Holistic and Integrated Therapies for Children with Learning Difficulties

Holistic and Integrated Therapies for Children with Learning Difficulties



Children with learning difficulties do not only face problems at school, but may also encounter challenges beyond academics such as relationships with family, friends and in the future workplace. Helping them to develop their full potential may require a holistic approach of conventional treatments and complementary health modalities such as Craniosacral Therapy and Integrative Manual Therapy, nutritional support, behavioural therapies, and lifestyle changes. Every child is different and therefore the combination of interventions needed can be varied from child to child.



What are Learning Difficulties and Disabilities?


Many children are facing various learning difficulties in school every day, such as struggling to read, write and spell, lack of attention, problems with maths, poor memory, clumsiness and impulsive behaviour. Some of them may have diagnoses such as Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Asperger's Syndrome, Sensory Processing Disorder, Dyscalculia, Dysgraphia. Yet there are a number of children who have their own specific learning difficulties which cannot be included in any of the above terms.



Early Signs of Imbalances in Children 


Whether it is because of falls while learning to walk or run, accidents such as hitting the edge of a furniture, blows to the head with a ball in sports or the birth moulding process, the retained physical stress or imbalances can delay or impede the growth and development of the body and brain in children, it can also predispose them to face more challenges later on at school, at work, in relationships, and in the community 


However, unlike adults, children with misalignments and restrictions in the body may not have the words to express the pain and discomfort clearly.  Yet parents may notice them showing peculiar physical or behavioural presentations such as the inability to sit still or focus for a reasonable amount of time, losing temper easily or difficulty in regulating their moods.


Some of the common early signs of physical imbalances in babies and children are:

  1. Postural Asymmetries. Tilting the head to one side, uneven shoulder levels or difficulty in turning the head to either side are signs that children are struggling with misalignment and tensions in their bodies. Children may find it very uncomfortable to sit still or hold a posture for an extended period of time, and therefore it is difficult for them to concentrate at school. 


  1. Physical pain and discomforts. Children may complain of a persistent or recurring pain, such as headaches, growing pains, stomach aches or other physical aches and pains. 


  1. Tensions within the Craniosacral System. The Craniosacral system which comprises the cranium, spine and the sacrum, houses our central nervous system. Restrictions within this system can impede the flow of the cerebrospinal fluid that nourishes the brain, and therefore affects its optimal functioning and information processing. It may also  give rise to symptoms such as poor sleep, headaches, frequent sinuses blockages and recurrent ear infections. 


  1. Poor Coordination and Balance. Children may appear to be consistently clumsy and  have bumps or falls all the time. Difficulty with fine motor skills such as holding a pencil can also link to  poor coordination.


  1. Poor Sleep


  1. Behavioural and Emotional problems


  1. Poor digestion




How can CST and IMT help children with Learning and Emotional difficulties?


Craniosacral Therapy (CST) and Integrative Manual Therapy (IMT) are useful holistic complementary therapies to alleviate the symptoms and struggles faced by children with learning difficulties and disabilities naturally. They can also enhance other interventions and provide holistic support to children with special needs. 


Craniosacral therapy (CST) is non-invasive and safe treatment that aims to restore the balance in the craniosacral system, and thus enhancing the body's physiological function and general wellbeing. Whilst Integrative Manual Therapy (IMT) is a gentle holistic therapy to health that corrects the underlying causes of a person’s problems. Through gentle pressures with various manual techniques at specific reflex points and, CST and IMT can help children to:


  1. Enhance the Neurological functions of the Brain and Central Nervous System. Misalignment in the craniosacral system or tensions in the meninges may alter the quality and quantity of neural inputs to and from the brain, affecting our learning abilities, such as concentration, reading and language processing. Craniosacral Therapy (CST) and Integrative Manual Therapy (IMT) can help to release these restrictions, freeing up the tensions along the cranial nerves, and improving blood circulation in the head, alleviating symptoms such as hyperactivity, processing issues and sensory integration symptoms. Restoring balance to the Craniosacral System can promote the smooth flow of the cerebrospinal fluid which brings nutrients and immune support for optimal functions in the brain.


  1. Moderate the reactions to Hearing and Sensory Stimuli. Through gentle cranial adjustment and fascial releases, CST and  IMT can help to reduce the tension patterns around the ears and eyes, which are particularly helpful to children who suffer from dyslexia, processing disorders or sensory integration problems. 


  1. Correct the Body Asymmetry and Relieve Physical Discomfort. IMT is effective in treating joint and spinal misalignment, reducing the hindrances to children's growth and development, including coordination, fine and gross motor skills in children. Improved body symmetry and flexibility, especially in the head, neck and spine areas, can also increase children's ability and comfort to sit still and focus for a longer period of time. 


  1. Improve Sleep and Promote Relaxation. CST and IMT can help to calm down the overstimulated nervous system and  facilitate a tranquil quality of sleep, enabling children to stay in a better physical state to learn and retain concepts, as well as to regulate their mood.


CST and IMT are also wonderful ways for parents and caregivers to recharge and unwind. 


Please feel free to contact us for further information on helping and supporting your child.


Related Blogs:

8 Health Tips for Better Sleep in Children and Adolescents

Improving Sleep with Integrative Manual Therapy




   Craniosacral Therapist

   Integrative Manual Therapist (USA)