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Education » Down Syndrome

Essential Oils for our Children with Down Syndrome (Trisomy 21)

Low Muscle Tone: Sluggish Bowels: Constipation

Because our children have low muscle tone, they may tend to have constipation issues. Before I knew about using essential oils, our baby daughter might go 7-8 days between movements if left to herself. I usually resorted to using glycerin suppositories to help her pass her bowels. The Digestion Support blend worked very well for this issue. I applied a few drops on her abdomen at every diaper change, and she never went longer than a day without a movement since. I believe this blend helped strengthen her colon muscles so that within 6 months of consistent use she didn't need the oil. I continued to use it once a day for a few years because it has proven to be very helpful to prevent and eliminate parasites. We now have a blend called Tummy Soothe that is more suitable for children that I'd suggest instead of Digestion Support.


The importance of massage for our little ones led me to blend some essential oils with a blend of moisturizing oils: jojoba, coconut, avocado, almond and grape seed with aloe vera. Cedarwood and Sandalwood are good choices and work well together if desired. Both are known to stimulate the pineal gland and the limbic region of the brain, which is the center of emotions. The pineal gland is responsible for releasing melatonin, which is a powerful immune stimulant and antitumoral agent. Dr. Terry Friedmann found in clinical tests that Cedarwood was able to successfully treat ADD and ADHD in children. It is recognized for its calming properties. I use this oil for deep pressure massage after her bath before bedtime. Another nice oil for massage is Tender Skin Moisturizing Spray, which promotes healing of skin redness, rashes and irritations. Even if there are no skin issues, it is a beautiful blend of oils.

Sinus Issues

For sinus issues, I apply diluted Myrtle* around her nostrils. I tried this on myself first so I could be sure that this would not be irritating, and it was very pleasant. A drop of diluted Myrtle on a cotton swab can be used to gently swab the nostrils to help eradicate or prevent sinus infection. When I first did this with our little one, I sat in front of her and showed her what I was going to do. I took a cotton swab, put a drop of Myrtle on the end, and then I swabbed MY nostril. I smiled and made very positive comments on how nice it was and how much better I could breathe. I did my other nostril, and then I asked her if she'd like for me to let her do it. By this point, she was excited to do what Mommy seemed to enjoy so much. She let me do it for her the first few times, but very quickly she graduated to being able to do this for herself.
*Please note that Myrtle can be high in 1,8-cineole, which can cause an overwhelming respiratory response in little ones. Tisserand/Young note that "any oil with 40% or more 1,8-cineole should not be applied to the face of infants or children or otherwise inhaled by them" (Essential Oil Safety, page 109). The 1,8-cineole content in HEO's Myrtle is 34%, and when used diluted, that percentage is reduced further.

I diffuse Respiratory Relief and apply Breathe Easy (diluted appropriately) to her chest and back when there is any sign of sinus or respiratory struggles. Respiratory Relief is a blend of four different kinds of eucalyptus and other oils. It helps break up mucus in the head and the lungs. This helps to drain the sinus cavities.

Lung Congestion

I believe that it is because we use preventative measures that we have rarely had to deal with lung congestion. For this I apply Immune Support and diffuse Breathe Easy or Respiratory Relief. The fastest way to the lungs is through the colon. For quick results in fighting lung congestion, I apply Breathe Easy (diluted appropriately) to inner thighs, and in an situation where I feel things are not improving reasonably, I make a suppository. In this type of situation, as parents we weigh the risks and proceed with prayers for wisdom. To make the suppository, I put a drop of Breathe Easy in a gelcap and fill the rest of the capsule with a suitable carrier oil (such as coconut or olive oil) to dilute it. I secure the capsule and make sure enough carrier oil is drizzled on it to make it slippery. I insert in her rectum (just like a suppository) and lie down with her for a bit so that it doesn't get pushed out. I've had amazing results doing this, not only within our family, but many others have tried it and been quite amazed at how quickly it works. I'd recommend you try this on yourself before asking your children to do it, just so you know what they will experience.


For older children, a drop of Lemon in a teaspoon of honey may help, and/or a drop of Breathe Easy on the throat. We mix the essential oil with the honey in the bowl of the spoon, and then we quickly flip the spoon over and put on the tongue so that the honey is pulled off the spoon with the tongue, not the lips (to avoid getting essential oils on the lips). See "Lung Congestion" for how we fight a congestive cough using Breathe Ease as a suppository.


Vitality is the blend that we've used to support the thyroid. Carrie Grace has used Vitality over her thyroid daily since 8 months of age. She is now 12 and has no signs of thyroid weakness. We now use it diluted at 3% in a roll-on applicator with fractionated coconut oil as the carrier.

Synthroid has adverse effects and lactose as a filler.


Diffusing Oils

I diffuse oils as needed, varying them according to the need. Our diffuser is on a timer set to diffuse for five out of every twenty-five minutes. Here's a list of the most common oils I diffuse:

Immune Support - To prevent illness or wipe it out once it presents itself.

