Disorders in Children- whats going on?

When I was in college, over fifteen years ago, one of my best friends got married. I asked him if he was planning on having children and he replied, ” I don’t think so.” Knowing that he would make an amazing father I asked him why not and he said that he was worried that something might be wrong with the child. I thought that was such an illogical way to think – because there were so many “what if’s” involved in making a decision like that. But fast forward 10 years and I was pregnant with my first child, not even thirty years old yet and after running a few tests the doctor tells me that I am at a high risk for having a child born with down syndrome. I can’t even tell you the rest of the conversation with the doctor. All I heard was “down syndrome” and my world shattered for a moment. All those “what if’s” came back to me with a vengeance. But then, there was my husband -my voice of reason. Saying what difference does it make? It’s still our child to love. He was right.(for once!)  We still opted to do the amniocentesis, not that we would have ever terminated our baby, but to be more prepared if something was wrong with our child. Fortunately, our child was born healthy.


With any first-born child, we tend to dwell on the smallest things. Why isn’t he walking, why isn’t he talking yet. Why isn’t he reading yet? Developmental problems, behavior problems, motor sensory problems all start drowning our thoughts. Others say not to worry about it, and we nervously laugh it off. But the issue is there. I see it in the schools, in Carson’s class; I hear other mothers talk about it. Children with autism, motor sensory disorders, ADHD and anxiety are increasing at an alarming rate.


I’m  not an expert on children’s disorders, but I personally think that the increase in numbers is linked to better awareness and diagnosis. Perhaps over diagnosis at times. For instance, autism – CDC is now saying that 1 in 68 children have autism compared with 10 years ago when that figure was 1 in 125. That is a huge increase in children being diagnosed with autism. Dr. Seneef, a senior research scientist at MIT claims that by 2025, half of the children born in the United States will be diagnosed with autism. That’s quite a claim. Whether it will be true or not, only time will tell. Many blame vaccines, or GMO’s or herbicides for the increase. I personally think that GMO’s and herbicides have something to do with the increase. Are we so naive to think that when we genetically alter genes in our food and consume it that we aren’t being affected as well? I’d hope not. But what can we do about it?

We were so relieved to find out that our child didn’t have down syndrome, we thought we were out of the woods.But now we are faced with so many other decisions affecting our children’s health. There is so much focus on what to eat and what not to eat that it can get so overwhelming. Do you take the time to read the labels on our fruits and vegetables? The labels are called PLU codes and it does more than just tell us what fruit we are buying. It tells us if its been genetically modified or if its organically grown. Dr. Frank Lipman gives us a run down on the basics we need to know when reading those stickers on our fruits.


  1. If there are only four numbers in the PLU, this means that the produce was grown conventionally or “traditionally” with the use of pesticides. The last four letters of the PLU code are simply what kind of vegetable or fruit. An example is that all bananas are labeled with the code of 4011.
  2. If there are five numbers in the PLU code, and the number starts with “8″, this tells you that the item is a genetically modified fruit or vegetable. Genetically modified fruits and vegetables trump being organic. So, it is impossible to eat organic produce that are grown from genetically modified seeds. A genetically engineered (GE or GMO) banana would be: 84011
  3. If there are five numbers in the PLU code, and the number starts with “9″, this tells you that the produce was grown organically and is not genetically modified. An organic banana would be: 94011

My family tries to buy organic foods and stay away from processed foods as much as possible. If we can’t buy all organic, we at least try to stay away from the dirty dozen which is the top 12 items that are the most contaminated with pesticides. Those include:

  • Peaches
  • Apples
  • Sweet Bell Peppers
  • Celery
  • Nectarines
  • Strawberries
  • Cherries
  • Pears
  • Grapes (Imported)
  • Spinach
  • Lettuce
  • Potatoes

And I always rinse my fruits and vegetables with a 3 to 1 part water and vinegar mix. Experts have found that this mixture kills 98% bacteria and removes most pesticides.Which is better than nothing!  What do you think is causing the increase in problems? What are you doing about it? Are you making changes for a healthier family?

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