Yes, food has a negative or positive effect on children. For instance, lots of fatty foods and protein-rich foods make a down syndrome child susceptible to obesity. On the other hand, foods with high sugar content have negative effects on autistic children because lots of sugar makes them more energetic and hyperactive, so they’ll be unable to concentrate in class.

Mr Taffy Richard

1. Please tell us your name, where you currently teach, years on the job and how you got into the beautiful world of education.


Hi, I’m Mr. Taffy Richard Emmanuel, CEO and founder of Human Speech Language Center. I work with special needs children with Down syndrome, Autism, Cerebral palsy, Learning disabilities disorder, Delayed speech and all sorts of challenges in children and adults. I’ve been in this field for the past 12 years and it has been a very wide experience and I’m not in any way regretting choosing this career. I really have great passion to work with special people. 

Yes, they are challenged. Some people say they are disabled or use the word ‘disability’. I don’t believe in disabilities. I believe in challenges because there’s nothing they can’t  do. It’s a phase which with right activities, right program, they will progress to live a better life and contribute their quota to the society at large. They will  face their dreams and achieve their dreams and goals. I believe each and every one of us on this earth has a goal. So, with the right curriculum, with the right activities and programs, they will be better off. These are the species of people I work with. 

 For the past 12 years, I’ve been in this field. It’s been a very pleasant experience and I would really say the passion has been burning and it keeps burning because I’ve really done a great job here. I have my own organization which I’m growing.  The Speech Language Center which I’m working on so that I can help this innocent children at large. Wherever they are, any part of the country and any part of the world.  I am really working  to expand it more than being in Lagos state presently. If possible, the whole of Nigeria because I believe these innocent children are everywhere. So, they need our help. They need our services to be rendered to them so that they can become better than they are presently.

2. Your most significant/memorable experience as an Educator


Talking about my experience in this field, well, I would say it has been more than just an experience. Most times people choose a career because they feel they can make money out of it but I’m in this field because of passion. This is where my journey started from, as strong Catholic, I wanted to be a reverend father.

Being in seminary school,  we work with these children and  adults. At those time, during the  holiday we are being given assignments. You may be given  assignments to work with old people homes or you may be given an assignment to look for the poor or the elderly people in the village depending on the location.

Most times, they may tell us to teach children, both in the rural areas. So it depends on where we find ourselves.

So gradually,  I started growing a passion for this which has led me this far. So you can imagine working with an autistic child who is so hyperactive and most times when they throw a tantrum they can do anything.

I remember one of the experiences I had years back when an autistic child who was so hyperactive gave me a hot slap. I  could not do anything because I know it’s part of the job. So I enjoy it and I keep on moving. One thing is, when working with these children you don’t have to be rigid. You just have to do  something like a dialogue.

For instance instead of saying can you stop that?  Are you okay? Why not stop doing that? You can say ‘please can you stop this, it’s not going to help you out’. Can you stop coming out please?  Can you hear me? Be a good boy, i’m sure you are a  good boy. Naughty boys will always do that but you are a good boy. Don’t do that, i love you. High five! This is like speaking into the child, more like a dialogue than using harsh words.

So being a Speech and Language Therapist, or Behavioral Therapist which encompasses the same field as mine has been a very pleasant experience. It’s a journey with no end. The only end is when we pass away. So it’s more than a career to me it’s a passion. I keep becoming more knowledgeable and i keep using my social media handles to counsel and teach people. So it is more than just an experience. Anyone who cares for the money and not for the career won’t last long because it requires lots of energy, time and passion. 

That is what the experience has been so far, it has been more than you can think of.  I love this and I’m never going back. It’s a very pleasant experience which i thank God i’m still doing it. I keep enlightening myself and taking more courses to get more experienced so that i can offer better services and help the children out there.

3. Is it actually possible for a school to eliminate junk in the lunch box of our children as opposed to having a few days a week where junk is not allowed? If no, why?


Yes, it is 100% possible for a school to run lunchbox free of Junks. If the school is determined to. Most times I keep letting people know that when you talk about junks and their negative effects, it’s not only on these special needs children, but on all children. Even as adults, we don’t need junk.

Talking about if it’s possible for a school to have a completely junk-free lunchbox, it’s 100% possible and there are so many measures that can be used to achieve this.

There is a school I work with which I’m so much trying to find a way to push the children to have a junk-free lunchbox. It’s important to have a junk free lunch box, I have achieved this with my clients. I’m not letting them take junk both in school and at home. We can generalize this in the schools our children attend. My mom normally say, “if everyone can sweep where he or she sleeps, the whole world will be clean”. So if I can start from one person- my personal clients, I can achieve this very goal. I believe other schools can achieve the same thing, we can live without junks because these junks have negative effects. The only role they play is to give satisfaction. However, the negative effect is so much. If the quantity of food is 100%  the negative effect of all these junks may occupy up to 80% because when all these foods have been consumed, it gives a negative effect.

