Interesting New Research on Autism

I’m always fascinated by the new information that is discovered about Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). What has become more and more evident is that there is not just one explanation.  The more we know the better we are able to help those on the spectrum have a rich, full and productive life.

This report in Medical Express discusses a new study, published online Oct. 17 in Molecular Psychiatry, that looks why autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are more common in boys than girls. They look at a specific genetic deletion and, though they do find a gender difference in how this deletion plays out, the study does not answer the question of ‘why’. However, the information is another piece of the puzzle and may help in treatment in the future.

Nevada Equine Assisted Therapy works with children, teens and even adults, on the spectrum.  Every person on the spectrum presents with a unique set of behaviors, so we meet them where they are. Sometimes this means working on quieting impulsive behaviors while at others, it may mean helping a client ‘come out of their shell’ and encouraging them to interact more with the world around them. Because we work one-on-one (client, horse and Qualified Mental Health Associate – QMHA) we have no set timeline for what needs to happen and when. Clients respond well to this ‘no pressure,’ yet engaging and, at times challenging, environment.

If you or someone you know is living with ASD, we are here to help. Give us a call or send an email and we will schedule a time for you to visit. We will show you around the ranch, introduce our wonderful horses, learn more about what you are dealing with and share how we may be able to help.

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ADHD and Sensory Processing Issues

If you ask most people what the symptoms of ADHD are, you are likely to get a lot of input about not being able to sit still, blurting out information, constantly moving, lack of focus and probably impulsive behaviors. You would probably hear this from parents/caregivers, teachers and maybe even those without person experience, based on what they have heard. And this would most likely all be true to some extent for someone diagnosed with ADHD.

However, there is an interesting new study that also indicates that those living with ADHD may have tactile response issues. This article appears in a rather unlikely source – Gears of Biz, Technology That is Useful to Your Business and Career – but they are sharing information that appears in  the Journal of Neurophysiology, indicating that there is some evidence that those dealing with ADHD have a delay in reaction time and detecting a weak stimulus on the skin. What is interesting to me is that the speculation is that this is “possibly also due to low levels of the neurotransmitters that calm nerve activity”. Though obviously there is more research to do, but it does not take much imagination to speculate that if this is true, that there are ‘low levels’ of a neurotransmitter that calms nerve activity, it could explain a lot of the behaviors that are going on. At least to me that makes sense. Perhaps our highly active child/teen is simply looking for the stimulation that will trigger this nerve calming neurotransmitter. Again, there is more research that needs to be done, but I found this very interesting.

One of the things about working with horses is that there is an incredible amount of stimulus. From the visual environment, to the massive tactile input received while grooming, not to mention, auditory and olfactory stimulation, our clients get a big dose of sensory information and perhaps this is part of what helps them actually calm themselves while working with the horses. Even those who would normally be overwhelmed by too much stimulation are able to find ways to calm themselves, slowing down, taking deep breaths or just taking a time out, because they really do want to be with the horses.

We work with children as young as 4, teens, adults and even seniors. Our work is one-on-one. One client, one Qualified Mental Health Associate (QMHA) and one horse. We work on each client’s specific issues and goals. From leading, grooming, learning about horse and herd behavior to actually riding, our clients experience a wide range of new and sometimes challenging situations, that help them find new ways to deal with their life challenges.

If you or someone you know are struggling with ADHD (or another social, emotional, behavioral of mental health issue) call or email us to schedule a visit to the ranch. We will show you around, introduce our wonderful horses, learn more about what you are dealing with and share how we may be able to help.

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A Combination of Mental Health Issues

For many people, it is not just one mental health issue they are dealing with. The issues can ‘tag team’ you till you feel just completely overwhelmed. In this Forbes piece by author Amulya Malladi, she shares her experience of struggling with both anxiety and depression and in her book The Copenhagen Affair she explores this situation further, when her protagonist is depressed after a nervous breakdown and she is also suffering from anxiety – everyday tasks becoming monumental hurdles. It is not hard to imagine how this can spiral into a very dark place.

Many of the clients we work come to us with multiple issues. It is not hard to figure out that if you are dealing with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder you might become depressed about how your life contracts around this condition. Addiction usually starts when someone is dealing with some type of pain, physical/emotional/mental and struggles with a way to ease that pain. People dealing with trauma may find themselves anxious about many things and also lashing out at others. This might be diagnosed as Oppositional Defiant Disorder in children and teens.

We have our work cut out for us as we untangle what is going on with those we work with. It is so important that we get to the bottom of what is going on if we want to see true and long-lasting growth and change. Work with horses can be powerful, as horses don’t see labels, they simply see behaviors. Because they are prey animals, they can absolutely relate to the underlying fear (anxiety) that drives so many people. They calm us, they support us (both figuratively and literally!) and they don’t judge us. This lack of being judge can be the first step to not judging ourselves.

We work with issues from addiction to sensory processing issues. ADHD, depression, anxiety, schizophrenia and so much more. Children as young as 4, teens, adults and seniors, we have a place for everyone. If you or someone you know are struggling with social, emotional, behavioral of mental health issues, we are here for you. Call or email and we will schedule a visit. You can come out, tour the ranch and meet our incredible herd. We will learn more about what you are dealing with and share how we may be able to help.

