Fish Oil and Apraxia. Does it Work?

Fish OilMorning all,

I wanted to do a quick post on Fish Oil and Apraxia. I get quite a few emails about the brand and dosage that I give Cooper. Cooper hasn’t been diagnosed with Apraxia as of March 2014 but he does have ‘some’ of the symptoms and I feel that giving him Fish Oil can only help his overall well being.

Apraxia, or Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS)is a developmental disorder that affects the ability to say sounds, syllables and words. Children with Apraxia often display problems with coordination, range of movements, regulation of emotions (Cooper!!!), and short-term memory.

How Does Fish Oil Help?

I’m not going to get into all the medical jargon but I will say that Apraxia (and other neurological conditions) has been linked to deficiencies in fatty acids.

Here is how I think of it and yes, this is VERY simple. But, I am often simple.

Think of a bunch of roads in your brain. Their sole purpose is to tell your body what to do and when to do it. Now picture that the roads are all messed up. They are full of potholes and aren’t smooth. Hard to drive on as they say! They need a little work. And now imagine that a Fatty Acid, like Fish Oil, can fill in these holes. They make the roads stronger and smoother. Sounds hopeful, right?

As of 2011, growing research demonstrates that children afflicted with these conditions might show improvements when treated with supplements that contain fatty acids, including DHA and EPA, according to pediatrician Claudia Morris from the Children’s Hospital & Research Center in Oakland, California, as well as Medline Plus, a medical website sponsored by the National Institutes of Health. DHA and EPA are the two omega-3 fatty acids contained in fish oil.

Brand and Dosage

After doing my research, I decided to start Cooper on the Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega Liquid. Nordic Naturals has the BEST reviews for safety and quality. And I don’t mess around when it comes to my kids. I also liked that this brand has a blend of different types of Omega-3 fatty acids. It tastes like lemon and does not smell or have a fishy taste. I add 1 1/2 TSP with half water and half juice in a sippy cup. He gets Fish Oil once a day, usually in the afternoons. (I store the fish oil in the fridge.)

But, Does it Work?

I say yes. I firmly believe in my heart that this is helping Cooper. When he takes Fish Oil he is extremely ‘chatty.’ I even hear a wider variety of sounds. If we miss if for a few days, which does happen, I notice that he is quieter.

While I am ALWAYS hoping for a miracle with Cooper’s speech, I know that it isn’t Fish Oil. Or going Gluten Free or whatever. I know that it will take time and therapy. I get that. But, for right now, I am happy with the Fish Oil.

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Kate Swenson

Kate Swenson lives in Minnesota with her husband Jamie, and four children, Cooper, Sawyer, Harbor and Wynnie. Kate launched Finding Cooper's Voice from her couch while her now 11-year-old son Cooper was being diagnosed with autism. Back then it was a place to write. Today it is a living, thriving community of people who want to not only advocate for autism, but also make the world a better place for individuals with disabilities and their families. Her first book, Forever Boy, will be released, April 5, 2022.

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  1. spectrumwarrior on March 22, 2014 at 2:18 am

    I say yes as well. I have found when my son is on Omega 3 and vitamin D his speech is much better, less repetitive and his sensory issues are better also. Definitely not a cure but I see a difference.

    • Avatar photo findingcoopersvoice on March 24, 2014 at 12:56 pm

      Do you do a multi vitamin as well or no? Cooper gets a multi vitamin, fish oil and usually fiber and a probiotic. We call him our little gremlin. It really all makes a difference though. He feels better!

      • spectrumwarrior on March 24, 2014 at 1:05 pm

        We don’t use a multi vitamin yet. I currently do Omega 3, vitamin D, magnesium and calcium. I purchased this book: The ADHD and Autism Nutritional Supplement Handbook: The Cutting-Edge Biomedical Approach to Treating the Underlying Deficiencies and Symptoms of ADHD and Autism a few months back and they use a slow gradual approach to adding supplements. The next thing I am adding in is Gaba and vitamin B supplements to help with anxiety.

        • Avatar photo findingcoopersvoice on March 24, 2014 at 1:07 pm

          Sweet! I’ll check that out. Thanks.

          • spectrumwarrior on March 24, 2014 at 1:10 pm

            Np! It’s a very detailed and well outlined book that talks about supplementation to help specific things not just one method for one child.

      • Shana on November 14, 2022 at 12:50 pm

        Do you use the nordic naturals arctic cod liver omega 3 ? Some have sardines and anchovies as an ingredient. Others have cod liver

  2. jomo86 on March 25, 2014 at 4:54 pm

    Hi! So glad to see preschool might be working out soon, even if you have to jump through some hoops to get there. Yes, fish oil is huge! The brain is made of 60% fat (dry weight). Every membrane of every cell in the body is made of fats! Moreover, crucial minerals and vitamins (A, D, E, K, which are so important for development) are FAT-soluble, so they PASS RIGHT THROUGH the body unless there are fats present to absorb them. In our “fat free” culture, it’s no wonder we’re all nutrient deprived. And DHA & EPA are at the top of the totem pole in terms of good fats. To get the most from fish oil, give it at mealtime so nutrients from meals will be absorbed! And add lots of fats to all meals—cook with natural butter, etc. This is our greatest weapon for encouraging cell growth. (Conversely, trans fats rob the body of nutrients—even the FDA declared them them NOT “generally recognized as safe”, but they are still in so many processed foods).

