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The Parent Perspective: Kelly Meehan, OD

The Parent Perspective: Kelly Meehan, OD

One of my favorite segments of the My Child Will Thrive Podcast are the interviews I do with all parents and caregivers. While our episodes with experts are packed with invaluable information, the parent interviews on The Parent Perspective are so insightful, relatable and sometimes it’s just helpful to hear from other parents who went through similar situations with their children.

Today’s episode of The Parent Perspective is with Kelly Meehan, a parent of three and new integrative health practitioner. Kelly shared with us her story of struggling to find answers with her daughter’s physical and mental health symptoms until she was finally able to get answers (and a diagnosis) of celiac disease. Since then, going gluten free and optimising her children’s gut health has completely changed the way her children are able to show up in the world. We dive into a lot of symptoms that you might not know are associated with a gluten allergy or sensitivity and so much more.

Things You Will Learn
  • Searching to find answers and finally finding them with a celiac diagnosis
  • The brain and behavioural symptoms that can show up when children have gluten sensitivities
  • How Kelly transitioned her whole family to a gluten-free lifestyle
  • The hidden places that gluten is hiding that you may not know about
  • What to do if your celiac or gluten sensitive child gets “glutened” 
  • What Kelly would’ve done differently at the beginning of her journey with her child
  • And much more…

Show Notes for this Podcast 

  • Kelly’s story with her daughter’s symptoms and eventual diagnosis of celiac. (3:33)
  • The changes Kelly saw in her daughter’s behaviour and mental health with getting off gluten and healing her gut. (8:26)
  • Brain and behavioural symptoms that show up with celiac and gluten sensitivity that people aren’t always aware of. (11:15)
  • What Kelly needed to do to optimise her children’s health after coming off of gluten. (15:05)
  • Steps to make the transition to a gluten-free lifestyle. (19:14)
  • One of the most surprising places Kelly found gluten hiding. (21:06)
  • Why Kelly’s whole household went gluten free and what getting “glutened” means. (25:05)
  • Supplements that help Kelly’s family when they’ve been glutened. (29:09)
  • More about Kelly’s career as a paediatric optometrist and vision therapy.(31:42)
  • The things Kelly might’ve done differently if she were back at the beginning of her journey. (34:48)
  • How to connect with Kelly. (37:02)

Resources and Links

Kelly’s Website, Designed Family Wellness

Kelly’s Instagram


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More about Kelly Meehan

Kelly is a wife and busy mom of 3. She has a bachelors in Human Nutrition from Arizona State University, and a doctorate in optometry from the Illinois College of Optometry. She completed a residency in primary care with emphasis in Pediatrics at Nova Southeastern University. She most recently became an Integrative Health Practitioner in 2021 and is looking forward to helping transform your trajectory towards your best health.

0:00 Tara Hunkin:
This is My Child Will Thrive and I'm your host, Tara Hunkin, nutritional therapy practitioner, certified gaps practitioner, restorative wellness practitioner. And mother. I'm thrilled to share with you the latest information, tips, resources, and tools to help you on the path to recovery for your child with ADHD, autism, sensory processing disorder, or learning disabilities. My own experiences with my daughter combined with as much training as I can get my hands on,

research I can dig into and conferences I can attend have helped me to develop systems and tools for parents like you who feel overwhelmed trying to help their children. So sit back as I share another great topic to help you on your journey. A quick disclaimer before we get started, My Child Will Thrive is not a substitute for working with a qualified healthcare practitioner.

The information provided on this podcast is not intended to diagnose or treat your child. Please consult your healthcare practitioner before implementing any information or treatments that you have learned about on this podcast. There are many gifted, passionate, and knowledgeable practitioners with hundreds if not thousands of hours of study and clinical experience available to help guide you. Part of our goal is to give you the knowledge and tools you need to effectively advocate for your child so that you don't blindly implement each new treatment that comes along. No one knows your child better than you.

No one knows your child's history like you do or can better judge what is normal or abnormal for your child. The greatest success in recovery comes from the parent being informed and asking the right questions in making the best decisions for their child in coordination with a team of qualified practitioners in different areas of specialty.