 

 

 

Posted in Addiction, ADHD, Anxiety Disorders, Asperger's, Autism, Bipolar, Children's issues, Depression, Eating Disorders, FAS, Grief, Mental Health, OCD, ODD, Other challenges, PTSD, Reactive Attachment Disorder, Schizophrenia, Teens | Leave a comment

Family, Friends, Neighbors and Co-Workers

The evidence is in and we are NOT doing a good job! Today is World Mental Health Day and according to Fortune, the statistics show that most adults struggling with mental health issues are not receiving the support they need.

Look, chances are good that you know someone who is struggling. A child with ADHD. A teen with an anxiety disorder. An adult dealing with addiction. A senior living with depression. Family and friends also feel the pain as they try to support someone they care about and help them find a way to a healthier and happier life.

There are services available. From traditional talk therapy to medications and many unique types of interventions as well. In our program, we are often part of the treatment team, working with children as young as four, teens, adults and yes, even seniors. We work one-on-one with the client and the horse they have chosen to help them on their journey. We address each clients specific issues while interacting with our equine partners. Our goals may be to increase focus or to develop good leadership skills. We may working on decreasing anxiety or on understanding that adults have information that kids need to be safe and successful. We may be rebuilding confidence or on decreasing impulsive behaviors. Whatever the goal, work with horses can be very powerful way to make things happen!

Please, if you or someone you know, are struggling, seek help. We are here for you. Call of email and we will set up a tour of the ranch. We will show you around, introduce you to our horses, learn more about what you are dealing with and share how we may be able to help.

Posted in Addiction, ADHD, Anxiety Disorders, Asperger's, Autism, Bipolar, Children's issues, Depression, Eating Disorders, FAS, Grief, Mental Health, OCD, ODD, Other challenges, PTSD, Reactive Attachment Disorder, Schizophrenia, Seniors Program, Sensory processing issues, Teens | Leave a comment

There Are Many Options For Dealing With Anxiety

Everyone is different. Some deal with setbacks and challenges, brushing it off and moving on. Other people need to rebound and still others may get stuck in a place of pain and fear. For some a good friend to talk to may be enough to get them back on track. A skilled therapist can help many, while some need a variety of interventions.

No one approach is right or wrong. It is just a question of what works for you. This NPR report shares a new study, published in the Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, that talks about how for some, a combination of medication and therapeutic interventions is the most effective way to address anxiety.

Nevada Equine Assisted Therapy can be a powerful part of any treatment plan. The challenging, though non-threatening interactions with our herd can help client’s realize that they can do things that may have seemed daunting to them in the past. The act of grooming a horse is very soothing, and as one client recently observed ‘I can think about how wonderful this feels when I am stressed at school’. For many clients just being able to be themselves, with no judgement – horses don’t care what you look like, how you dress or what your voice sounds like (among other things) – is a gift. We start on the ground, building understanding and confidence. Once up on the horse, clients learn that they can do so much more than they may have thought.

If you or someone you know is struggling with anxiety, or any other issue that limits the ability to fully enjoy life, seek help. There are many resources out there. If you are interested in learning more about how Equine Assisted Therapy can help, call or email us. We will be happy to answer your questions and to set up a time for you to visit the ranch. We will show you around, introduce our wonderful horses, learn more about what you are dealing with and share how we may be able to help.

Posted in Addiction, Anxiety Disorders, Asperger's, Children's issues, Depression, Grief, Mental Health, OCD, PTSD, Reactive Attachment Disorder, Seniors Program, Teens | Leave a comment

How Do We Deal With These Troubling Times?

On a good day life has its challenges. We run late, we end up in traffic, we forget to do something we needed to, we get home to discover that the dog chewed up a shoe, we can’t get excited about anything for dinner and don’t get to bed as early as we like. That’s probably a typical day for many of us. But then you add in things like devastating natural disasters or horrific crimes and it is easy to understand how we can become immobilized by sadness, fear and even depression.

During difficult times it is especially important that we take care of ourselves. This list of 9 things that you need to keep in mind may help. Take time for yourself, even if it is only a few quiet moments to gather yourself together and prepare for the day.

Nevada Equine Assisted Therapy is scheduling special pro bono sessions for those in the area who have been affected by this terrible tragedy that occurred in Las Vegas on Sunday night. You can email us at neatinfo@yahoo.com for more details…

Posted in Addiction, Anxiety Disorders, Children's issues, Depression, Grief, Mental Health, PTSD, Seniors Program, Teens | Leave a comment

What We Know About Autism

In this day and age, I would guess that most people have heard of autism and have at least a vague understanding of what this neurological condition is all about. For some people it will be simply be a ‘oh yeah, I’ve heard of it,’ while for many it will be all about a life of personal experience. Through the years there has been incredible debate about what causes autism and it seems that new information becomes available all the time.

In this TIME Health piece, the results of a recent study, published in the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) are presented. It is interesting because they went back and used data from a previous study, but considered the information from a new perspective. The finding show a shift towards a great ‘environmental’ influence, but also emphasizes that genetics still plays the largest role.

