Happy 2018!!! I want to help make this a magical year for you by creating an opportunity to participate in a free clinical hypnotherapy study.
If you have a child or teenager aged 8-18 who has challenges with:
Sensory processing issues
I would like to invite them to participate in a hypnotherapy study from February 2018- July 2018. No formal diagnosis is required and there are no costs for participating. The basis for this program can be found here.
We will be applying different mind management and hypnosis techniques to interrupt negative patterns and train participants to take their minds out of fight/flight/freeze.
Please be advised that parental supervision is required at all hypnotherapy sessions.
For further information and to register, contact me.
I was recently touched and inspired by Emily Perl Kingsley’s poem, “Welcome to Holland,” which beautifully captures what it’s like to have a child with special needs.
I believe the sentiments below equally apply to all of life’s curve balls. I have done my fair share of wishing that the world would conform to my fantasies of how things “should be.” Every once in a while I need to remind myself that hard is not the same as bad…
Welcome To Holland
I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability – to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It’s like this……
When you’re going to have a baby, it’s like planning a fabulous vacation trip – to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It’s all very exciting.
After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, “Welcome to Holland.”
“Holland?!?” you say. “What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I’m supposed to be in Italy. All my life I’ve dreamed of going to Italy.”
But there’s been a change in the flight plan. They’ve landed in Holland and there you must stay.
The important thing is that they haven’t taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It’s just a different place.
So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.
It’s just a different place. It’s slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you’ve been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around…. and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills….and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.
But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy… and they’re all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say “Yes, that’s where I was supposed to go. That’s what I had planned.”
And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away… because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.
But… if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn’t get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things … about Holland.
Five years ago today on 12/12/12, my son Blake was born into this world!
In the video below, I share my ecstatic, natural, pain-free experience of his birth.
My midwife left during my labour transition (just minutes before we saw Blake’s head!) After attending hundreds of births, she perceived that it was unlikely that I was close to giving birth for 2 reasons:
Ina May Gaskin popularized out-of-hospital childbirth in the United States in the mid-seventies and she is now the most famous midwife in the world! This important book helped me understand how to connect with the empowering beauty of my son’s birth. I highly recommend it to all expectant mothers.
Candida Albicans is an opportunistic yeast that can grow out of control and overtake the good bacteria in your digestive tract. Yeast overgrowth manifests itself in many behavioral and physical signs.
Behavioral symptoms in children include: read more
Hands over ears
Unexplained intermittent crying episodes
Pressure seeking/laying on the ground
Loss of energy
Anger, aggression, non-compliance
Increased self-stimulatory behavior
Chewing on anything/everything, teeth grinding
Increased sensory defensiveness
Climbing/jumping off things
Plateauing in skills
Physical symptoms: (read more)
In the mouth, in the form of thrush
Belly aches/gas pains
Skin redness, rashes or eczema
Red ring around the anus
Rash or cracking between the toes or joints
Constipation or diarrhea
Increase in flatulence
Candida overgrowth symptoms in adults: (read more)
Allergies, sensitivities, and intolerances that worsen in damp, muggy or moldy places or weather that is damp, muggy, humid or rainy.
Hay fever and asthma.
Intolerances or allergies to perfumes, odors, fumes, fabric shop odors, grass, cats, dogs or other animals, tobacco smoke, chemicals, smog, molds, dust mites, dust, pollen, and other airborne substances.
Cheekbone or forehead tenderness, pain.
Cold hands or feet, low body temperature.
Cold-like symptoms: excessive mucus in the sinuses, nose, throat, bronchial tubes and lungs.
Cravings or addictions for sugar, bread, pasta and other high carb foods, and also alcohol.
Cysts, abnormal formation of, in different parts of the body, especially around the neck, throat, and ovaries, and in the bladder or scrotum.
Digestive problems – diarrhea, constipation, abdominal distention, bloating or pain, gas, mucus in the stools, hiatal hernia, ulcers, suffering from bacteria, i.e. salmonella, E. coli, h. pylori, etc.
