New Autism Research!

I am always amazed by the ever growing body of knowledge that research provides us!

This Newsweek article address new blood tests that can identify bio-markers that are linked to autism. The interview/article is quick to point out that this is only a ‘predictive’ test and, of course there are still many questions to be answered, but this seems to me to be a powerful tool, that may allow families to make informed decisions and be a step to providing the kinds of ‘early interventions’ that have been shown to help kids on the spectrum reach their greatest potential. As always, we will have to wait and see how this new information helps.

Equine Assisted Therapy is among the interventions that have shown really wonderful results for those on the spectrum. This article posted on the Autism Spectrum Disorder Foundation’s (asdf) website talks about many of the benefits of Equine Therapy for those on the spectrum AND offers some ideas on financial assistance!

Nevada Equine Assisted Therapy works with children as young as 4, teens and even adults. Our program offers one-on-one sessions with goals and objectives focused on each clients specific needs. We are at the ranch Tuesday through Saturday and are located on 20 min south of Reno and 10 min north of Carson City. We are happy to schedule a visit for you and your child/teen to visit us. We will show you around the ranch, introduce our incredible horses, learn more about what you are dealing with and share how we may be able to help. Call or email us and we will make it happen!

Posted in Asperger's, Autism, Children's issues, Teens | 2 Comments

A Very Interesting Look at ADHD

I think most of us would say we are familiar with what ADHD is. We probably picture a little boy running wild, unable to sit still, disrupting a classroom and just plain tearing things up.  I would also guess that many of us are also now familiar with some of the more subtle things that go on with someone living with ADHD. The trouble sleeping, the struggle with relationships and perhaps depression and feelings of frustration and sadness over being ‘different’.

In this ADDITUDE Inside the ADHD mind article, the author,  William Dodson, M.D., shares an aspect of ADHD that many of us have probably not considered…the emotional symptoms of ADHD/ADD. I think this is a REALLY important component that many teachers, therapists and caregivers fail to recognize and provide support for. The article suggests that often, these extremely strong emotions are misdiagnosed as a mood disorder or even depression, when in fact they are a part of the ADHD/ADD profile of low self-esteem and feelings of shame and suggests that those struggling with ADHD/ADD need lots of positive emotional support to deal with these feelings.

Ok, so through work with horses, we can help clients learn to slow down, stay focused and improve their ability to complete tasks. We encourage them to practice self-soothing/self-calming skills. We offer an opportunity to engage in a non-judgemental and accepting relationship, not only with their Qualified Mental Health Associate, but with the horse they choose to work with AND in a gently challenging, yet non-critical environment, clients develop confidence and build self-esteem.

If you or someone you know are struggling with ADHD/ADD, we are here to help! Call or email and we will schedule a time for you to visit the ranch. We will give you a tour, introduce our incredible horses, learn more about what you are dealing with and share how we might be able to help.

Posted in Addiction, ADHD, Anxiety Disorders, Children's issues, Depression, Mental Health, OCD, ODD, PTSD, Reactive Attachment Disorder, Teens | Leave a comment

When You Are Feeling Anxious

A big test. Talking with the boss about a raise. The first day at school. Moving to a new place. There are many legitimate reasons for feeling ‘anxious’. But sometimes anxiety becomes more than just the day-to-day concerns and start to interfere with our lives.

This article in Self looks at some of the signs that it may be time to seek help from a Mental Health Professional. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), anxiety affects about 40 million American adults each year, but there is more to it than that. The article goes on to discuss several different types of anxiety disorders and talks to the shame and fear that can accompany sever feelings of anxiety. Lots of symptoms are discussed. Among them, functional impairment, sleep issues, irritability and physical problems. Clinical psychologist Robert Duff, Ph.D. states “If your anxiety is bothering you and you are suffering, you deserve to get help”. The article also offers lots of good resources and tips for dealing with anxiety.

Work with horses can be a powerful intervention for those dealing with anxiety. Stepping outside of your comfort zone, but into a non-judgemental but gently challenging environment builds confidence. Learning that you can be a good leader continues to bolster a ‘I can do this’ frame of mind. Learning and practicing self-calming/self-soothing skills while doing something that is special makes the process easier. It is a journey of discover about horses but, more importantly about you! We go at your pace with your goals and objectives guiding the journey.

The bottom line. If you or someone you know are missing out on life because of anxiety, seek help. We are here. If you need to a referral to a therapist, we can provide you a list of local resources. Give us a call of send us an email. We will schedule a time for you to visit the ranch. We will show you around, introduce you to our wonderful herd, learn more about what you are dealing with and share how we may be able to help.

