Now, in some cases this team involves a physical therapist and maybe even a speech therapist as well as doctors and counselors. However, in addition to these disciplines, there are a couple of others that I am referring to and I am very excited to be working with them.
My team consists of my nutrition coordinator, my horse owners, my nutritional store, my naturopathic doctor, my parents, and of course God.
I have talked a lot about the need for the blending of Western and Eastern medicine or practice in order to treat each individual in a way that will be the very best for them and the outcomes that everyone has in mind. Not one entity can accomplish this on their own and if they think they can, they are doing a HUGE injustice for the child or adult, depending on who you are treating.
Throwing pills at people is just masking the underlying cause of what is going on and in many cases, creates secondary side effects that seem to outweigh the very thing that was the problem in the first place.
In order to treat the whole person/child, one must start with nutrition because yes, this makes a huge difference as it is necessary to have a solid foundation in which to work off of. If you are putting junk in, junk will come out. In fact, a lot of the additives that are in foods can create 'syndrome' looking outcomes and if you change your eating habits, your 'syndromes' just might go away. An example of this was one of my OT kids who looked like he was on the rather severe side of the autism spectrum but with a lot of study, talking to folks, and faith, this kid's parents changed his diet and now you would be hard pressed to see him as autistic at all on most days. I applaud these folks and all of you parents out there that realize the importance of good nutrition.
The other thing that I feel is important is emotional health. This is the cornerstone of the whole person. If you see your child having a lot of anxiety for whatever reason, this can cause the over-release of cortisol and adrenaline into the system, which not only taxes the adrenal glands but can also decrease your immunity welcoming a lot of sickness. Many of the autoimmune system diseases that we are seeing these days can be linked backed to over-taxed adrenal glands, though there are other reasons to consider as well.
So, getting a good handle on your nutrition and emotional health is essential for your foundation of human-ness. I myself am gluten free, sugar free, and processed food free. If I get a hold of these foods, my gut kicks my tail and I find myself frequenting the bathroom as well as a very gassy and painful gut area. I have also added the Muse to my daily routine to help me decrease my anxiety and become more mindful. The Muse is a biofeedback system that can be found on Amazon. I highly recommend this daily for at least 5-12 minutes. I have been able to lower my blood pressure quite nicely since using it.
Going back to nutrition for a minute, did you know that the gut is the area of 70% of our immunity? This is why it is essential to take care of that gut, y'all. If that percentage of immunity is hanging out in there, you owe it to yourself and your children to change that nutrition for the better. Your quality of life will thank you.
In order to address nutrition, I am currently working with my coordinator, who is also a life coach and a physical therapy assistant, as well as a place here in my town called Ruth's Nutrition. Ruth's Nutrition is the bomb and has a whole mess of healthy alternatives because although I believe in lean protein and plant based eating, not every person or child can tolerate this as they might have texture issues or other food related issues and its just not possible. Ruth's Nutrition is my bridge for this issue with my OT kids and I am thrilled to be working with them as well as my nutrition coordinator.
I get a lot of raised eyebrows when I talk about the next part of my team because a lot of folks don't get exposed to this let alone heard of this. My farm and ranch owners allow me the benefit of horse assisted therapy in the form of Hippotherapy, which is OT using a horse and this is my riding part as well as my horse assisted therapy, which is ground work with no riding.
Horses are preyed upon animals and when this is your mindset, you are given incredibly heightened senses because you have to be able to immediately decipher if a situation is going to eat you or kill you. It makes one a bit jumpy as you can imagine but not jumpy in a way you might think.
Horses have managed to survive in herds for thousands of years and because of their heightened sense of awareness, they feel everything. Given this, they are the best animals for the job of helping people and children. My ranch owner told me a story one time that she had a mom, dad, and child out at the ranch doing a guided family session where they stood in the arena with a few horses and a pony. The family seemed edgy each time they came. The horses would go up to the daughter but not really pay any mind to the mom and definitely not the dad. Here's the interesting part...the pony would go up to the man, turn his rump at him, and poop on his shoes. The man never moved, never wiped the poo from his shoe, he would just stand there. They would leave and then come back the week after for their next session. This happened a few more times with the same response from the man after getting pooped on, not moving or wiping his shoes off. On one visit the daughter timidly blurted out after getting pooped on maybe the 3rd or 4th visit, "The pony knows." To which the mother whipped around and scowled at the girl as if to tell her to shut up. This got the attention of the woman directing the session. Long story short, the dad was sexually abusing the daughter while the mom looked the other way and the horse knew that the man was bad. The authorities were called and the parents were arrested. The daughter went to live with extended family. This is a true story, people. Horses know. They might not understand sexual abuse, but they sense bad in people. As my ranch friend says, "They will either walk up to you or not. If you are bad, they might poop on your shoes." Horses know.
They also sense anxiety, anger, and depression to name a few, which is something you may not even realize that you had standing in an arena with a group of horses. If your try moving towards a horse and the horse moves away from you, it senses something uneasy in you. Horses are used in all kinds of psychological treatment and my ranch friend has a War Veterans program that she works on as well. Horses know, y'all, and they can heal. I know my time with them has healed me in many ways.
My Hippotherapy program utilizes the horse for its central nervous system organizing gait pattern, core strength, crossing the mid-line, confidence building, and a ton more therapeutic benefits that would take too long to list. Kids make such wonderful gains if you can add a horse to their OT sessions.
My team would not be complete without the addition of a fascinating woman who is a board certified naturopathic doctor. She embraces Eastern medicine practices and natural healing because after all, our bodies can heal themselves, we've just been convinced that this isn't possible in some cases, so not true. This brilliant woman is an honor to work with and I recommend her to my OT kid families often when Western medicine just isn't working on its own.
Family is also an important part of the team as the kids spend the most time with them. I tell my parents a lot to help their child perform the exercises that are sent home so gains can be made quicker. I have some of the most incredible families, y'all.
Finally, and yes, I'm unconventional and you don't have to agree with me, that's your choice . . . God and prayer. If you leave out nutrition, emotional health, OT/PT/ST, counseling, and any other healthcare provider and then leave out God, well, you're good as gone as far as I'm concerned.
The pentafecta of health is nutrition, emotional health, movement, being outside in the fresh air, and of course, God and prayer. Leaving any of this out will hold anyone back from a good quality of life and if you are holding it back from your kids, well, step back and reassess, okay?
To all my sweet families and everyone else too, the most important thing you can do is listen to your heart and your gut, they tell you things that you need to know. God built us to be great, we just have to help the process, ya know?