No matter the causes, there is very strong evidence that the earlier and more intensive the interventions provided, the greater chances a child has to be able to integrate and function well in mainstream populations. There are many very, very good interventions available and equine assisted therapy is among them.

From stimulating language centers of the brain through mounted work, to helping children work through sensory issues, equine assisted therapy offers many benefits for those on the autism spectrum. Nevada Equine Assisted Therapy works with children as young as 4, teens and even adults, on the autism spectrum. Working one-on-one with a Qualified Mental Health Associate (QMHA) and a horse the client chosen, we focus on each clients individual goals and objectives. The client’s

specific situation, from developing appropriate self-soothing techniques to improving social awareness, is the focus of the work we do in partnership with our horses.

If you know someone with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) we are here to help. We are happy to make an appointment for you to come and visit us. We will show you around the ranch, introduce you to our wonderful horses, learn more about what your dealing and share how we might be able to help. Call or email today to schedule a visit.

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True and False – ADHD Findings

In this day and age, most of us have heard of someone with ADHD. It may be our child or grandchild, a child in our classroom or perhaps the next door neighbor or, even someone we work with. Or maybe it’s us. But not everything you have heard is true and new information is changing the way we view and treat those who are struggling with ADHD.

Int this USNews piece, several specialists share their insights on the myths surrounding ADHD, including that ‘It’s A Curse’ and that ‘You Outgrow ADHD’.

Of course there are many interventions that can be incredibly helpful for children, teens and adults living with ADHD and work with horses is one of them!  From increasing focus to decreasing impulsive behaviors, to improving boundaries to building self-confidence, horse offer many, many opportunities to help people find a path to a healthier and happier life.

If you, or someone you know, is struggling with ADHD, seek help. We are here to be a part of your team! Call or email and we can schedule a visit. We will show you around, introduce our wonderful horses, learn more about what you are dealing with and share how we may be able to help. Take the first step today and get in touch with us.

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Horses Helping People Heal

We KNOW that work with horses can help people heal, because we SEE IT every day with the clients we work with, but it is so encouraging to hear about other programs that are partnering with horses to help others.

This is a great story from the Char-Koosta News, about how Amanda Held, an Equine Sense Coaching certified equine specialist has partnered with Shaunda Albert, a licensed addictions counselor and certified Rehabilitation counselor, at the local Voc Rehab Program, to help their clients find a path to health and healing through work with horses.

I love reading, Shaunda Alberts statement that “The Equine Assisted therapy is extremely beneficial for treating chemical dependency, PTSD, Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD), setting boundaries, helping domestic violence victims and other issues. It is my intention to assist our clients and their families and other individuals that have been diagnosed with PTSD and other mental health issues”.

Though our program is structured differently, we embrace the same principal that through work with horses, our clients can find a path to healing, health and happiness.

We work with children as young as 4 years of age, teens and adults, struggling with social, emotional, behavioral and mental health issues.

If you, or someone you know, are having hard time dealing with life’s challenges, call or email us to schedule a visit. We will show you around the ranch, introduce you to our wonderful equine partners, learn more about what you are dealing with and share how we might be able to help.

 

Posted in Addiction, ADHD, Anxiety Disorders, Asperger's, Autism, Bipolar, Children's issues, Depression, Eating Disorders, FAS, Grief, Mental Health, OCD, ODD, Other challenges, Other programs, PTSD, Reactive Attachment Disorder, Schizophrenia, Seniors Program, Sensory processing issues, Team Building, Teens | Leave a comment

Kids, Teens and Adults on the Autism Spectrum Can Surprise Us!

Nevada Equine Assisted Therapy has worked with many people on the Autism Spectrum. From children as young as 4, to teens and even adults, work with horses can offer many new and potentially powerful experiences for those on the spectrum.

Reading this touching story in the New York Times, by Cammie McGovern, about her son, Ethan, reminded me that we not only need to be ‘realistic’ in our expectations for our special needs kiddos, but we also need to never stop dreaming big. Without offering them the opportunity to try new and sometimes challenging things, neither they, nor we, can know what they are capable of and may enjoy.

Kids on the spectrum can be resistant. Getting them out the door, even to go to school, may be a challenge. They may have repetitive behaviors that interfere with doing things that have a beginning, a middle and an end. The good news is that in our program, we can start anywhere that is the right place for our client! Maybe the first session they meet a horse, feel their coat and watch while a Qualified Mental Health Associate grooms the horse, name the tools that she is using. Heck, with one kiddo, who was so impulsive that we had a hard time keeping track of him and his horse at the same time, we got him up on his second visit (NOT our usual path!) so that we only had one moving object to manage – AND HE LOVED IT!

I do want to say, that our program is not a traditional ‘Therapeutic Riding Program’. We do not have side walkers or horse handlers, so our program is not always a good fit, but, if we discover that this is the case, we are happy to refer families on to other programs in our area. But, we absolutely invite you to call or email to schedule a visit to see if we can help you and your child/teen/young adult experience the joy, growth and learning that horses have to share!

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