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

Which Came First The Cell Phone or Feeling Isolated?

Most of us have seen and experienced children, teens and even adults who are so attached their technology that the rest of their lives are diminished. It is alarming when entire families sitting at the table together are all engaged in separate interactions with an electronic device, not talking to each other and not connecting. And the tantrums that occur when the devices need to be put down or left behind can be mind numbing, but there is growing evidence that being too connected can be hazardous. Things that don’t get done, losing sleep, the tantrums I mentioned above and, studies are showing a link between technology use and teen depression.

This report on WSOCTV.COM shares that a recent study, published in Clinical Psychological Science, “found teens who spent time on non-screen activities — such as sports, exercise, or print media — were less likely to report mental health issues than those spending more time on devices such as smartphones”.

However, Dr. Schlozman is a child psychiatrist at Massachusetts General Hosiptal’s Clay Center for Young Healthy Minds, states that there is still a big question about ’cause and effect’ “Would a depressed kid be more likely to own a cell phone. Or does the ownership of the cell phone lead to a greater likelihood of depression?”

Dr. Schlozman goes on to look at some possible explanations for the correlation, especially those surrounding communication. Less face-to-face communication, where more than typed words give meaning to what is said, can lead to miscommunication. He adds, “Kids are more impulsive than adults. So, they’re more likely to send those texts or e-mails or Instagrams or Snapchats and they can’t take it back”.

The truth is, inter-personal communication skills are an important part of relationships and with out connected relationships we become isolated and more likely to feel lonely, which can lead to depression.

The bottom line is, though “taking the phone away is neither an option, nor a desire, since cellphones do serve a useful purpose. But placing limits – even small ones – can have benefits”. But, of course what do you provide instead or as an incentive?

Work with horses can be very enticing! Our client’s start by learning about horse and herd behavior. They become more capable and confident in themselves as the lead, groom and in time, ride the horse they have chosen. We encourage our client to ‘get to know’ the horse they choose and to build a trusting relationship with ‘their’ horse. They practice decision making and problem solving AND spend time outdoors adding some physical activity into their lives.

The report closes “Mental health experts say it is often difficult to differentiate between normal teen behavior and signs of depression. Loss of interest in activities, increased time spent alone, sleeping during the day, and sudden changes in appetite can all be symptoms that could be associated with teen depression. If in doubt, consult your pediatrician” or mental health professional.

Nevada Equine Assisted Therapy can be a powerful intervention. We are here to help. If you have concerns about your child, teen or even yourself, call or email us and we can schedule a time for you to come to the ranch. We will show you around, introduce our incredible herd, lean more about what you are dealing with and share how we might be able to help.

Posted in Addiction, ADHD, Anxiety Disorders, Autism, Children's issues, Depression, Eating Disorders, Mental Health, OCD, ODD, PTSD, Reactive Attachment Disorder, Sensory processing issues, Teens | Leave a comment

A Better Way to Deal with ‘Acting Out’

We have all seen it. A kiddo who is dealing with something that may be challenging or frustrating and they just lose it. but they may throw things, lash out, yell, cry or even just curl up in a ball and shut down. Often, we are at a loss. We can’t even figure out what all the fuss is about. The kiddos refuse to do what they are asked to and become ‘rebellious’. Many times this leads to punishment, ‘consequences’ or discipline. Sadly, what we usually fail to do, is look at why this behavior is happening and provide tools for dealing with the underlying fear and anxiety.

The Northwest Herald shares the story of how McHenry High School District 156, is taking a new approach and utilizing ‘Animal-assisted Therapy’ to help alleviate some of the underlying issues that often present as ‘behavioral problems’.  The article goes on to talk about many of the things that working with animals provides the students, with students even sharing their own insights into what they have learned.

Nevada Equine Assisted Therapy can provide the same benefits, from teaching coping skills to promoting self-awareness, work with horses can be a powerful intervention for kids and teens with ‘behavioral problems’.

Our staff of Qualified Mental Health Associates, and our incredible herd of horses, work one-on-one with each client to address their specific issues. Anger, depression, anxiety, whatever it is that is keeping the child/teen from functioning well. We work with children as young as 4, teaching them about safe boundaries, improving communication, building self-confidence and so much more. Horses are powerful.

If you know a child or teen who is struggling, we are here to help. We are located 20 min south of Reno and only 10 min north of Carson. We invite you to 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. Call of email us today.