Today's podcast is sponsored by the Autism, ADHD, and Sensory Processing Disorder Summit. In order to learn more about the summit and to sign up for free, please go to mychildwillthrive.com/summit.

2:05 Tara Hunkin: Hi everyone, I wanna welcome you back to the My Child Will Thrive podcast. I'm Tara Hunkin and I am excited to have with me today Kelly Meehan for another episode of The Parent Perspective.

This is the time that we talk to other parents that have gone through challenges with their children so we can learn from each other's stories and also see where there might be opportunities for us to learn from what other people have been through. We like to talk to a lot of experts on the podcast, often parents that have gone through this with their children become experts in their own right, both from just learning on the go and then some even formalize their education and move on to become practitioners as well.

Kelly, who is here with me today, is a wife and a busy mom of three. She has a bachelor's in human nutrition from Arizona State University and a doctorate in optometry from the Illinois College of Optometry. She completed a residency in primary care with the emphasis in pediatrics at Nova's Southeastern University and she most recently became an integrative health practitioner in 2021 and is looking forward to helping transform other people's lives with her work.

So Kelly, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us today about your journey, how you got to where you are today. Why don't we just start right there. What was life like for you and your, while you've, you just as you just mentioned to me two daughters that you've had affected by changes in their diets, but let's just talk from the very beginning. What were you noticing early on with your child?

3:46 Kelly Meehan:
Yeah, well first of all, thanks for having me here. I'm just very passionate about sharing this story. My daughter was born in a very normal situation, C-section. We didn't really notice anything out of the norm until when she was about two and a half. It was almost like a switch flipped is the only way that I can explain it.

And very emotional dysregulation, lots of sensory stuff. From the outside everything looked pretty normal, but I just as a mom could tell things, just something just seemed a little bit off and she would complain that her legs hurt all the time, so riding like a bike, even just very short periods of time, she would let my legs hurt, my legs are so sore. Sleep started to become disrupted, which had been very normal before, but it was nothing huge, nothing that was like red flags going off and people would just say like, oh, she's just two and a half, she's a toddler, she's three years old hitting that stage. Emotions are big. I would mention it to the pediatrician and they'd say kids get growing pains.

The story just kind of went back and forth and this really went on for a year and a half. Symptoms did seem to get bigger and bigger, but again, it was nothing that was life altering. Anyone was okay, we needed to test and figure that out. It was just, she's a toddler , with big emotions. And at about four years old I had my son. So I had my third child and the teachers were starting to tell me like, she's just a little bit more clingy.

Well of course everyone associated that with me just having a new baby. And so that would be like a typical scenario. But the headaches started to increase and the teachers would say things like, she needs to go to the bathroom, but she doesn't seem sick, but they'd have to walk her back and forth. And that was kind of the beginning of like, okay, something maybe more is going on here. And then that summer was, she basically stopped eating, began losing a ton of weight, was getting, now I know what migraines were. So she was trying to explain to me headaches, stomach aches and the joint pain had become just more than it should.

And so I went to the pediatrician and I just was like flat out, something is wrong with my child. And again, I got the, well kids have stomach aches and and growing pains. Her blood work looks normal. If it's still going on in three to six months to come back. And I had had it, my mom got intuition, and knew something was wrong. So I went to our naturopath again, something is wrong with my child and within 48 hours she came back and said, your daughter is celiac and she needs to be off gluten immediately.

And at the time I was like, okay, I knew enough to know like celiac was gluten-free and that was kind of the end of it, like go gluten-free. I went back to the pediatrician, told them, and of course she said to me, I'll never forget, bringing me notes from your naturopath is like bringing me notes from your spiritual healer.

And it was blood work that I was bringing. And so of course my at that moment is when I realized this doctor doesn't care about my child at all and cares more about if she ran the appropriate test or not. So of course she reran testing knowing what the blood work that I had and of course the celiac was confirmed, sent onto the GI who said her numbers were so high. For celiac typically you have to have a scope to to confirm diagnosis,

but her numbers were so off the charts that he was like, this isn't even, it's not necessary. So of course, he says, go gluten free and hands me a packet of information. And I said, okay, I know enough. I've been in this world a little bit, I can do this. Well if anyone who has a celiac child knows that going gluten free is just the tip of the iceberg.