Talking about Autism, Down syndrome, Cerebral palsy, especially autism. In the past 10 to 15 years, they weren’t as rampant as they are now. We need to ask ourselves, what actually are the causes of all these?

What triggers this? Why are all these challenges rampant? Why is it so common now? We should ask ourselves these questions. What could be the cause?

The little things we are ignorant about are the cause. For instance,  You bring a child to school. You are seeing lots of junks inside his or her lunchbox with high sugar content foods. What do you expect? We all know the functions of sugar. It’s so hyperactive after a second, because sugar gives energy.

So when all these foods are consumed, these children are so energetic because they’re taking high quantities of sugar which will have a negative effect on them. They won’t be able to focus. They won’t be able to think right. They can’t even do a lot of things they should do. Isn’t it when a child concentrates that a child will learn? You can imagine when a child gets to school in the morning, the child is hyperactive. You could ask yourself, what is actually the cause?

It’s 100% possible if we determine to. Because the negative effect of this surpass the positive effect. It really has to be looked into and checkmated.

4. What role can parents play in supporting your efforts to promote healthy eating? How best should we communicate with parents about the importance of nutritious lunches? Do you have any practical success stories on this?


These children don’t make money. For instance, they don’t make the money they use to buy junks. They don’t fill their lunch boxes, It’s parents who do all these. We’ll be able to achieve this if we explain to parents. You can’t just tell the parents to stop giving their children junk, there must be a conclusive reason backing up the instruction. You should be able to counsel them to know the negative effect of sugar-contained foods not only junks. They are not healthy. There are lots of nutritious fruits to take out there. Must it be junks? Must it be canned and packaged fruits? Must it be snacks? Back in the days, I remember when my mom was alive, those days she would bring soya beans. She would grind it. Whenever I want to take pap, it’s natural. We use those soya beans to take it without sugar.

Most times we use honey in place of sugar. But at a point in time, we started using dates in place of sugar because now to get original honey is scarce. But if you really want to get original honey, there are some places you can get original honey. Parents should be the one to play this role not children because what you give children is what they eat. So asking me if it’s possible, yes, it’s possible. Parents can help, they can play this role and make it achievable.

Now about my own experience, many times i tell my clients when i’m being called to assess a child. I won’t think of any assessment and evaluation of the child. Any IEP or any activity to run on the child for my sessions. The paramount thing i want to know is what does this child consume in his lunchbox? Can he go out there and take lots of ice cream and snacks? The parents have to list for me what he eats, that is paramount.

Just like when a children is sick and goes to the hospital and the doctor says let’s run a test. This is my own test as a therapist. It is the bedrock of every other activity i’m going to run. Knowing what this child eats, what we’re going to stop and what we’re going to start. For my clients, I give them what they should eat and stop them from eating some food. I have a booklet i bought during my trainings year, i share it with my clients who have autistic children.

No matter what happens you can’t do without sticking to these rules of not taking junks. For instance, if a child comes to school in the morning and start being hyperactive it simply because whatever he may have consumed over the night is still in action till the next morning. For  all my clients, I checkmate what they eat, the sugar content and the highly nutritious food. When i checkmate all these, i add more vegetables, vitamins and protein to their diet.

When these children stop taking junks,  even the parents will see a huge change and difference. Sometimes they will say ‘Mr. Richard, what did you do to my child?’. My child is now calmer.  I  did nothing, I just observed and I worked with his immune system. So, it is very vital both challenge and non challenge children need to watch and observe what they eat, both at home and in school. The immune system remains the bedrock of my success with a client or my failure with a client. It can be achieved and the parents are the bedrock to achieve this junk free lunchbox. To me it’s not just about the lunchbox but what they consume at home.

5. Are there ways you have successfully incorporated Nutrition education into your curriculum? Can you share any successful strategies you’ve used to make nutrition education engaging for children? This really speaks to it being incorporated into the learning curriculum as opposed to scheduled events. 


Because of the nature of my job, one thing I have enjoyed over the years is that I have one-on-one contact with my clients. I don’t run a session where I have multiple kids like a school. My work is one-on-one sessions. So to run such a program with individuals, is very possible.

For instance, when I go for an assessment, we agree with my terms and conditions, and the parents are ready to work with me. The next step I take is having a WhatsApp group for the parents and whoever is interested in the service of the child. Why am I creating this WhatsApp group? This WhatsApp group always helps me to include nutrition in any program. When I’m submitting my IEP, I include it there so that they will see it. When I am working with some clients with severe Autistic children or Down syndrome, i include fruits.

