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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 bowel movements. The Tummy Soothe blend works very well for this issue. I applied a few drops on her abdomen at every diaper change, and she has never gone longer than a day without a movement since. I believe the essential oils helped strengthen her colon muscles so that within 6 months of consistent use she didn't need the oil.


The importance of massage for our little ones led me to blend some skin-nurturing oils such as jojoba, coconut, avocado, almond, pomegranate and grape seed. Cedarwood and Sandalwood are good choices of essential oils if you wish to add them, and they 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's 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. In my early days learning to use essential oils, I bravely tried a drop of Myrtle on a cotton swab and swabbed her nostrils to help eradicate and/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. I don't recall her age exactly, but I think she was about 6 years old. While this may help a younger child, please use discretion and wisdom so that you don't cause your child to have a bad experience. Adequately diluted, it has proven to be very beneficial for children and adults. If not adequately diluted, the 1,8-cineole component of Myrtle may cause respiratory disturbances.

During seasons where she gets stuffy, I diffuse and apply Breathe Easy (diluted appropriately) to her chest, back and inner thighs when there is any sign of sinus or respiratory struggles. The blend helps to break up mucus in the sinuses, the lungs and anywhere else it builds up. This also helps to drain the sinus cavities.

Lung Congestion

Perhaps because we use preventative measures with diet, we have rarely had to deal with lung congestion. For this we apply Immune Support and diffuse Breathe Easy. The fastest way to the lungs is through the colon. For quick results in fighting lung congestion, we apply Breathe Easy(diluted appropriately) to inner thighs, and in an situation where we feel things are not improving resonably, we make a suppository. In this type of situation, as parents we weigh the risks and proceed with prayers for wisdom. To make the suppository, put a drop of Breathe Easy in a gelcap and fill the rest of the capsule with cod-liver oil or a pure vegetable oil (like virgin olive oil) to dilute it. Secure the capsule and make sure enough carrier oil is drizzled on it to make it slippery. Insert in his/her rectum (just like a suppository) and lie down with him/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.

Kurt Schnaubelt wrote: "Essential oils absorbed into the abdominal veins bypass the liver. They are fed directly into the heart-lung circulatory system without first being subjected to biotransformation by the liver detoxification enzyme system. Consequently, they reach the lower bronchial capillaries in their original lipophilic and volatile state, still capable of eliminating pathogenic microorganisms and dissolving and expectorating mucus."
Schnaubelt Ph.D., Kurt (2011-11-08). The Healing Intelligence of Essential Oils: The Science of Advanced Aromatherapy. Inner Traditions/Bear & Company.

Mark Webb wrote: Nebulizer/Diffuser delivery and/or suppositories, or even high dose topical application to the inner thigh will by-pass the first pass metabolism, thus letting the EO constituents get where they need to go. Frankincense and Sandalwood are reasonable choices as well as Lemon oil (or another high limonene citrus such as Tangerine), Peppermint, Thyme ct. linalool, Tea Tree, Palmarosa, Geranium all low toxicity oils with a low incidence of sensitization."
Mark Webb, BS in Biochemistry and Plant Biology and Diplomas in Remedial Massage and Aromatherapy.


For older children, a drop of Myrtle, Lemon or Breathe Easy in a teaspoon of honey may help, and/or a diluted drop of any of these on the throat. When taken with honey, we mix the essential oil in well then flip the spoon over 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 Lung Healing 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 (born February 2004). She is now 13 (2017) and has no signs of thyroid weakness.

Synthroid has adverse effects and lactose as a filler.


Diffusing Oils

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

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

Breathe Easy - Mild and child friendly blend used for sinus and respiratory issues.

Respiratory Relief - Use for any respiratory issues.

Lung Healing - I use this blend when the respiratory issues have traveled to the lungs.

Mom's Remedy - This is my Vick's™ Vapo Rub alternative and is quite nice diffused and/or applied to chest, throat and back. If you apply topically, follow the dilution guidelines to avoid any respiratory issues due to the 1,8-cineole component.

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.

Purpose and Attention are my favorites for cognitive support, but Purpose is not be suitable for a very young child (under 2). I put 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. Single oils that may help are citrus oils such as Bergamot, Grapefruit, Lemon and Petitgrain.

Uplifting Aromas

Frankincense, Grapefruit, Jasmine Absolute, Lemon, Mandarin and Tangerine have been shown to be uplifting and reduce stress. For our family, a drop of oil and a heartfelt prayer of encouragement goes a long way.

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 our hands, 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 Davis 

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.
Click here to read Linda's personal, inspiring story about their son Scott:

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

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


Got Down Syndrome Sharing hope about Down Syndrome

Little Giant Steps Curriculum with a neurodevelopment approach

Tom and Julie Meekins We teach parents how to look for the root causes in the symptoms they see in their children and then equip them to take steps to create a brighter future for their children. Our private coaching is by phone, Skype and email, and we provide informative monthly webinars and a complimentary twice-a-month eZine. We are also available for speaking in person to your group or to create a webinar catered to your specific group or organization.
March Forth Family
Special Needs Specialists
Child Development Coaches
Health Coaches

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

Nutrivene Nutrition for special health care needs.
Dixie Lawrence wrote on Facebook: "Early death in DS has many causes, but the major issue is telomere shortening. Their DNA eventually unravels and the brain and body begin to die cell by cell. It is similar to rapid aging except the destruction of the telomere effects every system in the human body while in normal aging (unless you develop a neurodegenerative disease) the brain is relatively intact. Neurons, unlike most cells, do not divide. Telomeres are the caps on the ends of the legs of chromosomes. Think shoelaces here. When the cap falls off of a shoelace, the lace unravels. When the telomere fails, DNA unravels and the cell dies. In non-DS individuals, every time a cell divides, the telomeres are shortened, but an enzyme called telomerase rushes in and repairs them. In DS this enzyme is insufficient. We address this with Resveratrol which unregulates telomerase allowing repair to take place. Because we also address the other causes of cell aging, our kids can indeed look forward to long, healthy and productive lives. There should be no significant difference between the age span of treated children and the normal, healthy non-DS adult. Nutrivene Polyphenol Support Formula - Revised Formula is the supplement with the resveratrol in it."

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.

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."