What they don't tell you is that gluten is in spices and ice cream and drinks and things that you would never dream of and there's just not a lot of education that goes on in there. I do think other people have heard of better experiences with dieticians and things. We did not have that experience. So there's a very steep learning curve in that both emotionally and physically.

What I also wasn't told was the effect that gluten has on the brain and that for some kids who have that response, taking gluten out of their diet actually causes a huge withdrawal response. What I wasn't expecting is I was like, okay, we're gonna get off gluten and things are gonna be a hundred percent better. That two to three weeks that we went off gluten was probably the hardest three weeks of our entire journey.

She was completely constipated like as in go to the hospital, completely compacted in full. The anxiety and depression. I would never think you two even explain how to identify that and a four and a half year old but immediate depression and it just was this huge decline. And so I did more and more research and started to talk to other people to realize, oh this is an actual thing.

So then it got me thinking, so the ADHD, we've experiencing the lack of focus, the brain fog, her teacher's telling me maybe there's some visual processing issues in the end all ended up being linked to gluten. And to this day, we're four and a half years out now, almost five years. And all the things that I was told she struggled with early on, like she has trouble taking things in sequence, instructions in sequence that were just, some people would just kind of might throw off but we're a big deal and difficult for her to progress in school. She was definitely having trouble in those areas specifically with reading and math and the instructions and sequence and just getting gluten out of her diet.

We have done a lot of healing since then. Now she's almost a black belt and TaeKwonDo and does forms that are 30, a 30 length sequence of these forms. So just an example and I just have such a passion for letting parents know in that same scenario the effect that gluten has. We always think of stomach and digestive issues but the effect that it has on the brain is massive. And just research that I was just actually reading about a few months ago, that we now know that it's actually affecting, we have research to show that it's affecting the white matter within the brain and what they don't know is if once you get off a gluten-free diet, if it stabilizes or actually is able to reverse. So the importance of identifying these kids early and getting them on a gluten-free diet immediately is imperative.

Any child with an ADHD diagnosis, learning disabilities like it should be tested for and if nothing else, a gluten-free diet tried before medication is started. That's really where my heart is and all of this is just sharing that because with that child and another child who I experienced extreme anxiety all the way through and then realizing later once we got out of her diet, what a completely different child is. So just taking gluten out of the diet, I always say, was a blessing in disguise for both of my children because it, our whole family, gave me back my child and they were completely different children emotionally than I thought. Really a blessing and just kind of to end that story.

Actually, I found out a year and a half after my daughter was diagnosed with celiac that I was actually celiac and although I'd been in and out of the endocrinologist for thyroid issues and graves, no one had tested me for it. It began my own healing journey. Since then, we're just on this path taking gluten out of the diet and then the process of gut healing, which is really a lack of education there as well. Where do you go? That's only the tip of the iceberg and the beginning. And so I ended up switching careers actually to now be a part of that.

11:08 Tara Hunkin:
Yeah, so let's talk about all those things in terms of the story is something that I have heard before in terms of all the unusual symptoms.

There are, as you said, lots of digestive symptoms that people usually talk about with respect to celiac, but the ones that are less talked about are those brain ones. And I have, I know of people that have talked about just extreme behavioral challenges with their children going away with just the removal of gluten because they were celiac or severely sensitive.

And I think that's one of the biggest challenges these days is that unless there's that diagnosis of celiac, gluten sensitivity itself is not taken as seriously even though people are at least aware of it, but it's not taken as seriously. And the reality is for those people that are sensitive, it is just as important to a hundred percent eradicate gluten from their diet as it is for a celiac to.

It may not be in an autoimmune condition at that point in time, but they're, they're seeing the same things. Is that what you've noticed as well with your two children?

12:12 Kelly Meehan:
Yes, absolutely. So although we know with celiac it's actually damaging the small intestine but someone with you know, severe non celiac gluten sensitivity actually experiences the same symptoms, just not the damage that's happening in the small intestine.

So the anxiety, the brain fog, the learning difficulties, the headaches, all of it still come with just a gluten sensitivity. And you're right, there's just, there's really a lack of education. It's a difficult diagnosis as it's a diagnosis of exclusion and so it's just, it's work and progress to figure it out on the physician side as well as on the patient side.