Ears – ringing in the ears (tinnitus), sounds in the ears, ear infections, dryness, itchiness, ear pain, ear aches, ear discharges, fluid in ears, deafness, abnormal wax build-up.
Eyes – erratic vision, spots in front of eyes (eye floaters) and flashing lights; redness, dryness, itching, excessive tearing, inability to tear, etc.
Fatigue, chronic fatigue syndrome or Epstein Barr, or a feeling of being drained of energy, lethargy, drowsiness.
Glands – swollen, too little saliva (dryness in the mouth), blocked salivary glands, swollen lymph nodes.
Hair loss, scum on the scalp, dandruff, itchy scalp, scalp sores and dryness.
Heart palpitations and irregular heart beat.
Headaches, migraines, brain fog, dizziness, etc.
Hemorrhoids and rectal itching, rash, irritation and redness.
Irritability, nervousness, jitteriness and panic attacks.
Lesions on the skin, and inside the body, i.e. the brain.
Male-associated problems – jock itch, loss of sex drive, impotence, prostatitis, penis infections, difficulty urinating, urinary frequency or urgency, painful intercourse, swollen scrotum, etc.
Female health problems – infertility, vaginitis, unusual odors, endometriosis (irregular or painful menstruation), cramps, menstrual irregularities, pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS), discharge, painful intercourse, loss of sexual drive, redness or swelling of the vulva and surrounding area, vaginal itching or thrush, burning or redness, or persistent infections.
Fungal infections of the skin or nails, i.e. ringworm, seborrheic dermatitis, dark and light patches on the skin (tinea versicolor), etc.
Joint pain, stiffness or swelling (arthritis).
Kidney and bladder – infections, cystitis (inflammation of the bladder with possible infection), urinary frequency or urgency, low urine output, smelly urine, difficulty urinating, burning pain when urinating.
Lack of appetite.
Mind and Mood – anxiety attacks, crying spells, memory loss, feeling spaced out, depression (including suicidal feelings), manic feelings, inability to concentrate, mood swings, irritability, etc.
Mouth sores or blisters, canker sores, dryness, bad breath, a white coating on the tongue (thrush) and blocked salivary glands.
Muscle aches and pain, numbness, burning or tingling, and lack of strength and coordination.
The odor of the feet, hair or body not relieved by washing.
Respiratory – cough, bronchitis or pneumonia, pain or tightness in the chest, wheezing, shortness of breath, asthma.
Sick all over feeling.
Sinus inflammation, swelling and infections.
Skin – dryness, dry red patches, acne, pimples, hives, rashes, itching skin, eczema, psoriasis, seborrhea, ringworm, contact dermatitis, rosacea, etc.
Stomach – h. pylori bacteria (causes ulcers), heartburn, indigestion, hiatal hernia, acid reflux, belching, vomiting, burning, stomach pains, needle-like pains, food that seems to sit in the stomach like a lump, etc.
Sleep – insomnia, waking up frequently, nightmares, restless sleep, etc.
A sore throat, hoarse voice, constant tickle in the throat, laryngitis (loss of voice), etc.
I know that yeast can be notoriously difficult to get rid of once it grows out of control. I was tempted to take drastic action to kill it off by reverting back to stage 1 of the GAPS diet. I decided to postpone this hellish experience until the New Year, instead opting to temporarily limit fruit and introduce natural anti-fungals such as raw coconut oil and oil of oregano. I also gave Blake activated charcoal for a couple of weeks to curb the growth of intestinal-based yeast, and counteract the Herxheimer reaction.
One of my clients recently shared that she thought my personal commitment to health must be extremely difficult to maintain. The truth is that I don’t find it hard to maintain, I just find it inconvenient and time consuming. Our world is not set up with health promotion in mind. In fact, the more I learn, the more I feel like society’s “default” lifestyle options move us in the direction of disease.
I find it easy to maintain my personal commitment to health because I know how scary it is to manage disease. When you’ve been forced to manage disease, you learn what a privilege it is to be managing health.
Hypnosis and other peak performance practices have dramatically altered my personal health trajectory and taught me that DNA alone does not determine our destiny.
