1/8 tsp vanilla
    • 1 tbsp chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)
    • 3 ounces cream cheese, softened
    • 1 1/2 tbsp Swerve Sweetener
    • 1 tbsp full fat sour cream
    • 1/8 tsp vanilla extract
Cheater’s Chocolate Ganache (optional):


Brownie Base:
    1. Preheat oven to 325F and grease a 4-inch mini cheesecake pan. Wrap bottom outside of pan in foil to avoid leakage.
    2. In a microwave safe bowl, melt butter. Whisk in cocoa powder, almond flour, and sweetener until smooth.
    3. In a glass measuring cup, whisk egg until lightly beaten, then add about HALF of the egg to the bowl (reserve remaining egg for filling mixture). Add vanilla extract and whisk until well combined. Stir in chopped nuts.
    4. Spread in prepared mini cheesecake pan and smooth as best you can (I used my fingers). Bake 8 to 10 minutes, until set around the sides but not in the center. Remove and let cool while preparing the filling.
Cheesecake Filling:
    1. Reduce oven temperature to 300F.
    2. In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese with sweetener until well combined. Beat in the remaining egg from the crust, the sour cream, and vanilla extract until smooth. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, until edges are set but filling jiggles just slightly in the center.
    3. Remove and let cool, then refrigerate until set, at least 2 hours. Run a sharp knife around the inside of the pan and release the sides.
Cheaters Chocolate Ganache:
  1. In a microwave-safe bowl, melt butter and chocolate together on high in 30 second increments. Stir until smooth. Drizzle over cooled cheesecake just before serving.


Serves 2. Each serving has 2.51g NET CARBS without the ganache and 4.04g NET CARBS with the ganache.

Without ganache: Food energy: 286kcal Total fat: 24.71g Calories from fat: 222 Cholesterol: 72mg Carbohydrate: 5.57g Total dietary fiber: 2.06g Protein: 6.45g Erythritol: 22.5g

With ganache: Food energy: 339kcal Total fat: 30.04g Calories from fat: 270 Cholesterol: 80mg Carbohydrate: 8.40g Total dietary fiber: 4.36g Protein: 6.84g Erythritol: 22.5g

Mini Low Carb Brownie Cheesecake. LCHF THM Banting Keto Recipe.