And I think because of that there's just a lack of honestly people wanting to walk that path and to hand out a medication or to take a medication is a lot easier and faster, especially as parents when we have children that are really dysregulated that can be, it's a hard path to walk and it takes time and I think it's one of the reasons.

13:06 Tara Hunkin:
Yeah, and I think the reason for these conversations is because this is very important to think about. I mean kids with neurodevelopmental challenges, it can happen straight from birth or can happen in early stages and it continues on that trajectory unless there's intervention. In your case from what you are saying it's almost as if when the autoimmune event or the celiac got to a heightened state, her symptoms kept on increasing and were presenting like a neurodevelopmental challenge.

But once the gluten was removed, those symptoms of what would've been labeled ADHD or sensory processing or the sequencing is often something that dyslexia, dyspraxia, that sequencing in executive functioning are all symptoms of neurodevelopmental challenges. But what's so fascinating about what you're talking about is that that removal actually took away the symptoms fairly quickly.

14:02 Kelly Meehan:
Yes, within months, once we got past that hurdle of the withdrawal and the anxiety for my one daughter was gone almost instantly. And to this day, if she gets a little bit of gluten on accident or cross contact, we know immediately by the emotion, by the responses from both of them in different ways actually. And that's kind of the tricky thing about gluten sensitivity is the, I can't remember the number but I think it's up to like over a hundred different symptoms and it's different, so bio-individual. So it's very difficult to say, it's just digestive or anxiety specifically because it is so different, which makes it even more difficult.

14:41 Tara Hunkin:
Yeah, I think that's, I mean this is why it is so challenging for parents to get the supports they need, the attention they need because it is so individual and I think that's why these conversations are so important because what may look like one thing can be something completely different in terms of what the root cause is of it and if we all do the same thing it's not gonna get us the same result. You talk about the healing journey, so removing gluten obviously being essential in a child that has celiac or a gluten sensitivity, what other healing and what other things did you need to do to optimize their health and in turn their brain health?

15:22 Kelly Meehan:
Well first of all, just opening up the drainage pathways because with a child that has that level of inflammation, specifically in our case, yes gluten was a huge part of it, but when you have that much inflammation going on, you're bringing in inflammation from all kinds of other areas as well. And just the extreme constipation that we were experiencing. So just getting the bowels moving, working a ton on drainage, a lot on the liver, just getting those optimized so that the body was just free flowing, able to get those toxins out and then moving into parasites from there we're a big part of that healing process for us.

Figuring out other food sensitivities at that point, working through those and really just decreasing the inflammation as much as possible. Keeping the drainage flowing I'd say was at least a year or longer of just working on really those foundations and then stepping into some of the other things like parasites and heavy metals and the whole roadmap that goes along with that. But really just focusing on the foundations and with that is when we saw a huge change in what was going on within the brain as well because we were of course getting those toxins out and the body was actually able to restore and repair, then I was able to see the brain start healing as well. And a lot of the executive functioning that was a problem before, definitely took a turn there. We were able to see a positive impact from that.

16:43 Tara Hunkin:
Yeah. So when you were doing all those things at that time, had you done the training that you were doing or were you working with other practitioners?

16:52 Kelly Meehan:
No I wasn't. And to be honest, a lot of it was just my own personal research at that point. I am an optometrist by training and I was still working as an optometrist. I worked in the vision therapy world so the executive functioning was a lot part of what I did.

So I had a lot of knowledge there. And then I guess my background was also in nutrition, I grew up in a very nutrition based household. So I really was just working through, the naturopath did help navigate me on diet and a little bit more of the intricacies of celiac and the cross contact and how to to feed her appropriately.

But as far as the parasites and all that, I then began working with another integrative health practitioner and that's what really opened my eyes to what that world was and what that looked like. So much so that I just couldn't help but think about all the kids that I saw as an optometrist who were coming to me because they were struggling in school and of course the first thing you do is go get an eye exam and their eyes would be fine, their eye eye exam would check out. And then knowing what I now knew about my children and their diet, I couldn't help but think, but there's this piece here and I'm not allowed within my scope to walk that path with them.