Breathe Easy - I use this blend when the respiratory issues have traveled to the lungs.

Peaceful - This is a wonderful blend that is popular for its relaxing and calming effect.

Oils we use for Cognitive Development

Strength is a wonderful blend, and to my knowledge, everyone loves the aroma. It helps relieve stress and promotes calm.

Adagio and Christofori are some favorites for cognitive support. I dilute these in a roller-ball applicator which makes them handy to use throughout the day. These blends contain the oils known to have a direct affect on the limbic region of the brain, stimulate the endocrine system and create energy flow to the brain, which helps increase mental clarity and vitality. A nice oil for mental focus is Attention.

Uplifting Blends

Peaceful, Heaven's Scent and Sunshine are blends that have been shown to be uplifting, reduce stress and combat depression. For our family, a drop of oil and a heartfelt prayer of encouragement goes a long way to lift the spirits.

Hand Sanitizer Alternative

When we have to leave home for whatever reason, shopping in town, trips and so on, we travel with Citrus Quench sanitizing spray in a handy 1 oz. spray bottle. I use this to "sanitize" or disinfect shopping cart handles, restaurant tables, high chairs, booster seats, toilet seats and so on.

General Anesthesia

Request a pediatric anesthesiologist.

Administer low amounts of atropine or its derivative scopalamine used in pre-op to reduce secretions. People with DS are exquisitely sensitive to atropine and its derivatives and can get high fevers, redness/flushing, and difficulty waking up from anesthesia if regular doses are used.

Anesthesia and ASD by Sym C. Rankin, RN, CRNA

Anesthesia and Sedation Risks in Children Labeled with Autistic Spectrum Disorder
by Alyssa Davi 

FDA to Study Whether Anesthesia Poses Cognitive Risks in Young Children
By Pam Belluck


A CRNA, certified RN anesthetist and mother of a child with Down Syndrome wrote: "In my experience, a paradoxical reaction can happen if TOO low of a dose of atropine is given; I've seen it. There are some surgeries where atropine or glycopylorate is given as a protective measure to help prevent a drop in heart rate, like eye muscle surgery when the surgeon pulls on the muscle to tighten it, it very commonly stimulates the (OCR); this is the ocular cardiac reflex. This happens, I've seen it, but usually after the surgeon lets up a bit on the traction of the eye muscle the heart rate goes back up."

 but it may be appropriate for an emergency (for example for bradycardia).

Benzodiazepines - GABA agonist (opposite of Ginkgo Biloba). If on on Ginkgo, tell the anesthesia team you don't want the prep oral midazolam (versed).

Tylenol - decreases glutathione

Oxidative Stress / Accelerated Aging

Article: Down Syndrome Neurons Grown from Stem Cells Show Signature Problems
A high level of oxidative stress was found, which explains accerlated aging. 

Article: Free Radicals and Antioxidants
List of antioxidant scores for foods and essential oils

Expansion Appliances / Pituitary Function

The Miracle of Expansion Appliances (excerpt)

Dr. Weston A. Price, the quintessential holistic dental physician, not only specialized in nutrition and the treatment of dental foci (such as failed root canals), but was a trailblazer in functional orthodontics as well. In another dramatic functional orthodontic case, Price widened the narrow upper arch of a Down's Syndrome teen approximately 1/2 inch with a palatal expansion rod device located between his upper teeth. In so doing, the new maxillary bone filled in rapidly. This space was later maintained with a fixed bridge that had two additional teeth attached.

Once again, the results from expansion of the palate were striking. This sixteen-year-old patient was previously measured with an I. Q. of that of a four-year-old, and he was so seriously physically and mentally impaired that he typically played all day with blocks on the floor. After six months of palate expansion however, he was able to go to the grocery story and bring back correct change to his mother, change trains and make transfers on streetcars accurately and safely, and read children's stories and newspaper headlines. This teen's physical appearance also dramatically transformed. He grew three inches in four months, developed whiskers, and his genitals developed from those of a child to a man. These hormonal maturation changes were the direct result of the stimulation of the pituitary gland through the expansion of the *sella turcica*—the saddle-shaped depression in the sphenoid cranial bone that houses the pituitary. In Down's syndrome, the failure of the development of the middle third of the face and the pituitary has been well documented. Finally, this teen's severe sleep apnea was relieved when the expansion device opened up his completely occluded left nostril so he could breathe properly.



ICAN Neurodevelopmentalists

ICAN: International Christian 
Association of Neurodevelopmentalists

ICAN was formed in 1999 as an association of 
self consciously Christian neurodevelopmentalists to:

· To give God the honor and glory for designing us in a way that makes it possible to give hope to families with loved ones with learning and developmental problems and that this work is inspired by and directed by Him.

· To give parents and loved ones of individuals on ICAN neurodevelopmental programs the assurance that we who are doing this work share their values.

· To learn from the founders of the neurodevelopmental work and to collect their research and knowledge as much as possible to preserve their wisdom and insights.

· To further the neurodevelopmental work through research and training in new areas as new information and breakthroughs occur.

