Two Juglans regia walnuts.

Two Juglans regia walnuts. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dianne Craft, special educator and owner of Child Diagnostics, Inc. in Denver, writes on her site about ways to help struggling learners.  Much of her work and success have come from her leveraging brain research with sound educational practices.  However, she suggests  in her article, “Essential Fatty Acids and the Brain,” that one of the first things that parents might want to consider is that some of the difficulties that many children have is due to a deficiency in their diet of the essential fatty acids.

This deficiency seems more common in boys and often manifests in both behavior and learning difficulties.  Craft cites a study that revealed “boys have a three-times higher need for essential fatty acids than girls.”  She asserts that this might be an explanation for the higher incidence of learning and behavior difficulties in boys.  In another study, “’Boys with lower levels of Omega 3 fatty acids in their blood scored higher in frequency of behavior problems,’ including hyperactivity, impulsivity, anxiety, temper tantrums, and sleep problems according to recent research done at Purdue University.”  Dr. Leo Galland, pediatrician and director of the Gessell Institute of Human Development in Connecticut, believes that using oils helps all struggling learners and those with behavior issues.

Here are some signs that may indicate a deficiency of essential fatty oils:

  • Dry hair
  • Dry skin
  • Eczema
  • White trail left on skin after scratching
  • Very thirsty (always want to go to the water fountain)
  • May crave butter or eggs

Craft’s article suggests that the first, and least expensive, thing that parents might want to try is to incorporate more Omega 3 fatty acids in their sons’ diets.