But I would start sharing that information with parents and it turns out they're actually two or three celiacs that ended up being diagnosed just from our conversations back and forth. But just knowing this piece of the puzzle that probably, I mean to be honest, probably 70 to 80{4537a52abafa24f75931b694e3f6d1d9b0beb5896e18e49b3141987b78b41d96} of those kids that were flowing through my office probably fell into that category and just knowing that, needed that information and needed someone to know and share and sorry, I think I sidetracked this conversation but that's what kind of got me to the integrative health.

So it wasn't until 2021 that I actually went through the training myself and then started doing that. And I still have my foot in the optometry world as well because I do, I love it. I'm passionate, I'm passionate about kids and their learning and and their healing and I'm hoping someday that the two paths will actually connect in some way and I'm still trying to figure out what exactly that looks like. Yeah, so I actually didn't do my training until later and it was just a lot of personal research for a few years there.

19:01 Tara Hunkin:
If you were to advise parents now when or if they are diagnosed celiac or they realize their child may have a gluten sensitivity, what are the steps that you recommend to people to take in order to make that transition? Because like you said, it was a very difficult transition, it can be difficult for many different reasons. What's the advice you give if you were, you had someone in this circumstance that you were advising

19:25 Kelly Meehan:
It can be really overwhelming, but I always tell my parents to talk to them like give yourself grace, it's okay. With celiac of course you've gotta get gluten out right away. When you're dealing with gluten sensitivity, just start the change over. It's gonna be more, it is more easy for you, more easy for your child to not 100{4537a52abafa24f75931b694e3f6d1d9b0beb5896e18e49b3141987b78b41d96} wake up and completely change their diet. Especially if you've got kids with sensory difficulties and are picky eaters anyways so just all of a sudden say you're not eating anything you used to eat and now we're starting new is actually gonna be a way more difficult path.

So I always say, start with their favorites. If they're eating pancakes in the morning, keep pancakes, try to switch 'em to gluten free. Take those small steps to just make it very practical and doable for mom and the child or whoever the caretaker is. It's too much otherwise. So just take bite size pieces and start switching things slowly and if you need help from a, there's lots of actual celiac health coaches who will actually help walk you through from that perspective, meaning like what pots, what things in my kitchen do I need to change over? What pots and pans? Do I actually need a new toaster? What spices are gluten-free? The intricate details of that will come and it is a learning process.

So I'm five years in and there's, I always joke that I have a master's degree in gluten detection or or finding it. I'm still learning what different names of words for things and where it can be hiding and natural flavors and seasoning and so it's a process. Give grace. You do what you can, you always do more when you know more and it will come.

21:02 Tara Hunkin:
Yeah. So where would you say is the one of the most surprising places you've found gluten that you didn't expect it that parents might overlook? Either in food or is it in personal care products or is it in medications that sometimes we give our children?

21:21 Kelly Meehan:
ll of the above. I've mentioned seasonings a few times and that's because even though we were completely gluten free and my daughter kept getting sick and it was in lemon pepper. It was in the lemon pepper that I was sprinkling on her broccoli and the specific brand that I had, and it's not that it's actually in the spice, it's what they add to make it so that it doesn't cake together. The gluten was in there. So that one was probably the most surprising to me.

Lemonade, there were certain brands of lemonade that had it in there. Ice cream, most ice creams actually have it. Popsicles, I'm saying all the unhealthy things but I think those were I never expected in a popsicle and neither does anyone else.

And that's the tricky thing about even friends and family and teachers who are so sweet and caring and buy something that's gluten free. That's actually probably the most, a really hard part of the social aspect of the journey is saying thank you so much for thinking about them. They actually can't have that. Even though it says gluten-free huge and labeled across the box.

Honey Nut Cheerios is a great example. It says, I think it actually says like has a celiac certification or gluten-free and those are not safe due cross contact for most people that with an extreme sensitivity. So that's difficult. It hides in everything. The bath products as well that you mentioned, lip gloss, lipstick, chapstick, all of the above have been difficult especially at birthday parties where there's like lip smackers in particular I think of those are not safe. So that can be surprising and I think I was surprised at first that they could really affect my child.

