What are learning disorders?
At Kotsanis Institute of Functional Medicine in Grapevine, TX, we believe that learning disorders span a vast array of behaviors and symptoms for patients young and old. For this reason, it's very important to have objective testing that measures the metabolic variables we have found important in treatment. No two patients are alike. Dr. Constantine Kotsanis, the founder of our practice, spent most of his career in functional medicine fine-tuning his patients' health.
The first three weeks of the program are designed to ease you into the changes that will eventually get you to your goal. Below is a brief description of the various metabolic functions we test and some of the treatments. Dr. Kotsanis' research relied heavily on the human body’s immune competence, its general ability to function properly, and its ability to eliminate waste and toxins. For patients with learning disorders, he believed that great attention must be given to correcting digestive function as a necessary step in treating not only ADD, ADHD, related behavior, and developmental and communication disorders — but also autism, Asperger syndrome, and Tourette's syndrome. Currently, our team is accepting new patients with learning disorders in any stage of life. Patients young and old seek treatment locally, nationally, and internationally. If you'd like an appointment, please contact us now online or call our office in Grapevine, TX.
Learning Disorders Reviews
"What a great place! So glad I was referred by a friend! I Cannot refer this place enough. Completely focused on functional medicine, not just the symptoms. So treating the root cause! Going to refer family here!"- M.W. / Google / Dec 03, 2021
"What a great place! So glad I was referred by a friend! I Cannot refer this place enough. Completely focused on functional medicine, not just the symptoms. So treating the root cause! Going to refer family here!"- M.W. / Google / Dec 19, 2021
How do I know if I have a learning disorder?
This page on learning disorders is not meant to tell you that you or your child has a learning disorder. Rather, the purpose of this page is to inform you of concepts to consider and discuss with your family and caregivers. In no way should this information be used to diagnose or treat any disorder. We advise you to have a qualified medical professional perform a physical exam and order appropriate testing. The information included here is based on Dr. Kotsanis' personal clinical experience treating patients starting in 1983, as well as a review of published scientific literature and medical studies. Dr. Kotsanis integrated both mainstream and complementary medicine. This practice, known as integrative medicine, embraces principles and treatment methods that may or may not be accepted or embraced by conventional medical providers, individual physicians, or other health care institutions like the FDA or the AMA.
Digestive Tract Testing
In our 1992 autism and developmental disorder research study, 92% of subjects had disordered digestive functioning present. When the digestive malfunction in these subjects was treated for digestion issues, their behaviors, sleep, bowel habits, communication, cognitive health, social skills, and overall mental health improved. To test for disordered digestion, our team may order a comprehensive digestive stool analysis (CDSA).
When you have a learning disorder, we believe that your nutrition is critical. Our approach is focused and highly specific to each patient's metabolic profile. We make nutritional recommendations derived directly from comprehensive testing and medical history.
Fatty Acid Testing
Since the brain and nervous system are composed of more than 60% fat, it is essential for the diet to contain the proper kinds and amounts of lipids. This varies from person to person. At Kotsanis Institute, we have a highly specific fatty acid test that evaluates different lipid and lipid metabolite values and ratios. Once the results are in, we can direct our patients to eat the proper fats based on the test results. Proper fats are necessary to keep the right permeability for cell membranes to allow food in and waste out.
Amino Acid Testing
The amino acid testing we do includes amino acid and metabolic values. As with the fatty acid test, we make adjustments to the patient's diet in order to accommodate for imbalances. Here again, proper proteins in the diet are necessary in order to build healthy cells.
Blood Hormone Testing
We will check the status of your hormone levels through a simple blood test. There is a possibility that you may have a hormonal deficiency or a surplus and may require medication to supplement your hormonal function.
We Combine Multiple Treatments for Learning Disorders
Our treatments address multiple factors that are believed to impact behavior and learning. We have listed below some of the steps we currently use to assess and treat learning and developmental disorders. To determine the level of need and the best treatment options, we will use information gathered from testing (as discussed above), a consultation, a physical exam, and a complete medical history.
Digestive Tract Improvements
Having a buildup of waste or an inability to consistently eliminate waste from your body will eventually cause a cascade of other problems. The digestive system is your main elimination system. While Kotsanis Institute of Functional Medicine has been researching in this area for several decades, we feel it is important to incorporate what we have learned about the digestive tract's impact on learning and behavioral disorders. With increasing pollution and the degradation of dietary habits internationally, we have seen a correlative increase in incidences of both developmental and learning disorders.
Treatments for the digestive tract must be highly specific to each individual patient for optimal results. To that end, one of the most critical tests we do evaluates every facet of digestion, including enzymes, acidity, transit time, balance of normal flora, evaluation of abnormal organisms, parasitology, etc. Our testing yields more than 24 different measures of digestive efficiency. The treatment derived from these values may help with normal digestive function and healing the digestive tract by
- Balancing gut ecology
- Making dietary changes
- Cleansing the digestive tract of any harmful fungus, bacteria, and parasites
- Supplementing diet with adequate nutrients
Proper nutrition should initiate healing. Regaining a healthy digestive tract is the foundation of our treatment plan.
