Jake's Journey with Apraxia

And the Friends We Met Along the Way

During this special week devoted to love, love, and more love, I learned my little one has two addictions – my iPhone (annoyingly taking photos and playing games like Fruit Ninja and Temple Runner) and eating chocolate.

Webster’s definition of an addict is “one addicted to an evil habit” and the word addicted means, “devoted, wholly given over to.” Yeah, I’d say that about sums it up! All week, Lil’ Man’s been snatching these things and running away, sneaking around, and I’ve even caught him hiding treats to ensure that he gets his fix later.

Why do I bring this up? Why is this huge news? And why am I happy about it?

First off, Jake has food allergies, peanut being one of them, and he has never had chocolate. I make him special chocolate cupcakes for birthdays and Christmas, but that is it. At three years old, he has never had a candy bar or M&Ms because they are processed in a peanut facility.

This Valentine’s Day, I learned that Hershey Kisses are not made in a peanut facility. Yay! I promptly snatched up a bag at the grocery store on Tuesday and opened them once we got home. This is when the addition problem started. By dinner, about three hours after cracking open the bag, he had eaten at least twenty Kisses.

eat more chocolate

I was feeling a little scared, wondering how crazy he was going to be after eating so much chocolate so fast. What happened, however, shocked me … his speech drastically improved. When we were outside, he asked to go play with some kids a few houses down that he had never thought twice about. And while I was putting steaks on the grill, he answered the phone when my sister called and tried to talk to her. He said “hello,” he said her name for the first time, and he was even trying to tell her about Valentine’s Day!

Later that same evening, he and LD were playing hide seek inside and he counted to thirteen. The words weren’t pronounced perfectly, but they were definitely recognizable. He struggles with counting and has never came close to counting that high before.

The next morning on the way to school, he found four more kisses in LD’s Valentine box from school and quickly scarfed those down in about sixty seconds. We went to Target at 8:30 and he walked up to the counter when we checked out and said, “Hi there!” He rarely says “Hi” to strangers, much less “Hi there!”

Then, something huge happened. I asked him a question while we were standing there, and he answered with a beautiful, perfect “yes.” For those of you that have been reading my blog on a regular basis, you know that we have been working on this word for three full months with no success. On Wednesday, however, the moment I’ve been waiting for finally arrived and two days later, he’s still got it.

His speech continued to be good for the rest of the day on Wednesday and Thursday he did well at speech therapy. He had “ants in his pants,” but he said his words accurately. Today, Friday, he’s back to normal … not overly talkative, but not completely silent either. Was it the chocolate? I’ve heard of kids with speech problems taking fish oil supplements, but that’s not an option for us because he’s also allergic to fish.

After a quick Google search I found a Yahoo article titled, “A Guide to Boosting Brain Power: Eat More Chocolate!” The article stated …

A study made at Wheeling Jesuit University in West Virginia discovered dark chocolate, milk chocolate and carob effects concentration, response time, and recall. The study shows to boost your mental performance you should eat 8 grams of chocolate, which equates to two chocolate bars. Students consuming two chocolate bars will boost their word and image recall as well as increase performance in specific tasks such as taking standard computer tests or studying.

The article went on to say that …

Dark chocolate has many stimulants, including caffeine and theobromine, which enhance the brain activity for a small amount of time. It boosts blood flow to areas of the brain for two or three hours. Milk chocolate has stimulants like sugar, which makes you’re brain move faster.

Hmmm … Maybe I will start giving him Kisses on a regular basis and see what happens. My only fear would be that his body would get used to it and I then I would have to keep giving him, more, more, more!

Disclaimer: All data and information provided on this site is for informational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or disorder.

4 thoughts on “Eat More Chocolate

  1. Donna says:

    I was thinking of Jake and his chocolate today! Aubrey has been ill and I tried giving her a little of ANY food in our house to see if she would eat (to no avail), but it reminded me that I so wanted to read your blog. I have really enjoyed it so far! Can’t wait to read more…

  2. Lulu Chachey says:

    Thank you so much for your blog! Our son (3.5 yo) has apraxia. I’m happy I’m not the only one who saw a chocolate/speech relationship. Months ago, in hopes of getting him to like peanuts (been tested, so not an allergy), I, (with tons of Mommy guilt because we are very good about mostly organic foods, let alone processed colors) bought him peanut M&M’s. He LOVED them (um…a lot of them). And then, soon afterwards I was in shock. I was just going for the peanut consumption, I did not expect the huge increase in speech. I kept looking at him as he was talking and going on and on. I was hiding my reaction and just thinking to myself that I must be imagining this, this can’t be (was it the sugar? the peanuts? Red # 5? a coincidence? what else could it be? what else did I do differently?). Well, the guilt of feeding my child junk food put the experience in the back of my mind. But just last week, in hopes of repeating the increase in speech, and trying to get another person’s observations, I bought another yellow box and gave him ten peanut M&M’s half an hour before his appt with his SLP. (Can you say guilt? Here I was, feeding my child junk food, and intentionally bringing a sugar filled preschooler with heightened activity and potential upcoming sugar crash to a non-suspecting adult whose sole mission was to help my child – yes, guilt in spades). Yes, he had a little “ants in his pants”, but his SLP didn’t mind because he did so super in his session. I’m going to try to repeat next week and see if we get the same results. If so, need to understanding why it “worked” and find a healthier alternative. Please write more about this. Thank you.

    1. tstarmom says:

      Lulu – Glad you liked this post and SO glad there’s someone out there who had the same response! Jake has recently had some gut testing done and his test results showed that he had slight gut inflammation. Our doctor told us to go on an anti-inflammatory diet and I am pleased to say chocolate is on this food pyramid! I had a research doctor tell me one time that kids with apraxia (and other developmental disorders) have bodies that are inflamed. She said the key is to stop the inflammation. I’ll be posting follow ups soon about Jake’s new diet and supplement plan, which may be of interest to you.

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