 

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

Anxiety Can Happen to Anyone

We all have our challenges. We do. We just do. Young or old. Tall or short. Slim or curvy. Financially secure or living on the edge. There are those that are more resilient and there are those who may need help with the challenges they face. The good news is that there is help available.

This article posted on Whim My Body & Soul, shares Lucie Ferguson’s insights on anxiety. A highly successful fashion designer, she has recently blogged about her struggles with anxiety. She is very honest about what her struggle looks like and reminds us all that “you never truly know what someone might be battling, however shiny their life might look” and at the end of the article urges anyone struggling to seek help.

Work with horses can be a very powerful intervention for those dealing with anxiety. There is a calming element to simply being in their presence. Our heart rates slows and we become more still. Grooming them is a soothing and relaxing activity. Leading and interacting with them, both on the ground and when mounted, offers opportunities to practice self-soothing/calming skills and help build self-confidence that may be diminished by constant ‘worry’.

Nevada Equine Assisted Therapy works with children as young as 4, teens, adults and seniors. Our sessions are one-on-one, you, the horse you choose to work with and a staff member there to help you on your journey to a happier healthier life. We work on your goals and take things at whatever pace works for you.

If you or someone you know is struggling with anxiety, we are here to help. Call or email and we will schedule a visit. You can come out, tour the ranch, meet our incredible horses, share more about what you are dealing with and learn more about how we may be able to help. Today is a good day to reach out and take the first step to letting go of the things that hold you back.

 

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New Study Highlights Why Good Interventions Are So Important

It is not hard to understand that kids and teens dealing with social, emotional, behavioral and mental health challenges are more likely to engage in unhealthy behaviors if they are not guided in a better direction. They will look for their own solutions and these solutions are often not only unhealthy, but can be dangerous as well. These kiddos are often ostracized, if not bullied, by more mainstream peers who do not understand why they act the way they do and who tend to avoid kids that become the focus of the teachers attention. They end up ‘friends’ with the fringe, those kids who are always pushing the limits and tend to end up in trouble.  This puts them in the position of being exposed to more undesirable and dangerous behaviors, impacting them for a lifetime.

This article in News Medical Life Sciences looks at a new study published online in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry that looks at the higher prevalence of regular marijuana and cigarette use into adulthood.  Of special interest is the finding that there is “… a crucial need for routine clinical practice to include early screening and interventions to prevent early substance use, including cigarette smoking, among children with ADHD.”

We are here to help! Equine Assisted Grown and Learning and PsychoSocial Rehabilitation, can be a very powerful part of a comprehensive treatment plan for those living with living with ADHD.

First we work on minimizing impulsive behaviors, which can worry horses. They are ‘prey animals’ and can become anxious when things move too fast or are unpredictable. We work on increasing focus and the ability to stay on task – both skills that are needed for grooming and for mounted work. We help build self-soothing/calming skills, such as deep breathing and visualization, so that clients are better able to manage times when they are feeling agitated/restless. Horses help build self-confidence and offer lots of opportunity to hone problem solving/decision making skills.

If you know someone struggling with ADHD, seek help. We are here and would be happy to schedule a visit for you to our ranch. W will show you around, introduce our incredible herd, learn more about what you are dealing with and share how we might be able to help. Call of email us today.

 

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

When ‘Worry’ is Something to Worry About

Come on! We all worry at times. Am I going to be late? Did I remember to lock the back door? Am I going to run out of gas? Are the kids ok? How did I do on the test? All of these can be valid and ‘normal’ concerns. However, there is a point when ‘worrying’ can become a mental health issue.

In this HealthEssentials article by Cleveland Clinic, Clinical psychologist Joseph Rock, PsyD, defines the difference between ‘worry’ and ‘anxiety,’ provides some information about a variety of ‘anxiety disorders’ and provides 5 signs that may indicate that it is time to seek help.

Work with horses can be a powerful and effective intervention for those dealing with anxiety disorders. Horses offer an opportunity to interact on a non-demanding, but connected level. There are no expectations and no judgements. There is no rush and no timeline for what you do. Clients practice being present and in the moment – no worrying about that past or what is to come – just right here, right now. They allow us build/rebuild confidence and self-esteem. They help us realize that, even when we think we can’t do something, we probably can. We are capable of so much more than we give ourselves credit for. Through work with horses we learn and practice self-soothing/calming skills such as deep breathing and visualizations. It is impressive when a client finally relaxes and then feels their horse give a great big sigh, indicating that they too are finally feeling more relaxed.