And this is a little bit of a debate to be honest, within the gluten world. Do topical products, there's many who will say it's not an issue even if you are celiac or have a strong sensitivity. But with children you have to remember when you're using shampoo or body wash, it's running over their face so the the possibility of that getting on their lips or ingested is actually pretty high. And so we had issues with that with the shampoo that I didn't realize even early on or my daughter even getting a rash from a body wash that I didn't realize. So that is very bio-individual, not everybody has that strong of a reaction to be clear, but it is definitely something to think about. In the times that we have needed medication, it's been an issue and actually for a particular parasite we needed something that actually is available over the counter but that had gluten in it.

And then when I went to the pharmacist getting clarification actually from the pharmacist was extremely difficult because flavorings come from overseas or they're compounded in places. They're not a hundred percent sure if the facility is safe.

When we have made it, we've had to get it specially compounded or I just find an alternative option because it's just, it's not worth the risk. And getting clarification in that world is extremely difficult and extremely frustrating cuz you're going to the people who are supposed to have all of the answers there. It's not necessarily their fault but it's because we get all these products from different places and then put them together here in the US we don't always know what the facilities are like.

24:17 Tara Hunkin:
Yeah it really is amazing all the little nuances. I think the ones that surprised me the most were things like, so a lot of people in this world don't love to give their kids medications but there are times when they're relying on things like Advil and the dyes. If their child has sensory issues and it can only chew instead of swallow a pill or needs to take the liquid and it's in all those colors and flavorings like it's just amazing how many places it's found and how challenging this is and that's why so many people are so resistant to even try to do that because it is such a difficult thing to do. I mean it's great that there's a lot more resources out there now to go gluten free but it's still a big step for pretty much everybody. Did you in your household choose to go gluten-free the entire household or have you just done it with the kids that are impacted?

25:13 Kelly Meehan:
That's a great question. We did mostly because I was struggling with gluten myself and I was the one preparing the food so I didn't wanna touch it myself in preparing and knowing that the health benefits that come from it anyways for most people. So it was easier for me and more doable to just transform my whole house. From my perspective to have a set of pans I used for gluten and a set of pans that I didn't, the possibility of myself even as busy mom of three young kids messing that up using the wrong pan, grabbing the wrong spoon was way too high and we had just been through so much and she was so ill that I'll be honest, the guilt of me glutening her myself, which will absolutely will happen I will say as a mom and that's why I say give yourself grace it's gonna happen more than once a few times a year even potentially you just give yourself grace.

But yes, it was much easier for us to go and I usually recommend to my clients even if that is a possibility for you or you think that the majority of your household will benefit, it's less work, less work for mom from my standpoint.

26:18 Tara Hunkin:
Yeah, No I agree. And it's also with young kids especially, it's hard enough for them to go to other places and have to not participate in the things that are around them and having to send their own things and do all that. That's all difficult and you can navigate it but it's difficult.

It's twice as hard if it's in the house. So just even if you weren't worried about the cross contamination, it's just other people eating different things that one child may have wanted if they could have it. So yeah, I mean I couldn't agree with you more in terms of that. You mentioned getting glutened,

which is a term I'm quite familiar with. So, first of all, let's just explain to those that may not know what that term or sort of references and then what steps you take when that actually happens to mitigate the impact of getting exposure to gluten.

27:09 Kelly Meehan:
So getting glutened basically just means we have come into contact with gluten on some level. So sometimes it could just be from cross contact so we potentially ate something that was produced in a facility with us or on the same production lines I should say. So that will have one type of effect. And then of course ingesting gluten eating something that unknowingly had gluten will usually give a more severe effect.

So what that looks like again is different for each person, especially different for each person in my household even. But for my one daughter, what I'll notice is immediate brain fog and when I say brain fog I mean severe what I can't think through, cannot process like a math problem, very difficult to put the pieces of that together and very pale skin for her. So I'll see kind of like the color drain and that's usually my tip off the color drain, the dark circles under the eyes. And what's interesting is that it's not always immediate so it's not like she, if we get cross contact within two or three hours, it's actually honestly not sometimes until 24 hours until the next day. Which can make it a little bit difficult from an investigative process of figuring out what it was. What was the thing that tipped it over the edge?

