It’s early morning – the sun isn’t up yet. All this greening & growing has pulled me from bed & outside again. It’s glorious here in the Hudson Valley, with more emerging every day.
Spring is a great revelation that is impossible to fully capture in memory and certainly never gets old.
Last year at about this time I replanted my flower garden with new bushes, plants and bulbs and reworked the soil with nutrients & beneficial bugs. The plants that stayed got lots of tending & precise pruning.
All the efforts of that planning, planting & fertilizing are now poking their lovely heads through the rich earth, reaching for the sun and warmth and rain. Daffodils, allium, poppies, foxglove, wild ginger. It took some work to create the right conditions, and then a fall & winter of waiting. Now I get to behold.
In the midst of this movement, I observe what nature needs for healthy growth.
Nutrient rich soil for nourishment & stability. Roots, many of them, spreading downward & outward for strength, assimilation & communication. Just enough stimulation from wind, cold & rain to create resilience in the shoots and stems. Longer stretches of sunlight to feed & encourage upward expansion.
Care. Tending. Space.
I notice the same in my children. Last week my 6 year old rode a bicycle on her own. We haven’t practiced much, perhaps 5 times over the last two years. We never did training wheels. But somehow last week something clicked for her – a combination of balance, focus and the confidence to go for it. And it happened.
We humans are not so different from our plant relations.
Sometimes things just fall into place. We get something we just couldn’t perceive or see before. Often there is a tilling of the soil, some foundational groundwork and a creation of the right conditions before the miracle can occur.
Everything in its own time.
This is on my mind because I’ve seen 4 children under the age of 5 this past month who’ve been diagnosed with some kind of learning or behavioral disability. ADD, ADHD, emotional processing disorder. Trouble focusing. Difficulty with coordinated movement. One child was already showing signs of self abuse.
With each of these children I met parents who were deeply concerned, committed to doing everything possible – and quite overwhelmed.
This past week it was Frankie, a sweet 3 year old who couldn’t stand to have the door of my office closed. He ran around for the first 20 minutes of the consult I was having with his mom, drinking straight from the small water fountain, touching the delicate ceramic elephants on my desk or pulling his mama’s hair. He wanted nothing to do with me. Towards the end of our short visit, he collapsed exhausted on his mom’s lap.
Frankie had dark circles under his eyes, was pale, underweight and couldn’t stop moving. He looked limp, his little muscles were sort of floppily hanging off their bones. He also had some dry skin patches across his arms and cheeks, and tell-tale bumps on the back of his arms that showed he wasn’t absorbing fats well. He kept looking at his mom to make sure everything was ok.
He’d had colic as a baby, multiple rounds of antibiotics in his short life, and some suspected food sensitivities. In addition to his diagnosis of emotional processing disorder, his mom described him as frequently irritable, anxious & having difficulty connecting to other children.
Frankie’s story was much like the other kids I’ve been seeing.
Everyone should know that doctors in the US are now diagnosing 1 in 8 kids under the age of 8 with a behavioral disorder. This includes ADD, ADHD, sensory processing disorder, etc. (And to note the other side of the spectrum: 1 in 8 of our 65+ elders are being diagnosed with a neurodegenerative disorder; Alzheimers, dementia, Parkinsons, etc).
I hope you find this as alarming as I do. Both conventional & complementary medicine are failing to comprehensively address this. It’s why I spend so much time talking with friends, parents & the greater community about how to grow healthy brains & keep them healthy.
I’m all for testing if it seems indicated – what often happens though is that a diagnosis creates even more stress, an attachment to the sense that something is wrong that needs fixing & a projection of the future of this child’s life as one of disability. Usually by the time a family comes to see me - everyone's nervous system is shot.
Awareness is essential. Then enough acceptance of the present state or diagnosis to motivate PROPER ACTION.
Behavioral disorders in most children CAN BE reversed.
In my next post,
Laying the Foundation for Healthy Brains