Kids don’t come with instruction manuals but a new book Switched On Kids provides a guide to how kids function and what we can do as parents to help their development.

Switched On Kids

Local chiropractor Dorte Bladt wrote Switched On Kids based on her professional experience and her experience of being a mother. The book aims to inspire, motivate and educate parents to help their children be as healthy and smart as they can be.

The book explains in easy to understand language how a child’s brain functions and develops.  As it’s written by a chiropractor, it devotes a lot of space to explaining brain function and how it is connected to every cell, organ and system via the spinal cord and the nerves. The book provides essential information about how to stimulate kids’ brains and encourage optimum function through chiropractic care, brain stimulating exercises, nutritional considerations, communication and learning strategies and so much more.

It’s an informative guide and contains valuable tools and information about child development and what we can do as parents to ensure that our kids are happy, healthy and capable.

The book also covers topics such as:

  • Nutrition and dietary advice
  • Food allergies and intolerances
  • Movement and play
  • Learning strategies
  • School and homework

I appreciated the theory but also enjoyed the practical suggestions throughout this book. Dorte provides lots of hands on information and activities that parents can try immediately. Some of her lists include fun movement suggestions, healthy eating tips, fine-motor exercises ad homework strategies.

The book is also interspersed with case studies of different child patients that Dorte has treated. These were fascinating to read to understand how diet, exercise and chiropractic adjustments can help children with different issues especially those on the autism spectrum.

Switched On Kids is available now for $29.95. To purchase the book, visit the Switched On Kids website or you can purchase copies at Dorte’s practice Family Chiropractic Centre Charlestown.

The book will be launched on Friday 15 July 2016 at Momo’s Cafe in Newcastle at 5:30pm. To RSVP, contact 4942 4842. Limited spots available.

Switched On Kids

Dorte Bladt was kind enough to answer some of my questions about her career and book.

You’ve been a chiropractor for over 27 years and for the last 17 years have been concentrating on children? Why did you make this your specialisation?

I had always been seeing a fair number of children at my practice , most of them children of the patients I was seeing.  These kids typically came for ‘traditional’ chiro problems such as colic or ear infections.

I started focusing and learning more about caring for children as a chiropractor when I realised what I had learnt at university was not enough to help my own daughter Signe who struggled with learning and coordination.  I had also been looking for help for her in other professions: OT, speech, physio, psychology and tutoring, but didn’t find that they were able to pinpoint Signe’s problems or help her improve significantly.

So I realised that I needed to learn lots of new knowledge, tools and skills from many different professions to help Signe be her best.  And as I started seeing results in her, I commenced using the same methods with the kids I was already seeing at the practice and they started improving too, and it really snowballed from there.

What inspired you to write this book?

I wrote Switched On Kids because I wanted to inspire and empower parents to take action at home to help their children succeed at school and in life.  Chiropractic, as well as occupational therapy , physiotherapy etc, can provide a huge improvement in brain function, but professionals can’t do it on our own.  We need parents to help us at home with brain stimulating exercises, better brain nutrition and supportive communication and connection.  So to help parents get a head start I wanted them to have an easy resource, that didn’t cause overwhelm or fatigue, to help them make little changes for big improvements in brain function.

You’ve included many case studies in the book. Who is your most memorable patient that you successfully treated?

My most memorable experience in caring for children was when I was working in an orphanage in Siliguri in India, a very poor city in the foothills of the Himalayas. The nuns from the orphanage would walk into the streets at night to rescue abandoned children who would be severely malnourished and suffering all kinds of diseases.  The sisters would care for these children, providing food, shelter, care, love, medication, schooling and basically nurse these children back to life.

Having extensive experience in chiropractic care for children, the nuns asked me to have a look at Shushmina, a 2 year old who was the size of a 6 month old.  Their main concern was that even after 6 months at the convent she would cry inconsolably in bed every night. This was was not her only problem: she had just recently learnt how to sit, but could not roll, crawl or walk.  She had no hand control, no smiles, no language and no eye contact.

It broke my heart to see a child this way. I assessed her, adjusted her and gave her a big cuddle.  When we came back the next day, the nuns were ecstatic: Shushmina had slept all night!  The following day we managed to get her up balancing on her hands and knees!!!  After four adjustments she was crawling and made eye contact.  On the last day when she saw me come in, she got up from where she was sitting, onto her feet and toddled over to me, arms outstretched for a cuddle, with the most beautiful happy smile on her face. Shushmina story is so amazing as she basically goes through two years worth of development in 10 days – a miracle!

How would you like parents to use your book Switched On Kids?

I would suggest having the book lying on the coffee table, and whenever the parent has a few minutes, flick through the pages.  It obviously makes most sense to read it from cover to cover, but I think it is important to start where someone’s main interest is.  So read a few pages about nutrition. When looking at that, the parent may find that they don’t know how the digestive system works and what can go wrong, so they can go back and read about that.  This will hopefully inspire them to take action, so go to that part of the chapter and read how to implement little manageable steps to improve the child and family’s diet.

What’s the one piece of advice you would give to other parents?

The one piece of advice that I have for parents is:  Go with your gut instinct and never give up.  If you feel that the main challenge your child is facing has to do with having the head in a laptop all the time and therefore not moving enough, learn how to frame this in your communication, action and follow through.  No-one ever said change is going to be easy, just that we have to be consistent and follow through with what we think is right.

Dorte Bladt is passionate about chiropractic care for children.  Dorte has been a chiropractor for over 27 years and has dedicated the past 17 years to caring for little ones.  She has a Certificate in Chiropractic Paediatrics and is currently undertaking a Certificate in Paediatric Neuro-behavioural Disorders. She runs a busy family wellness-based practice in Australia based in Newcastle and spends much of her time connecting with, talking to and educating the families in her area.

Dorte is CEO of the Switched-on Kids education program.  SOK aims to help chiropractors learn about assessment and care for children, especially those struggling with learning, behaviour and attention difficulties.  Dorte has presented SOK seminars all over Australia and in New Zealand and Europe for the past ten years. In 2015 Dorte launched The Kids’ Summit – a not for profit seminar for professionals interested in holistic care for children.  The Kids’ Summit was held in Sydney and San Francisco and raised $77,000 for research into chiropractic care for children.