Once I come early in the morning, the child takes fruits and not any kind of fruit. For example, Date. Date is more powerful than we can imagine. Although some people make excuses that it’s too sweet but it’s natural.

When I’m working with a child, before we start any other activity for the day, I have to work with certain fruits. Fruits that work with a child may not work with another child. Child A might take a fruit and child B takes that same fruit and the fruit have negative effects on Child B. So I make sure the child take fruits that will calm him down depending on the goal I’m trying to achieve during my session with the child. If it’s two hours session with a child, we can do in between meals. We eat this when we start, the next 30 minutes we take certain foods because those ones have their own functions. It may be to help with the child’s memories, attention span, behavioral or hand coordination.

The goal I have for a certain child determines the kind of foods I’ll prescribe. I am not trying to say they shouldn’t have sugar at all , infact, we can’t do without having sugar in our system. But I am saying it should be outrightly minimized. This has worked so much for me, within one to three months there will be changes and I will know how to minimize as the child progresses. All this activities can be inculcated into schools, in general they can achieve it.

I believe every school has health bodies who can help in order to checkmate  all this activity. So that those kind of activities I’m running with one client can escalate and get to every child in different schools.

 As for me, anything about nutrition, junk free and children or adult immune system is very good for my own field because it has really helped me. I have included it so many times, It has worked for me but we can’t achieve this in absence of the parents. The parents should work hand in hand with us, I being the therapist and with the school. In every of my therapeutic services it is like a triangular shape, the parents at the top, the school by the left hand side, and I by the right hand side. The client remains the triangle. If you look at this very scheduled diagram all these bodies are circled around the child and around the school. We can achieve the proposed result of not taking junks. If it can work for me then it can work for others.

6. If you are a special needs Educator, what have you noticed about the impact of food and a child’s ability to learn or otherwise? Do you have any experiences to share?


Most of all these challenges starts from the embryo, from when the child is in the mother’s womb to be birthed. Why do I say so? A lot of things mothers consume during pregnancy determines most of the time what happens to the child they give birth to. Even before the child is being given birth to because the child in the womb consumes the same substance from the mother’s umbilical cord. At the end of the day, this is what contributes to the formation of the child.

If mother has taken a wrong path by taking many food that are not healthy, the negative effect has already started when the child was in the womb.

We go to the market and see spices with different colors with different names and we don’t care what they are being produced with we just buy them and cook with them. The consumption of all these spices has a negative effect. As an educator, the foods and junk have negative effects on these children and I would advise, they should completely eliminated.

 Back then, our fathers lived long but now there seem to be an applause for you once you are getting to a certain age. Why is this so? Nowadays, we eat a lot of junk. Let’s talk of how the air is being polluted. The number of smokes we inhale, contributes to all these. Asking if food has a negative or positive effect is a Yes! It does have.

7. Do you have any suggestions for Special Needs Educators to unite and create a forum/melting pot where they can rub minds especially when it comes to diet and lifestyle of kids with special needs so that they can help even more kids, Educators and Parents? Does anything like this exist? If it does, how helpful is it? And if you don’t mind sharing, please do? If not, do you have suggestions for how to optimize?


I don’t think such a thing exists at present. If there is, I’m not aware. My mom was a teacher, a principal and a grammarian. She used to say, “if everyone sweeps where he or she sleeps, the whole world will be clean”. So what makes me say this? We should not wait for a forum or a body to be formed. I’m not saying it is not possible or it is not good for such to exist. L et’s use Lagos as a case study. If Hospitals and educators in Lagos are 10. If the 10 are aware of the intricacies and implications of all these junks and become conscious of what their client consumes, it’s more like there is a forum. In every field, you have to keep getting yourself informed. Keep reading more, keep taking courses, keep doing research so that you can progress better. They say, knowledge is endless until you go down six feet.

Personally, there was a time when I had some plans.  I call it streets inclusive. Going out there to children who can’t afford being in school, working with them on the streets, teaching them how to sound, teaching them numbers, and all that. I’m thinking about the means to push this diet so that both special need educators, non-special need educators and schools embraces it. This kind of knowledge and ideas will be inculcated into teachers, school authorities, educators, and administrators. If all the therapists are aware of this, it’ll spread. They’ll educate their clients. Their clients will keep educating people out there. Before they know it, it’ll spread from one school to another school.

There’s no forum like that for now but there will be someday.

8. Do you have any cool stories on how a child’s diet can directly impact learning and contribute to creating a more conducive learning environment for students? How does what a child eat for breakfast and at lunch, snacks inclusive, affect how they show up in the classroom


Yes, food has a negative or positive effect on children. For instance, lots of fatty foods and protein-rich foods make a down syndrome child susceptible to obesity. On the other hand, foods with high sugar content have negative effects on autistic children because lots of sugar makes them more energetic and hyperactive, so they’ll be unable to concentrate in class. Both challenged children and non-challenged children. The truth is that a child may be experiencing the same behavior with an autistic child but there is 100% probability that the child is not autistic. But due to the fact that the sugar content and the junks are having negative effects on the child, he won’t have a high-hand coordination or the ability to concentrate.