    Have you read the study by Claudia Morris your quote referenced? Fascinating stuff. The findings completely support that the primary reason our children are struggling is because their brains are starved of nutrients. Fish oil is a great start to help change that.

    Morris study:

    More tips for absorbing nutrients:

    And, listen, I know the whole idea is hard to believe, but gluten-free is NOT a “magic” miracle. It’s just science. For a variety of reasons, in children with conditions like ours, foods like gluten/grains rob the body of nutrients and cause an inflammatory reaction. Just before his second birthday, Justus could only say 4-5 words total. His developmental therapist suggested we remove gluten & casein, and in THREE DAYS he was saying 20-25 words. THREE DAYS. Then, later, we removed all processed/preserved foods and he made another HUGE jump. On his clean diet, he is making so much progress we just can’t believe it. He’s about to turn 3, and we’re being told he may not even qualify for school services because he’s doing so well.

    Therapy is very helpful, but it will not heal the body from the inside out. Please don’t discount a dietary approach just because it seems unbelievable! I dare you to try it for a week (beware of all the processed garbage that adds “gluten free” to the box, though). I wish you the best!

    • Avatar photo findingcoopersvoice on March 25, 2014 at 7:12 pm

      Hey there. Thank you for the meal time suggestion. That is good to know. And you are so right with the ‘fat free’ society we live in. I will definitely add in more fats. My goal is to remove a lot of the processed foods. I do pretty well. Cooper is sensitive to sugar. His little body can’t handle it. I am all for these suggestions. Thanks! I love them. I wish you the best too! Us parents gotta stick together!

  3. Katy on September 21, 2015 at 1:36 pm

    In order for a child to use the omega 3s contained in fish oil, he needs biotin (peanuts a rich source), the active form of b12 (a vitamin E deficiency interferes with this), and magnesium (best supplemented transdermally through Epsom Salts or oils, not to be given to children with renal failure). To see whether your child is deficient in magnesium or not, give him a bath with one cup of Epsom Salts in the morning (after the first bath many children can’t sleep, although after magnesium is replenished it will actually help them sleep), let him soak, supervised, read a book or two while the child is in the bath. Then take child out of bath, and observe for the next couple of days. If you see increased babbling or speech, you have proven something to yourself. Also magnesium can be tested but ask for the RBC test, not the blood serum test. Another note about fish oil – over the long term (or even short term in children and when using low grade fish oil), fish oil depletes vitamin E. Ironically, to metabolize the omega 3s in fish oil, a child’s body will need vitamin E to allow b12 to methylate. So use the absolute best quality fish oils and research vitamin E including gammas. 🙂

  4. Holly Flynn on August 9, 2016 at 9:53 pm

    Hello! I know this is an old post but I am struggling with my daughter and apraxia. I just started this mentioned fish oil but need to talk to her pediatrician about supplementing with Vitamin E. I noticed you supplement with Vitamin this more beneficial than E? How is your son doing presently? Do you still supplement?

  5. Anthony Miles on September 2, 2016 at 1:22 am

    1.5 tsp is like 2000 epa and 1500 dha. isn’t that a lot???

  6. A mom on February 8, 2018 at 7:37 am

    My son was non-verbal and not meeting the expectations of speech therapy. During his privat VERY EXPENSIVE sessions, I would read. A book, “The LCP Solution” literally changed our lives! I recognized my son in the descriptions and immediately called my GP to see if I coul supplmeng him with Omega. She said 1/2 the dose on the bottle (it was shown only for adults). He was 3 and could not make letter sounds. After about 4 weeks of making sure he got the Omega EVERY DAY WITHOUT FAIL, we noticed a REMARKABLE improvement. His day care spontaneously mentioned that they noticed it too. He started meeting the expectations at speech therapy and for the first time ever, he was having success communicating. The first thing he said that made me know it was going well was “I’m tired”–it was the first time he was able to verbalize feelings.

    Since I had accommodated his nonverbal situation for so long, I knew I needed to change things to help him to make continued improvements. I wrote down words and phrases on a chart that he had to use to get what he wanted. They included: I want, more please, all done, please help, do it myself, you do it, thank you, yes, no, excuse me, etc. I then put all the toys, puzzles, books and movies in temporary “lockdown” (behind a child gate) and explained he could come to me and use his words to get them. It was eventually successful at breaking our old routine where I’d anticipate or read his nonverbal prompts and let him gain success at being verbal. It got better and better. At 4, he was diagnosed with expressive language delay. He’s needed help with language and reading, but is now a young teen with a rich vocabulary and actual talent at story telling and writing. He was taking Omega until puberty, when he said it made him feel overly emotional–so now he takes a daily vitamin.
    I hope Omega works for you and my one piece of advice is to be consistent with the supplement and to recognize the need to increase your expectations by asking for more when more becomes possible and not let coping strategies of the past become barriers to the future.

    Wishing you all the best!

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