Low-dose antigen (LDA) therapy
LDA therapy is a form of allergy treatment that has shown a high level of effectiveness in treating ADD and ADHD, as well as other developmental and learning disorders. We have used this treatment in our clinic since 1995. Treatment requires the patient to come into the doctor’s office every 2 – 3 months for an injection. The treatments last for three years. After that point, some people need boosters while others can discontinue therapy. LDA therapy works by helping to manipulate cytokine production in order to block allergies.
Having an undiagnosed viral infection might be a factor for patients with learning disorders. Once found and diagnosed, we can offer medications and homeopathic remedies for treatment that can be administered at home.
Eliminating Heavy metals & chemical toxins
Eliminating toxic heavy metals may improve learning and behavior. Metals are abundantly present in our world and can come from literally thousands of places (e.g. soda cans, deodorant, toothpaste, candy, cookware, air, water, paint, plumbing, etc.). Our physicians have many years of experience using chelation therapy with both adults and children to help remove these toxins.
When toxicity is excessive, we may prescribe a series of massages and sauna treatments. The excretory organs must be in good working order prior to starting this type of program. The best way to eliminate chemicals is through the skin during a session in an infrared sauna.
All aspects of the sensory system are important, too. Kotsanis Institute of Functional Medicine provides special exercises for parents to do with their children. Some children are hypersensitive to touch while others love to be wrapped tightly and hugged. We offer sensory system testing for auditory integration and for gross and fine motor skills.
Therapeutic sensory integration lenses, prescribed by a functional optometrist, not only provide proper refraction (20/20 vision) but can also disperse light stimuli so that the image correctly reaches the retina. This helps coordinate the visual input of both the peripheral and central image formations to the brain. Once the light has reached the correct anatomical part of the retina, the retina will fire signals to the brain in the proper sequence.
ELECTROCHEMICAL & pH-DRIVEN THERAPIES
Infrared laser treatments
We use this treatment to help reduce pain, inflammation, lymphatic dysfunction, which is a major characteristic of this population.
We use homeopathy with many patients. It can be very helpful when dealing with fragile patients, since it is always a gentle and non-invasive option that's also easy to deliver (usually sublingual drops or pellets). Most commonly, homeopathy may help in dealing with the viral load and with heavy metal detoxification.
Buffers are also tools in our arsenal. They are oral and act to change the pH inside the tissues of the body.
Other Options for LD Treatment
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT)
While we do not currently offer hyperbaric oxygen therapy in our clinic, it is highly recommended. HBOT is a medical treatment that uses high-pressure oxygen as a drug. Patients sit in an enclosure where pressurized oxygen is released. By adjusting the dose of oxygen, the timing, and the number of treatments, we can help to treat inflammation by forcing oxygen into your body tissue.
Parasites love your digestive tract. Parasitology deserves extra attention in the case of developmentally challenged patients. While many people with parasites may appear to function normally, there is often an incremental improvement in behavior after eliminating parasites, which excrete their waste inside their host, who may already have a compromised ability to eliminate their own waste. In some cases, parasite cleansing alone has produced stark results in improved behavior and health. If testing reveals the existence of parasites, a sensitivity test can help us identify what medication to try to successfully eradicate the pest.
Learning Disorders FAQ
What are the most common learning disorders?
The most common learning disorders include:
- Dyslexia (affects reading and reading comprehension)
- ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)
- Dyscalculia (affects mathematical ability)
- Dysgraphia (affects writing)
- Dyspraxia (affects movement and coordination)
- Nonverbal learning disabilities
- Visual perceptual/visual motor deficit
What are the symptoms of a learning disorder?
The most common symptoms of a learning disorder include difficulty reading and writing, performing basic math, memory issues, difficulty paying attention, difficulty following directions, telling time, staying organized, and clumsiness. Other signs can include trouble focusing, poor social skills, disruptiveness, acting out, and working at a slow pace. However, a learning disorder can present in a number of different ways — so the only way to properly diagnose a learning disorder is with testing done by a physician.
How many people have a learning disorder?
As many as 10% of children under the age of 18 can be affected by a learning disorder. According to the LDA (Learning Disabilities Association of America), almost 20% of adults have a learning disability. Famous people with a learning disorder include Keanu Reeves, Michael Phelps, Steven Spielberg, Charles Schwab, Karina Smirnoff, Cher, and many more.
Navigating Your Life With A Learning Disorder
Would you like to schedule a consultation to find out more about the diagnosis and treatment of learning disorders? Our skilled team takes a whole-body approach to treatment when it comes to addressing your health concerns. With our knowledge and experience, we can help you navigate life with a learning disorder. If you would like to discover new methods of treatment for learning disorders, please call and schedule an appointment for your child or yourself at our Grapevine, TX office at Kotsanis Institute of Functional Medicine.