I am Dr. Smile, one of the Developmental Paediatricians [at Holland Bloorview]. I am conducting an
Randomized control Trial looking at a specific feeding intervention for children who
have a restricted diet with a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder. I would
appreciate it if you would read this information, as you might be interested in
participating in this study.

The child should have a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder - mild to moderate
severity, be eating less than 20 foods and able to sit around a table for meal time.
There are two arms to this study: 1) Intervention group and 2) Education group.

The intervention will be free of cost to families and families stand a 50% chance of
being enrolled in the intervention group (active therapy in a group setting) and a
50% chance of being enrolled in the education group (where a therapist will help to
come up with strategies to improve feeding.

The feeding intervention is offered in the private sector but can be costly to the
families, thus this is an opportunity to access such a therapy free of cost. We will
provide transportation cost to the family if required.

Thank you for your help.

Dr. Sharon Smile

Read more


Overview of Dr. Melillo's Brain Balance Program.
(based on the book "Disconnected Kids" by Dr. Robert Melillo)

The main idea behind the Brain Balance Program is that different neurological disorders in children, such as autism, ADHD, Asperger's syndrome, have one and the same cause – brain imbalance.

For the human brain to function wholly, large ares of the brain as well as the left and right hemispheres continuously use electrical impulses to communicate with each other. Research shows that when two sides of the brain do not mature at the same rate , the electrical impulses between the two sides of the brain get out of the balance , and this causes communication problems between the sides. This communication problem is a reason for lots of behavioral, social and learning difficulties. There is even a name for this imbalance of electrical activities between the areas of the brain – Functional Disconnection Syndrome (FDS).

Most children with FDS do not feel their bodies very well, so they have difficulties to learn how to use their large muscles, and, therefore, they have low muscle tone throughout the body. They also have difficulty to manipulate their hands, fingers and toes.

Most children with FDS do not fully experience all five senses – sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell. Many cannot use more than one sense at a time.

They are socially and emotionally disconnected. They cannot understand the body language, since they don't feel the connection between the movements and emotions.

Children with FDS have immune system that is out of balance. It's either overactive or underactive, so they catch up any infection that goes around, or have autoimmune problems like eczema, asthma and allergies. Often these immune responses show up as chronic inflammation or food sensitivities.

Food sensitivities are different from food allergies. Symptoms of allergies can be seen immediately or in a few hours (hives, watery eyes, sneezing etc). Food sensitivities produce certain inflammations that cause mental and behavioral symptoms, and it can take from 6 to 72 hours for these symptoms to appear. The symptoms include: irritability and meltdowns, inability to focus and concentrate, aggressive behavior, fatigue, sleep disturbances, learning disabilities and hyperactivity. The most common sensitivities are to gluten, a protein like substance found in wheat products and casein, a protein found in milk products. Other foods that commonly cause sensitivities include: chocolate, citrus fruits, corn, eggs,peas, beans, peanuts, soy, sugar, tomato, yest products.

FDS children also have poor digestion: they produce less stomach acid and digestive enzymes; they have poor muscle tone of their intestinal and stomach muscles that helps break down food.

They can be genius like in certain areas and completely undeveloped in another.

What causing brain imbalance?

Among the main reasons are:
lack of physical exercise,
television and computer games,
stressful pregnancies and birth,
stressful lifestyle,
environmental toxins,
bad nutrition.

Certain skills live in certain part of the brain, so a child with the brain imbalance may have some skills developed exceptionally well, and some skills completely undeveloped. The children with autism usually have development deficiency in the right hemisphere, i.e the left part of the brain is more developed then the right one, and that is why we see so uneven distribution in their skill development.

Right Hemisphere Versus Left Hemisphere:

Small picture Big picture
Verbal communication Nonverbal communication
Small muscle control Large muscle control
Word reading Comprehension
Math calculation Math reasoning
Processing information Interpreting information
Conscious actions Unconscious actions
Positive emotions Negative emotions
Hight-frequency sound Low-frequency sound
Low-frequency light Hight- frequency light
Receiving auditory input Interpreting auditory input
Linear and logical thinking Understanding abstract concepts
Curious and impulsive actions Cautious and safe actions
Like routine, sameness Likes newness, novelty
Activates immunity Suppresses immunity
  Spatial awareness
  Senses of taste and smell
  Social skills

Dr. Melillo claims that this brain imbalance can be fixed. The weak ares of the brain can be taught to catch up to the stronger areas, reconnect and get back to normal. Brain Balance Program uses special set of exercises that jump start growth in the weak hemisphere, so it catches up to the dominant side.

There are three parts of the brain development program:
Sensory-motor exercises
Academic exercises
Bionutritional activities

The ten principles of brain balance:

  1. Childhood neurobehavioral and neuroacademic disorders are actually one condition with different set of symptoms.
  2. The underlying problem is a dysfunction in either the left or the right hemisphere that puts the brain out of sync.
  3. The problem and the dysfunctions must be accurately identified.
  4. The only way to correct the problem is to fix the imbalance, not treat the symptoms.
  5. All functional problems in the brain must be addressed individually.
  6. Success is achievable through a hemispheric-based program.
  7. Same Time Integration gets the brain back in sync.
  8. The brain and body must grow together.
  9. The problems are not primarily genetic and therefore permanently correctable.
  10. Parents play a crucial role in a child's individual success.

Hemispheric Exercise Basics:
Frequency is more important than intensity.
Movement must be slow and purposeful.
Combine with mental activity.
Exercises must be performed a minimum of three or four times a week.
Do the program after school and before dinner.
Stay motivated and positive yourself.
Give it time.
Proper mind-set is crucial.

Read more about Brain Balance Program on

Recommended reading: "Disconnected Kids" by Dr. Robert Melillo


Facilitating Play Dates for Children with Autism and Typically Developing Peers In Natural Settings

Training Manual Review By Oksana Romanov, M.A.

Facilitating Play Dates for Children with Autism and Typically Developing Peers in Natural Settings: A Training Manual (2006) by Laurie Vismara, Grace W. Gengoux, Mendy Boettcher, Robert L. Koegel, and & Lynn Kern Koegel is a parent-friendly guide on how to help your child with ASD communicate and play together with neurotypical children. This manual teaches what a parent or a professional needs to know to prepare for a play date, how to choose a compatible playmate and plan activities. One of the minor downsides of the manual is that it uses technical jargon. Including a glossary of key terms at the end could be helpful.

Read the Review