Kids with disabilities may need more food

Strawberries are a great healthy foodAll kids are growing and changing constantly and require a certain amount of food in order to grow healthy. When children are using their muscles to roll, sit up, crawl, walk, run, jump and climb, their muscles are using a lot of energy. Kids that have disabilities including abnormal muscle tone require even more energy to do these same activities. Their muscles work even harder just to do small movements.

Let me explain abnormal tone. Kids with high tone or hypertonicity appear to get stiff when they try to move. Kids with low tone or hypotonicity appear floppy and their muscles don’t seem to get tight when used.

No matter what the reason is, our kids with problems moving need more food for their muscles. It takes more effort from their muscles to work; therefore they are burning their food up faster. So, in order to continue to grow and have enough energy to move the best way they can, our kids need more food. This explains how tired our kids seem to be at the end of the day. Their muscles have worked so hard all through the day to do different activities that they have used up all the food they have eaten.

An example: A child that doesn’t have problems moving may only need 3 meals a day with a total of 1500 to 2000 calories. A child that has difficulty using his muscles may need more than 3 meals with a total of 3000 to 4000 calories.

There are additional reasons that our kids need more food as well. Some of the medicines our children are on for seizures, attention problems, or muscle tone absorb a lot of the nutrients that they need to move. Also, kids that have difficulty eating tend to use more energy just to chew and swallow their food. Remember, they are using muscles when they are eating too, which uses up the calories they are trying their best to eat.

Our kids that have difficulty moving their bodies sometimes have other things going on. So it is very important to talk with your speech therapist or doctor before adding foods. He or she will be able to discuss with you to decide the best way to make sure your kid is getting enough food and the right kind of foods.

Sunday, June 10th, 2012 in Healthy Kids

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