· Through interaction with each other, to share and develop new observations and to share experiences and information that may serve to further our work.

· To provide a means to train and certify individuals committed to furthering this work.

· To set professional standards of excellence for ourselves and for the professionals that we train so that this work may be continued in its development while maintaining standards of excellence.

ICAN has evaluators and locations across the US and in Canada. More information can be found at the ICAN website:http://www.icando.org

ICAN Certified Neurodevelopmentalists

Jan Bedell
Company name: Little Giant Steps
Phone: 972-758-1260 
E-mail: info@littlegiantsteps.com
Web site: http://www.littlegiantsteps.com
Evaluation sites: Austin, TX.; Dallas, TX.; Katy, TX.(West Houston area);Spring, TX.(North Houston area); San Antonio, TX.

Marilee Coots
Company name: Help With Learning Neuroeducational Consulting
Phone: (760) 378-4357
E-mail: helpwithlearning@lightspeed.net
Web site: http://www.help-with-learning.com
Evaluation sites:
Oceanside, CA., Corona, CA., Simi Valley, CA., 
Bakersfield CA, Weldon, CA., Modesto, CA., 
Portland, OR., Tucson, AZ.

Linda Kane
Company name: Hope and A Future, Inc.
Phone: (801) 395-1979
E-mail: hopeandafuture@hotmail.com
Web site: http://www.hope-future.org
Evaluation sites: Annapolis, MD; Baton Rouge, LA; Dallas, TX; Houston, TX;Kansas City, KS; Lafayette, LA; Madison, WI; Boston, MA; Nashville, TN; Oahu, HI; Ogden, UT; 
Seattle, WA; Wichita, KS;

Kay Ness
Company name: SENC, Southeastern Neurodevelopmental Consultants
Phone: (770) 619-9843
E-mail: kyness@mindspring.com
Web site: http://www.senc.us
Evaluation sites: Alpharetta, GA; Birmingham, AL., Winston Salem, NC., Mt. Dora, FL, Charleston, SC.

Cyndi Ringoen
Company name: CAN-DO: Christian Access to 
Neuro-Developmental Organization
Phone: (509)276-7756 
E-mail: cdarling@icehouse.net
Web site: http://www.ican-do.net
Evaluation sites: Simi Valley, CA; Fairbanks, Alaska; Seattle WA., Three Rivers, MI; Dayton, Ohio; Fargo, ND; Batavia, NY; Arizona; Spokane, WA 

Maggie Dail
Company name: Master Enterprises Learning Center
Phone: (253) 581-1588
E-mail: specialhelps@yahoo.com
Web site: http://www.homeschoolhelps.com 
Evaluation sites: Western Washington and Colorado

Stephanie Lankhorst
Company name: Step By Step
Phone: (231) 652-1797
E-mail: stephlankhorst@yahoo.com
Evaluation sites: Grand Rapids, MI and Fremont, MI

Sylvia Funk
Company name: PATHWAYS for NeuroEducational Development 
Phone: (403) 995 4411 
E-mail: sylvia@pathways-nd.com
Web site: http://www.pathways-nd.com 
Evaluation Sites: Okotoks, Alberta, Canada and Saskatchewan, Canada

Helpful Links

BC Down Syndrome Centre

Body Ecology Diet

Communicating Partners is a clinical and educational resource center for families and professionals responsible for Late Talking Children. Its services are based on the ECO communication programs developed at the Ohio State University by Dr. James MacDonald and students from 1971-1995. Its primary mission is to inform parents and professionals of the many successes that parents can have in helping their children socialize and communicate. The center focuses on the essential role that parent-child communication plays in the successful development of children with Autism, PDD, Down Syndrome, Attention disorders and other delaying conditions.

Down Syndrome : A Day to Day Guide by Andi Durkin

Down Syndrome - Up Up Up and Away! by Laura

Einstein Syndrome: Down Syndrome with a Positive Attitude - Excellent website and discussion group with moms who are actively changing the 'face' of Down Syndrome. This site/group is full of hope, help and encouragement.


Got Down Syndrome Sharing hope about Down Syndrome

Little Giant Steps Curriculum with a neurodevelopment approach

NATHHAN - NATional cHallenged Homeschoolers Associated Network - A national support group for families homeschooling special needs children

SAMONAS Sound Therapy is a prescriptive sound therapy program recommended by specifically trained sound therapists. This advanced system of sound therapy was developed by Ingo Steinbach. It is used by neurodevelopmentalists to address hypersensitivity to sound, attention, focus, auditory tonal and sequential processing, behavioral and tactile issues.

Estate Planning for Parents of Special Needs Kids

Groundbreaking Brain Imaging Research May Change Treatment for Down Syndrome

"It looks like there is massive overconnectivity in the brains of individuals with Down syndrome. These are larger differences by an order of magnitude than we're seeing in autism or in other disorders. In addition, we're also seeing that there are some places in the brain that are underconnected —areas that are far apart and are part of networks in the brain where regions in a healthy brain work together to perform tasks."