Behavioural/Learning Disabilities

Behavioural/Learning Disabilities

Homeopathic treatments for any illness include looking at the mental, emotional and physical aspects of every situation. When treating learning disabilities Homeopathy works well alongside other therapies. When there is a physical problem it tends to affect the mental and emotional state and vice versa.

When a child has behavioural problems, the Homeopath looks at all aspects of the child’s life including home and social environment. Sometimes the problem is genetic, other times it is a result of a disturbance in the child’s life, at home or school. By addressing when and why the behaviour changed and treating the current state of the child, we have seen profound changes in behaviour after giving the indicated Homeopathic medicines. During times of stress, i.e changing schools, loss of friendships or separation of parents, children of all ages may show emotional stress or behaviour changes. They may range from emotional reactions, sleeping problems, irrational fears, lying and others. Stress can be expressed in physical symptoms such as bedwetting or repeated accidents and injuries, glandular fever, skin eruptions and other physical symptoms.

Clinically Diagnosed Behaviour Disabilities

Autism Spectrum disorders including Asperger’s Syndrome

Attention Deficit Disorder (ADHD)

This disorder is characterised by developmentally inappropriate degrees of inattentiveness, over-activity and impulsiveness. It seems to be far more common in boys than girls (6:1) and is usually present from infancy. Statistically up to 60% may carry some degree of the disorder into adulthood. Accurate diagnosis of ADHD is very important.

For accurate diagnosis the child must show signs of inattention, hyperactivity and impulsiveness. The onset is no later than 7 years of age. The symptoms must be present in two or more situations (school, playgrounds and at home). The disturbance causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social, academic or occupational functioning and the behaviour must not be part of a developmental disability, psychotic disorder, mood disorder, anxiety disorder, associative disorder or a personality disorder. Other clinical features that may be present are irritability and moodiness, poor co-ordination with clumsiness, and social clumsiness, disorganisation, learning difficulties and low self-esteem.

Of particular note and interest to the Homeopath is when a parent tells us that the child’s behaviour changed after introducing certain foods (food colouring in processed foods etc.) after they had their vaccinations or any other changes in the environment. It is not uncommon to hear this from parents so we always pay particular attention to the changes from before to after, when considering the correct Homeopathic remedy for a child.

Autism Spectrum Disorder

Autism spectrum disorders (pervasive development disorders, PDD) are lifelong neurodevelopmental disorders with onset before 36 months of age. A characteristic feature is impairment of social interaction, verbal and non-verbal communication skills and steriotyped behaviour and activities.

The spectrum can be grouped as: Autistic disorder, Asperger’s syndrome, Atypical autism, Rett syndrome.

Autistic Disorder

As described by Kanner in 1943 it is a PDD (pervasive development disorder) commencing early in childhood; it affects at least 4 children in 10,000, boys four times as commonly as girls. It is not due to faulty parenting or birth trauma, but it is a biological disorder of the CNS (central nervous system) which may have many organic aetiologies.

Many autistic children appear physically healthy and well developed although there is an association with a range of other disorders, such as Tourrete’s disorder, Tuberous Sclerosis, Epilepsy (up to 30% onset, usually in adolescence) and Rubella Encephalopathy. The children show many disturbed behaviours.

The main features are:

Onset during infancy and early childhood. An impairment of social interactions shown by at least two of the following: Lack of awareness of other people’s feelings, absent or abnormal comfort seeking in response to distress, lack of limitation or boundaries, absent or impaired ability to socialise, which could also include gaze avoidance.

Impairment in communication as shown by at least one of the following:

Lack of babbling, gesture, mime or spoken language, absent or abnormal non-verbal communication. Abnormalities in the form or content of speech, poor ability to initiate or sustain conversation. Restricted or repetitive range of activities shown in at least one of the following: Stereotyped body movements, persistent and unusual preoccupations and rituals with objects or activities. Severe distress over changes in routine or environment. An absence of imaginative play.

The earliest signs of autistic spectrum disorder in infancy include:

Excessive crying, no response to cuddling if crying, failure to mould the body in anticipation of being picked up, stiffening the body or resisting when being held, resistance to a change in routine, appearing to be deaf, failing to respond or over reacting to sensory stimuli, persistent failure to imitate gestures such as waving good bye, need for minimal sleep. Diagnosis remains difficult before the age of 2 years.


The word dyslexia is derived from the Greek term meaning ‘difficulty with words’. It was originally called word blindness, referring to an SLD(specific learning difficulty) with reading. Dyslexic children have a normal IQ and no physical problems, but their reading skills are below average. Other SLDs may also present, particularly in spelling, writing and clear speaking.

The two main features are reading and spelling difficulties because dyslexic children confuse certain letters whose shape is similar, perhaps a mirror image of each other (eg confusing b with d and p with q). This means that affected children cannot properly use and interpret the knowledge they have acquired.

Signs may include: A reluctance to read aloud, a monotonous voice when reading, following the text with the finger when reading, difficulty with repeating long words.

Whilst these features are seen in many learners, if they persist in a bright child, dyslexia should be considered. The most important factor in management is to recognise the problem early and finding the apropriate support.

Specific Learning Disorders

A specific learning disability (SLD) is an unexpected and unexplained condition, occurring in a child of average or above intelligence with a significant delay in one or more areas of learning. These areas include spelling, reading, writing, arithmatic, language (comprehension and expression), attention and organisation skills, co-ordination and social and emotional development. An SLD can vary from very mild to quite severe. If it is undetected by parents, any undisclosed SLD will soon be apparent in the classroom. Sometimes the disability is not detected until around the age of 8 or even older when more demanding schoolwork is required. Speech delays, reading difficulties and calculation problems are among the first signs. It is important to check hearing and vision as these factors can be the causation.

Sometimes children develop a behavioural disorder as a result of ridicule by other children and tend to develop a poor self-image and low self esteem. Homeopathy can help with anxiety and help children relax, their focus and attention can go to learning. It works well alongside other therapies and supportive interventions.

Find out if Homeopathy can help your child.

You are welcome to schedule an appointment or ask Elisabeth a question.

Homeopathy Centre

We are a Christchurch, New Zealand based team of professional Homeopaths working together to provide effective and affordable health care in a friendly caring environment.

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232 Fitzgerald Avenue

Christchurch 8011

Phone: 03 379 3177


Clinic Hours

During the Covid-19 lockdown period, I am available for phone consultations.

Monday to Friday: 9.00am to 5.00pm

After hours or Saturday by arrangement