We are committed to doing everything we can to optimize Blake’s health and move forward on the following objectives:
Completely reverse all symptoms of autoimmune disease (including ADHD, dyspraxia and stuttering)
Heal leaky gut
Lose the Autism diagnosis by the time Blake is 7 years old
In order to meet these objectives:
We have strictly adhered to the GAPS (Gut and Psychology Syndrome) diet since March 2017 and we temporarily shifted to a GAPS version of the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol diet when Blake had joint inflammation
We eat fermented foods and bone broth on a daily basis
Life is like a wheel. One day you’re on the top, the next you’re on the bottom. Last month we felt certain that our son, Blake, was on the road to recovery. This month, we were in the ER three times and Blake was diagnosed with yet another autoimmune condition: Henoch-Schonlein Purpura (HSP).
HSP is a rare autoimmune disease that causes inflammation and bleeding in the small blood vessels in your skin, joints, intestines and kidneys. Most children recover from this illness with no long-term side effects but in rare cases it causes kidney failure.
During his HSP flare ups, Blake’s feet were so swollen that he couldn’t walk. Since Blake’s physical activity was severely limited, we spent a lot of time cuddling in our backyard hammock.
One evening when we were lying there, the clouds parted and Blake caught a glimpse of the moon. He hugged me tight and laughed out loud. “Do you see how beautiful the moon looks through the tree branches?” Blake asked. Then he added “I love you so much! I don’t ever want you or Daddy to die. I want us to live together forever!” I briefly looked down at Blake’s swollen feet, before turning my gaze back up to the sky.
Blake has taught me more about love and joy than anyone. I used to worry that if he was on the Autism Spectrum, he would never develop deep connections or have loving relationships. We still have many concerns about Blake’s future but I know that those particular fears are unfounded.
In light of this recent experience, I was apprehensive about making another radical change to my diet. However, after doing extensive research on Gut and Psychology Syndrome, I became convinced that the only way to truly resolve Blake’s health issues (as opposed to simply managing his symptoms) was to heal and seal his gut, detoxify his body, and replace missing nutrients. Since I couldn’t imagine asking my son to do something that I wasn’t willing to do myself, I committed to strictly following the Gut And Psychology Syndrome (GAPS) nutritional protocol alongside Blake.
My personal reaction to the GAPS Introductory Elimination diet was far more intense than I anticipated. In many ways it mirrored my experience during pregnancy. Instead of feeling “glowy” and happy as per my expectation, I was perpetually rashy and bitchy. I often felt foggy and exhausted during the day and restless at night. Reminiscent of my third trimester, I would wake up to pee several times a night and subsequently lie awake for hours, trying to wrap my head around the profound sense of responsibility I felt.
My somewhat reckless attitude towards probiotics (“a little is good, massive amounts must be better!”) initially made it difficult to assess whether the negative symptoms that I experienced during the GAPS introduction diet were part of die off/a healing crisis or indicative that this regime is just not good for me.
When my negative symptoms refused to subside 5 weeks into the diet, I was advised to re-introduce sweet potatoes, increase my overall carbohydrate consumption and reduce my fat intake. After making these simple tweaks, I felt 100% within a few days.
Today I feel better than ever! Initially I felt like I was making a huge lifestyle sacrifice for my son. Now I see that this is one of the countless ways that Blake is making me a better person.
I want to conclude this post by sharing a touching Mother’s Day article written by my friend Julie Daniluk, a phenomenal person and an amazing holistic nutritionist.
Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS) Nutritional Protocol and Detox Program – 2 Month Update
I recently saw someone wearing a t-shirt that read: “What stage of hell are we in?” I immediately assumed that he was working his way through the 6 stages of the GAPS introduction diet too.
Our family officially began the GAPS nutritional protocol and detox program in March and the past two months have been an intense roller coaster ride. My husband Rob and I implemented this difficult nutritional protocol under duress, two weeks before a pre-booked trip to Disney World. FYI – I wouldn’t recommend that particular vacation destination to anyone committed to eating clean food.
Admittedly, our GAPS diet implementation was ill-timed, however, we felt compelled to adhere to it as strictly as possible after seeing extreme regression in our son, Blake, following a string of social events where we failed to restrict his food freedom. Blake’s typically mild ADHD, dyspraxia and autism symptoms became wildly obvious after he ate sugar, wheat, or dairy.