Early in the morning, you see a child taking snacks and junk food. They come to school in the morning and the child is hyperactive. What happens to our naturals? Our vegetables? Our greens? Our fruits? I am not trying to write off fruits like Apple, but at times I begin to wonder this apple we consume is not grown in Nigeria. And it takes about three to four weeks for ships to arrive, what then is used to preserve it? How does the red one still comes in red and the green ones comes in green?

What about the chicken we eat? Back then you will buy chicken and the chicken will be so delicious but now look at poultry. The fishes we eat, we go to fish farmers when you get there they buy small fish within two weeks the fish has grown it’s ready to be sold. How did it grow that fast? Their injections or so-called fertilizer . Isn’t that chemical by the end of the day? Even rice itself have been filled with fertilizers. Then how do do we humans last long if everything we consume is artificial?

If children consume all this, how do you expect them to give you attention? They’re still much younger, their bones, veins, arteries, ,brain neurons and immune system is still very fragile.

9. Can you share any observations or experiences where improvements in a child’s diet led to noticeable changes in their behavior or academic performance?


Talking about any noticeable changes or experience with any of my clients, sticking to this diet’s rules. I have  one that is so spectacular, noticeable and remarkable.

There is a certain client I presently work with. When I first met this child, whenever he gets to school, everybody would know that he has arrived because he would need strong men to hold him, else, he would run away. In that process, he would kick, hit and bully anybody that comes his way. So, I started observing his lunch box, the snacks he brings to school, and I also made inquiries from his home to trace the root cause. And I was putting it down. When it was time for me to come into the matter. I called both parents. I called his school. I called everybody. I said, this is what I’ve been able to observe from this child.

 Everybody knows him  whenever he’s in school. Even some ladies in his school even end up taking to their heels. After I went on, I made this call. I informed the parents, school and everybody. I told them this is the implication of this. The parents, everybody asked me, what is the cause? I said I have observed his meal. I have observed what he brings to school. If he consumes all these things in school, then what does he consume at home? This child comes to school at 7.30 to 8. And he’s been hyperactive when the sun is yet to rise.Then what happens in the afternoon? The whole school will be brought down, right? What is the cause? They asked. I explained to them. These are the things he eats- High content sugar. And it gives him lots of energy. This is what people don’t understand. People think, I have the money so my child can eat whatever he or she wants. You’re killing your child. The moment the child keeps consuming all this, it’ll tell on you. I explain to them, let this food intake be completely taken off. I issue the booklet where I have information of what he can eat.

Permit me to use one of my clients as an example. I love one of my clients ,the parents are the best ever. The mom will gladly pass  when it comes to what a child should eat. You can’t see the child come to school with just anything. Even the child can’t eat lots of food during parties. And the child is doing excellently well.

When I kept on giving this instruction to these parents, stop giving your child this. Let him stop eating this. At the first instance, it wasn’t easy for them to stick to the rule. But as time went on, they started understanding my reasons. Now, everything has changed. He has changed because his immune system was completely checked and a lot of foods were completely taken off and replaced with good, high nutrient foods that are necessary to his brain development.

I have other ones I would love to share but this very one is great. So talking about nutrients, what the child eats has a positive or negative effect on the child. It’s just all about understanding the concept, keeping to the rules, then praying to God. Now, watch it. The success will be coming your way.

10. If your school gives the children lunch in school, whether optional or compulsory, how do you take kids with special dietary conditions into consideration, ensuring that they are also all-round well-nourished?


It’s all about the fact that some rules have to be kept. Also, maybe before the food is being issued out, it should be checked or food should be cooked specially food for them. Or if they are bringing food from home, it should be checked so it can be achieved.

Maybe there will be a minimized quantity of salt, or maybe just a pinch of salt should be used. For instance, for their food, or it depends on what they cook, all these spices shouldn’t be used. These things can be worked out if actually the parents, the school, and the therapist are very  serious about taking care of this. It can be achieved. Yeah, it can be achieved.

It depends on the situation that is on the ground, how the school wants it. If the challenge exists, then the round table method should be called, then rules and regulations should be put in place.

Next week Monday, we are featuring our seventh Superstar Educator. They actually don’t get to answer the same set of Q’s so get excited about reading a wide array of Q and A’s!

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Ok, see you next Monday with our Super star Educator talking LUNCH BOX PURITY!

With all my HEALTHY Love!


Wellness Revivalist and Lunch Box Purity


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