What I think is some of the most maddening part as a mom because you wanna be sure not to repeat that and so we kind of backtrack the day. But the brain fog and the inability just to think through usually a migraine or a headache might show up and usually the digestive process. So the digestive issues are actually the thing that comes last.

So it's not actually the first thing to show up, at least for us that rings pretty true. And then usually a level of anxiety and just kind of low mood I would say, just a very blah and an inability to be very touchy, fly off the handle, those little tantrums that you see kind of as a toddler send your child over the edge, the things that really shouldn't.

I notice that right away. And so I have to think to myself, we got gluten somehow and you work through it. So for us we have a few supplements that we use, is it okay for me to say specific supplements? So the testament by brainchild nutrition is amazing, I will try to do that. We actually use that pretty routinely but we use it when we are glutened specifically and it seems to have a pretty quick effect in just taking care of it.

29:28 Tara Hunkin:
And can you just explain to people what's in that? So why that might work, what the mechanism is that helps?

29:34 Kelly Meehan:
Yeah, be honest. The exact mechanism, I'm not sure, it does have folic and humic acid in it and it's basically just a gut, for a broad term like a gut healer and just takes care of some of the inflammation that has has occurred and to kind of heal up those junctions within the gut.

And so because we've introduced a large level of inflammation in that case it's gonna help to reduce that pretty significantly. And it's the thing that I've found that works the quickest for us. Tons of water, lots of rest. So if we have specific sports on the agenda that day, those are usually gone. But in balance of that I actually see that exercise is extremely helpful in kind of working it out.

And I don't know if that's an emotional mind connection or the actual physicality of a working body being moving and working some of those toxins out is probably twofold. But I definitely get us up walking even though all you want to do is lay in bed. Usually when that happens due to the level of fatigue. But honestly a lot of the foundations back to the foundations.

Getting out in sunlight, tons and tons of water, lots of rest, basic movement, all the things we really should be doing every day. But those I've just found to be super important. And then there's a few supplements on hands that we keep as well.

30:48 Tara Hunkin:
Yeah, I know a lot of people keep things to mop up the toxins as well, like charcoal, activated charcoal and things like that and also enzymes, like if you know that you've ingested right away gluten, there are some PB four enzymes that you can take that will actually help break down the gluten. Are those things that you typically utilize?

31:07 Kelly Meehan:I do as an adult, I'll be honest, I haven't used them as much with my children and mostly because I don't know right away for them when they've ingested it or when it's happened.

Like I said, it creeps up later. For myself, if I go out to eat and I know I can tell within an hour or two absolutely I will go straight to the enzymes. Charcoal as well. We do have that. I actually haven't used it as much from a gluten standpoint as food poisoning or maybe other situations that I have, but we do have it in the cabinet and I would say some of those I utilize more for myself as an adult than I have for my children.

31:42 Tara Hunkin:
So before we wrap up, actually I do wanna just chat with you a little bit about what you do as a pediatric optometrist and vision therapy because you have mentioned that a couple times and I just, I should have asked the time, you mentioned it the first time, but just explain to people what that is and what that does for the children that need some vision therapy.

32:08 Kelly Meehan:
Yeah, absolutely. So, pediatric optometry is not a specialty within itself. I always just like to be clear about that. But there are just like any profession, you kind of niche into certain areas. So there are docs that kind of dedicate to pediatrics and that eye exam just looks a little bit different in the amount of tests that are run because you're really looking at, aside from can someone read the 2020 line, we wanna know how are the eyes working together, how are they moving, what do the movements look like when they're reading? There's a whole host of things that can be off there and it's not always necessarily an issue with the muscles in the eyes, although it can be. A lot of times it's the connection between the eyes and the brain.

They're actually helping those eyes work together and those can be worked on if necessary through vision therapy. So a lot of times people will explain it like physical therapy for the eyes, except we're not actually working on the strength of the muscle, but that connection between the eyes and the brain to make those movements that maybe aren't automatic to become automatic so that their reading can improve.