When I read this and this, I knew what we had to do.
I knew that the GAPS diet would not be easy. To understand what makes it so challenging: check out this fearless eating post.
There were many weeks when Rob and I felt like our lives were completely consumed by meal planning, grocery shopping, cooking and dish washing. So were our Herculean efforts worthwhile?
Research suggests that “It gets worse before it gets better” but almost immediately after beginning the diet, we gave Blake aggressive probiotics (in the form of home-fermented kefir and sauerkraut) and I caught a glimpse of the potential healing power of GAPS. For the first time, Blake demonstrated the ability to follow multi-step instructions independently (e.g. put your toys away, then put on your socks and meet me by the door). Typically Blake would get distracted during the first step and he would require consistent prompting to stay on track. Blake also became super chatty with his toys and he volunteered to tell us stories at dinner that he had never shared before.
Unfortunately, Blake’s symptoms intensified shortly thereafter. We had been advised that during the initial stages of GAPS, each person goes through a “die-off” period, which temporarily increases the amount of toxins in the body. As we introduce probiotics, beneficial bacteria is teaming with the overgrowth of pathogenic bacteria. This releases toxins into the blood stream for our detoxification organs (especially the liver and skin) to deal with. Rob, Blake and I all experienced highly individual “die-off” symptoms. I will share more about our diverse healing journeys in subsequent posts.
We were told that healing is always two steps forward, one step back. Some days, Rob and I are absolutely convinced that the GAPS nutritional protocol and detox program is working. Other days, worrying symptoms return with a vengeance.
On the plus side, Blake and Rob have experienced some objective, positive physical results since starting the GAPS program. Blake’s body weight has increased by 10% and his normally bloated tummy now looks slender. Rob’s body weight has decreased by about 8% and he has definition in his abs that I’ve never seen before. I look and weigh pretty much the same as I did before. 😕
I used to believe that Autism was a life-long developmental condition for which there was no cure. I no longer believe this to be the case.
Over the past year my son, Blake, began manifesting symptoms of Autism, ADHD and Dyspraxia (a developmental disorder affecting fine and/or gross motor coordination). Blake struggled to meet some key social and physical milestones and he exhibited excessive self-stimulating behaviours (spinning, covering his ears with his hands, walking on his toes, chewing on everything he could get his hands on, vocal expressions, frequent posturing, seeking pressure).
Until recently, I believed that there were fundamental differences in the brains of individuals on the autism spectrum that affected their learning, sensory perception, and communication. I have since learned that Autism isn’t just a brain disorder. It is a whole body disorder diagnosed by what is observable. However, these signs and symptoms are often the result of underlying co-occurring/comorbid medical conditions.
The more I researched, the clearer it became — Autism, ADHD, ADD, Dyspraxia, Dyslexia, Depression, and Schizophrenia are all “Brain-Gut” disorders. The data in Dr. David Perlmutter’s book, Grain Brain, helped me make sense of a pattern that I had long observed in Blake. Whenever he ate “inflammatory foods” like grains, dairy and sugar, he became hyperactive, unable to focus and his self-stimulating behaviours intensified.
After reading Dr. Mark Hyman’s article, Can Autism be Cured? the treatment plan for Blake became apparent:
Step 1: Fix His Gut and Cool the Inflammation There
Step 2: Replace the Missing Nutrients to Help His Genes Work Better
Step 3: Detoxify and Reduce Oxidative Stress
In hypnotherapy, the mind can follow the body or the body can follow the mind. I know that when we heal Blake’s body, his mind will follow. To that end, our family implemented the GAPS (Gut and Psychology Syndrome) nutritional protocol last Friday. We are committed to following this challenging gut-healing nutritional/detox program for two years — the minimum suggested time frame given Blake’s symptoms.
I hate the idea of subjecting my son to such a restrictive regime but I want him to have the guts to live an unlimited life (pun intended!) Blake already has the spirit of a champion. I am confident that this nutritional protocol will help him build the mind and body to match.