I thought a post about all of the areas that I've seen in the Down syndrome world that are somewhat controversial might make an interesting post. I was given some excellent advice when I first had Violette, and that was that we should make the best decisions we can for her, knowing what we know, and not to second guess ourselves. That said, I have looked at everything on the list, and made decisions on Violette's behalf in most cases not to do any of them, mostly because I can't find enough evidence based research that they work (and with some on the list I've heard for five years that the evidence based research is coming "soon.")
But on the other hand, there are individuals who I've met who SWEAR that the therapy/approach/tools/supplements listed below work for their child. So what do you think? How do you decide? What is the criteria you use to pick which to do? Do you do everything? Nothing, a bit here and there? Only non-invasive things? Share with me your thoughts and opinions on this. Oh, and if I'm missing something that has some controversial aspect, please post it with a link- I'm interested!
http://www.talktools.com/ - A protocol of whistles and straw therapy. Since Violette was born they have been saying they are coming out with evidence based research to "prove" that the method works.
This article talks about how non-speech oral motor exercises like what is suggested in Talk Tools does not have evidence based research behind it:
My understanding is that neurodevelopmentalists advise against signing with your children, though evidence based research through DownsEd and others have proven its effectiveness with children with Down syndrome.
Here are some sites these practices:
Juice Plus+® -is a whole food based product providing the wide array of nutrients found in a variety of nutritious fruits, vegetables, and grains. http://www.juiceplus.com/
They specialize in nutritional and dietary supplements for children and adults with special healthcare needs including Down syndrome.
Naturally Better: Dramatically Improve your Child's Life Naturally
But do they work?
Vitamin/Mineral Supplementation: There has been a lot of debate over recent decades regarding the usefulness of vitamin and/or mineral supplementation in people with Down Syndrome. I have collected here a number of scientific articles which address this topic.
Nutritional Supplements for Down Syndrome: A Highly Questionable Approach http://www.quackwatch.com/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/down.html
Nutrition Supplements for Down syndrome: What Happens When Hope Meets Hype.
A few peer-reviewed, double-blind scientific studies of the efficacy of supplements, vitamins, etc.
And a counter to the question "Do They Work?"
Changing Minds Protocol
A protocol of supplements claiming to improve cognitive functioning. Developed by a Dentist in Texas, CM includes a mix of off label prescription drugs and supplements:
Many national and international Down syndrome organizations have questioned this protocol. The official statement on the subject from those organizations can be found here:
Other's to add to this list: Coconut Oil, Longvida Curcumin
NON-CONVENTIONAL THERAPIES FOR DOWN SYNDROME:
A REVIEW AND FRAMEWORK FOR DECISION MAKING
COMPLEMENTARY AND ALTERNATIVE THERAPIES
FOR DOWN SYNDROME
Other helpful information:
Great article on how to read and understand scientific research: http://violentmetaphors.com/2013/08/25/how-to-read-and-understand-a-scientific-paper-2/
Great article listing "questionable, scholarly open-access journals." If the research is from one of hte journals, beware: http://scholarlyoa.com/individual-journals/