Sometimes people use it for sports performance even outside of just for learning difficulties or learning disabilities or anything like that. It's actually to have better eye hand coordination and so it's used pretty commonly. So yeah, it's a very, it's much more extensive exam. Usually takes closer to an hour with those results. Sometimes we have to break it up into repeated exams and then if therapy is needed,

a whole host of things can be worked on from eye movements all the way through visual processing. That pathway again, looks different for every child that walks in the doors. It's usually not the same therapy techniques that are used based on what's going on, which is really an awesome thing about vision therapy because it's really individualized for each child.

33:52 Tara Hunkin:
Yeah, I think that's probably a conversation we can have entirely at another time too. I would love to have you back to talk more about that because I always loved talking about different therapies that employ positive neuroplastic change for the kids and obviously that is what you're doing there, but like I said, I was remiss to not actually get you to explain that right when you mentioned it earlier, because it is such an important piece for so many people that are here with us today as well.

What would you say then, I mean I think you've hit on a lot of points that we hear a lot from parents, but what would you say to parents that are experiencing some of the things that you experienced right from the beginning where you felt like there was something going on, you weren't being listened to, and how you got to the end result of where you were? Is there something you would've done differently or is there something that you would recommend to parents that are just in that early phase of trying to figure it all out?

34:56 Kelly Meehan:
Yeah, I would say you are your best advocate and I would say it over and over again. And if you feel like you're getting answers that everything is fine.

Blood work is fine, but your intuition and your gut know something is off, keep searching for answers. Whether it means visiting different practitioners, different therapists, like until you find the answer. To try the holistic, and most of your listeners I know are pretty holistic and are working towards alternative therapies, but the people that happen to be listening that just, well my doctor said so, doctors are great people. I was one myself, but we don't know everything.

No doctor knows everything. And so it's okay to keep searching and keep on that journey and to be persistent until you found it. And then once you found it, it's okay to be persistent in finding the best therapy for your child because again, like you said, it's gonna be different for everyone. And even what eating gluten free looks like for my family. We're very detailed and specific because we have to be, but that may not be for the families whose child is just struggling with ADHD and needs to go on a gluten-free diet.

That's gonna be honestly more doable and more attainable for them. So don't just listen to someone's story and think, don't listen to this and think, wow, that sounds really complicated. I don't think I could do that. I'm here to tell you that it is doable and can be very simple steps. It doesn't need to be a complete overhaul and just take bite size pieces off at a time.

36:22 Tara Hunkin:
Yeah, that's super helpful advice. I really appreciate it. I appreciate you taking the time outta your day to share your story and your journey with your kids because listening to other people's stories I think is so important. One, so we don't feel so alone as we're going through this, but two, to find the hope in every everybody's circumstance and to understand that there are many reasons why our children may be struggling in different ways, but there's lots of opportunity there for improvement once you find that right root cause or multiple root causes and the right treatments and therapies for your child.

Thank you again, Kelly. Where can people find you? You are working as an integrative practitioner now as well. I would love for you to share where people could find you if they want to reach out to you and find out more about what you do.

37:15 Kelly Meehan:
Yeah, the best place is really through my website, designedfamilywellness.com. I am on Instagram, although I'll be honest, you'll see lots of pictures of my kids on there.

I would love to be more active there, but at this stage of life I just haven't been able to, so you can reach me through there. You're not gonna see a lot of health stuff on there at this point through my business, although I'm hoping to get there, but really through my website. But you can reach me through Instagram or even my email. I'm [email protected].

37:43 Tara Hunkin:
Wonderful. Well we'll make sure that links to all that are in the show notes so that people can easily get out to reach you and get some more great advice. Thank you again for taking the time to share your story with us today. I'm Tara Hunkin and if you too are a parent that would like to share your story on the podcast, please reach out to us at [email protected]. We would love to talk to you and get you on the podcast as well so that more parents can hear of different journeys, different experiences, different results, so they can get inspiration for their child too. Thanks again.

So that's a wrap. Thanks for joining me this week on My Child Will Thrive. I'm so passionate about giving you the tools and information you need to help your child recover and as they say, it takes a village. So join us in the My My Child Will Thrive Village Facebook group where you can meet like-minded parents. And stay up to date on everything we have going on at My Child Will Thrive. This is Tara Hunkin and I'll catch you on the next podcast or over at mychildwillthrive.com.


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