If the symptoms listed in the referenced article feel all to familiar, consider seeking help. We are here to be part of a comprehensive treatment program. We would be happy to schedule a visit for you. We will show you around the ranch, introduce our incredible herd, learn more about what you are dealing with and share how we may be able to help. Call or email us today.

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

Senior’s Program

The number of ‘elderly’ in our population is growing rapidly. With increasing health care technology, the average life expectancy has steadily climbed to nearly 79 years of age. This brings many important issues into play. How do we support this growing population of people, most of whom have retired and are living on a small, fixed income? The truth is that if this population is healthy, they are still capable of being an active part of our communities. However, it is all to easy for our seniors to feel lost and abandoned. They can be lonely and unmotivated to get up, get out and do things. This is not ideal for them or the rest of us of either!

This Daily Star article talks about depression in the elderly and what can be done to help them have a happier, healthier life. They recommend “Regular exercise, eating a balanced diet, interacting regularly with other people, developing hobbies and participating in activities that challenge your thinking are all helpful.” Hmmm, let’s see, working with horses provides regular exercise, interacting with others and participation in activities that challenge your thinking!

We are able to offer a program for seniors, which may include mounted work, but can accommodate even those no longer physically able to ride. Through work with miniature horses, our clients are able to enjoy the experience of grooming, which is not only soothing, but can be a great time of bonding between the client and the horse they are working with. The miniature horses we work with are trained to pull a ‘driving cart’. Senior’s who are not physically able to ride can learn how to harness (similar to ‘tacking up’ a full-size horse) a miniature horse and even if assistance is needed, can move into the small carts that are pulled by the miniatures. Our carts hold 2 people, so staff can drive while the senior learns the skills needed to take the reins. What an experience!

We are here to help our clients have richer, fuller, happier and healthier lives. We work with children as young as 4 years of age, teens, adults and yes, even seniors. If you know someone who is struggling, seek help. We would be happy to show you around the ranch, introduce our incredible herd, learn more about what you are dealing with and to share how we might be able to help. Call or email us to schedule a visit.

Posted in Anxiety Disorders, Depression, Grief, Mental Health, Seniors Program | Leave a comment

ADHD/ODD and Aggression

Parents and care-givers dread the phone call telling them that their child is in trouble at school again. Parent-Teacher conferences and IEP meetings can be disheartening at best when parents/care-givers hear about how their sweet, funny, smart child is aggressive and a problem in the classroom (they know what happens at home, but hoped that the school would deal with things better). Sadly, there really is a link between these mental health issues and aggressive behavior, but let’s talk about why!

U.S. NEWS and World Report, shares that Dr. L. Eugene Arnold, professor emeritus of psychiatry and behavioral health at the Nisonger Center at Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center has written a new book, , “A Family’s Guide to Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder.” In this book Dr. Arnold points out that “being thrown off and easily frustrated by the little things is common and has a lot to do with poor control over emotional regulation. For example, he says that a child lacking the ability to manage emotions may become irritated and instead of asking for help, may cry, whine or perhaps throw something to convey frustration”.  This is a really insightful article that points out that kid’s struggling with these issues are not willfully intent on hurting others, they simply lack the emotional regulation and impulse control they need to handle things better.

Let me be clear, this is an explanation, not an excuse! But the bottom line is that in order to change this behavior, we need to give these kids the tools/skills they need to better manage their emotions and to address their impulsive behaviors. That is where we come in! Work with horses can be a powerful intervention for those struggling with ADHD and ODD.

Our clients learn about horse and herd behavior. They learn that impulsive behavior can be scary for a horse. They are prey animals and are easily startled. Because our clients really do want to have a good relationship with their horse, they are willing to learn and practice the self-calming skills that allow them to become less impulsive. We also work on slowing down, completing one task before moving on to the next and being able to verbalize how we are feeling when things don’t go the way we thought they would. We work on problem solving. While leading your horse, “if they drag you into the weeds, what can you do to solve that problem?” We point out that in most cases, if the horse does not do what you are asking them to, it is because you have not communicated clearly “what is another way to let Mystic know what you want her to do?” With improved focus and less impulsivity, we usually also see improved self-confidence and a willingness to stop and consider the consequences of the choices made. Besides, work with horses is FUN!

If you know someone who is struggling please seek help. Work with horses can be a powerful addition to a comprehensive treatment plan. We would be happy to schedule a visit for you to the ranch. We will show you around, introduce our incredible horses, learn more about what you are dealing with and share how we may be able to help. Call or email us today.

 

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