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Thread: for zoeyz, a very goofy theory

  1. #1
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    Default for zoeyz, a very goofy theory

    zoeyz - you have made an interesting connection and I'll tell you what I know (we live at 6500 ft). Here would be my *very goofy* theory of your situation:

    there is absolutely research showing that babies born at altitude tend to be at lower birth weight, presumably due to oxygen levels. This doesn't entirely make sense to me since once you're at altitude for a certain period of time, your hemoglobin levels should go up, as mine did (I became pg with my youngest about a month after we had moved to this altitude from sea level, so I was concerned). Anyway, I know the research is out there. Plus, as for the infancy question, as you know, 8,000 ft seems to be another threshold over which the oxygen levels are so much lower that, for example, asthma can be a much greater problem. Also, I vaguely recall an association with altitude and clotting (and there I'd be thinking in utero), but I may be remembering that wrong LOL.

    Certain books I have read have mentioned the theory that a deprivation of oxygen in connection with birth (I don't know why they don't think outside the box a little more and include the entire time in utero as well) seems to be associated with sensory symptoms. Usually, the association is noted with difficult deliveries and pitocin (harder contractions), etc. but the same can be said of other issues in utero - I asked Dr. Lucy Jane Miller (author of Sensational Kids) point blank and she said yes, that's likely.

    More importantly, in the case of your ds, there is another angle that may be relevant. I believe that somewhere in my favorite book, "Upside Down Brilliance: the Visual-Spatial Learner" there is a theory of a similar association between lack of oxygen and visual-spatial (right-brained) learners. The theory goes something like this: the right brain forms first. Any insult in the way of oxygen levels (or maybe nutrients, or perhaps blood flow in general) has a greater affect on the left brain, which develops later. Left brain weaknesses are frequently associated with visual-spatial (right-brained) learners. And, according to the author, while some people with ADHD may be left-brained auditory-sequential learners, the vast majority are right-brained visual-spatial learners. See e.g. http://www.visualspatial.org/ It's a learning preference, a style I guess, but it can have a lot of implications for learning.

    I'm pretty sure that my two kids with SPD are that way due to clotting issues. With my dd, I didn't know I had clotting problems. There were growth issues, she was pretty small at birth (5 lbs 14 oz at term) and was a rather disturbingly dark purple when she was delivered. With my ds, I was on lovenox, but he was the smaller of twins, and likewise had growth issues, small for gestational age, etc. so though the cause may have been different, ultimately he did suffer from some kind of deprivation of oxygen/nutrients in utero. As for my personal experience with altitude, fortunately I was on a nice, juicy dose of lovenox during my first pg at altitude (biggest dose yet), and had my largest baby yet - he was nearly two pounds heavier than my dd, born at the exact same gestation - and guess what - he's also my most "normal" child so far too - the first three were all in speech therapy (ds still is, at 5 y.o.) and this one is talking on time, and is so incredibly easy and happy, with no apparent sensory issues (but for being a picky eater).

    In spite of the left-brain weaknesses that my two SPD kids have (they both are visual-spatial learners as well), I am finding that their incredible right-brain strengths will serve them well in the long run in life if we can just get through school LOL, and as the book says, they will indeed get "smarter as they get older." I have to deal with the weaknesses and try to teach to, and appreciate, their strengths.

    Interestingly, I have not heard of any association between SPD and visual-spatial right-brained learners (or even ADHD for that matter), but since two different groups (the sensory people and Linda Silverman, the visual-spatial guru) have theorized about essentially an identical cause, it would stand to reason that there would be lots of kids who would be both. My guess would be that the different kinds of effects (e.g. spd, adhd, etc.) would depend on when the lack of oxygen/nutrients occurred in comparision to when various particular sections of the brain develop (for example, thinking out loud, I have no idea when or how the "working memory" area forms; that seems to be a problem for both my kids. I imagine that all these things develop at different times). Also, there is an association between sensory issues and giftedness, though I'm not aware of such an association with adhd.

    Anyway, that's just my theory as to how altitude could possibly relate to your ds's SPD/ADHD. The only problem is that there is no blanket association between altitude and sensory problems. Could you have had some minor undiagnosed clotting issue that could have been exacerbated by the altitude? Could my theory possibly get any goofier??
    -beth

  2. #2
    Suzi is offline INCIIDer - A Community Creator
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    Default What I've found...

    is that if you look back in our family tree, there are SPD and ADHD symptoms going back through several generations that we know. Maybe genetics plays a part in all of this and combine with other environmental factors may make some children more severe than others. I'd start by really examining past generations. I know that DH was probably ADHD and they just didn't dx that back in the 60's. He had an Uncle with the same "personality". I could have possibly been ADD when I look back over my school years. I can look back through nephews, nieces and cousins on my side and pick out the ones I think had issues with SPD. At least in our family, I think it is mostly genetic. My dd is the most severe though and that does make me wonder about my pitocin delivery. Did something cause her to have more severe symptoms?

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    zoeyz is offline INCIIDer - A Community Creator
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    That was interesting reading, thanks! I had a fast, intense labor with my one son. I'm not aware that he was in any distress, but I was I puked violently for a couple of hours leading up to his birth. I remember them monitoring his oxygen after birth, but I can't remember more than that. I'll have to ask DH, my memory is foggy. He was 9 days early and 6 lb 2 oz. His typically developing brother was 7 days early and 6 lb 13 oz, so not a big difference in that regard. The biggest difference was altitude. I'm not aware of ever having had any clotting issues.

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    zoeyz is offline INCIIDer - A Community Creator
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    Quote Originally Posted by Suzi
    is that if you look back in our family tree, there are SPD and ADHD symptoms going back through several generations that we know. Maybe genetics plays a part in all of this and combine with other environmental factors may make some children more severe than others. I'd start by really examining past generations. I know that DH was probably ADHD and they just didn't dx that back in the 60's. He had an Uncle with the same "personality". I could have possibly been ADD when I look back over my school years. I can look back through nephews, nieces and cousins on my side and pick out the ones I think had issues with SPD. At least in our family, I think it is mostly genetic. My dd is the most severe though and that does make me wonder about my pitocin delivery. Did something cause her to have more severe symptoms?
    That's a good point. There are probably genetic factors in play for our family.

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    ack - I just clicked the back button and the post I wrote is gone.

    Suzi - I think you're absolutely right about the genetic connection. In fact, in terms of the visual-spatial angle, the book I mentioned says that most visual-spatial kids also have at least one parent who is a visual-spatial learner (in our house that's me; plus two of my brothers; but I haven't been able to figure out my parents yet). I'm guessing that maybe my kids would have been visual-spatial learners anyway, but that perhaps their left-brain weaknesses (auditory processing, among others) either might not exist or wouldn't be as bad as they are if it weren't for the environmental factors.

    On ADHD, I don't know much about that beyond occasionally speculating whether my kids have it (right now I think not, though I frequently complain about ds). I did recently come across a website on ADD http://borntoexplore.org/index.html (but now that I look back at it, I wonder if that website's point of view is controverisal? it's interesting, anyway)

    It makes sense that SPD would have genetic factors at play as well - having a somewhat already-overactivated nervous system, and then made worse by something during development, I guess.

    Thanks for letting me think out loud, ladies. It sure beats doing that sinkful of dishes right now
    Last edited by wapiti; 02-14-2008 at 06:12 PM.

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