Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Introducing Little Rock Chiropractor Dr. John Vincent

When Emma and Presley were little we began taking them to see Dr. John Vincent for cranial sacral therapy.  We continue to see him every 2-3 weeks.  He has done a incredible job keeping our kiddos immune system good and clean and has kept their entire bodies in line.  We believe that it one of the major parts to our puzzle for our girls continued success.

Chiropractor Dr. John Vincent

"At the age of 10, I was told by my pediatrician that I needed to see a chiropractor", says Dr. Vincent.

"At a school screening in the fourth grade, I was found to have scoliosis, an abnormal curvature of the spine. Upon finding this out, my Mom took me to my pediatrician, who, lucky for me, referred me to a chiropractor. I followed the care plan the chiropractor set up for me, and by the end of care, my spine had been returned to its normal position. This set the ground work for my later decision to become a chiropractor myself."

After finishing his undergraduate prerequisites in Arkansas, Dr. Vincent moved to Atlanta, Georgia where he attended Life University. During his four years at Life, courses included biochemistry, a major emphasis on anatomy and human physiology, X-ray, diagnosis, chiropractic adjusting techniques and patient care in the Life University Public Clinic. In 2004, Dr. Vincent graduated with his Doctorate in Chiropractic. He practiced in Atlanta for 3 years before returning to Arkansas.

Dr. Vincent holds a postgraduate certification as a Certified Chiropractic Extremity Practitioner (CCEP). This certification gives him a greater ability to aid people with their specific extremity misalignments. This has enabled him to work with many athletes including some members of the Atlanta Thrashers hockey team. Dr. Vincent has also completed all the seminar modules to become a Certified Chiropractic Wellness Practitioner (CCWP). This certification has allowed him to empower his patients, teaching that the body doesn’t make mistakes, and the only two ways to restore health are to add sufficiency and remove toxicity.

Dr. Vincent believes education is a major key to wellness. Helping patients understand and get a picture of what is going on with their bodies, so they are able to make positive health decisions.

"Thanks for visiting our site. I look forward to meeting you in person and learning how I can help you reach your optimal health potential. Give our office a call, or email me using the link below, and let’s arrange a time to explore your options."

Little Rock Chiropractor, Dr. John Vincent
Little Rock Chiropractor, Dr. John Vincent
Dr. John Vincent

Top Foods For Antioxidants

The Antioxidant Diet: Top Foods And Supplements


There are lots of discussions about antioxidants, but not a lot of clarity. We often hear that antioxidants are a key to good health. While this is true, it’s only part of the story. Not all antioxidants are created equal. However, by better understanding oxidation (the damaging force that antioxidants combat), we can make the best possible choices to limit oxidative harm.
Types Of Destruction
To oversimplify a bit, oxidation is a form of destruction. Rust is a type of oxidation. In some cases, destruction is a good thing. For example, some immune cells use oxidative destruction to kill dangerous pathogens.
However, the oxidation with which we’re concerned goes beyond normal limits. In the presence of illness, toxin overload, poor diet, too much or too little exercise, and other factors, the body accumulates too many free radicals, highly unstable atoms or molecules that are missing an electron.
The missing electron puts free radicals in an oxidized state. That’s why these caustic molecules try to steal electrons from other atoms, generating more free radicals and more oxidization in an ongoing chain reaction.
Inflammation And Havoc
On a cellular level, this can get us into trouble. What happens if the molecule being oxidized is crucial, say a piece of DNA or the fats that form cell membranes? As it progresses, free radical oxidation can generate inflammation and wreak havoc on cells, tissues and organs, accelerating the aging process.
But this is where powerful molecules called antioxidants come to the rescue. They intervene by scavenging and deactivating free radicals, preventing further damage from this chain reaction. They help control inflammation, since oxidation and inflammation are two aspects of the same situation.
Free radicals originate from a variety of sources including food, environmental toxins, UV sunlight and air pollution. The body has a number of powerful mechanisms to protect against them. The liver and other organs produce our own personal antioxidants. But sometimes the body just can’t keep up — that’s where we need to bolster the system.
Eat Your Antioxidants
Food can be a source of both free radicals and antioxidants, so it’s important to carefully choose what you eat. It’s no surprise that fried and processed foods generate the most free radicals. The freshness of foods and the way they’re prepared are as much a part of the story as your food choices. Heat, air and light exposure contribute to oxidation. Oils in particular are vulnerable to rancidity and damage.
Antioxidant Abundance
It’s easy to find an abundance of antioxidants in fruits and vegetables, particularly those that are deeply colored. Here are a few examples:
  • Carotenoids: Block free radicals and are abundant in carrots, sweet potatoes, kale and tomatoes. These compounds include substances like beta-carotene and lycopene that work to neutralize free radicals.
  • Flavonoids: Found in strawberries, blueberries, onions, cabbage and green tea.
  • Cruciferous vegetables: Includes broccoli, kale and cauliflower. Rich in isothiocyanates, antioxidants known to fight cancer.
  • Resveratrol: Found in red wine, grapes and blueberries. A powerful antioxidant touted for its anti-aging properties.
The Color Of Antioxidants
It’s worth noting that different antioxidants often concentrate in variously colored foods. This is important: Each variety has a unique way of protecting our bodies. That’s why preparing foods with varied colors is more than aesthetically pleasing: It is also good for health.
Here are some food prep tips to minimize oxidative damage:
  • Buy small quantities so stored perishables are always fresh.
  • Steam vegetables or lightly sauté using oils that can tolerate higher heat such as coconut, avocado or macadamia nut oils.
  • Cook your veggies in broth, coconut water or a combination of oil and liquid to keep the heat at a lower temperature.
  • Prepare raw foods just before serving rather than cutting and exposing them to the air.
Measuring Antioxidant Power: ORAC Scoring
One way of determining whether a food is rich in antioxidants is through its oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) score. This measures how powerfully that food neutralizes free radicals. Higher numbers are better. Here are a few examples:
  • Apple juice: 414
  • Unsweetened baking chocolate: 49,944
  • Blueberries: 9,621
  • Green tea: 1,253
  • Fresh tarragon: 15,542
Chocolate Wonder
Chocolate can be very high in antioxidants. Chocolate contains polyphenols, compounds beneficial for the brain. A recent study at Temple University found that polyphenols from unprocessed cocoa protects brain cells from neurodegeneration.
However, that doesn’t mean we should be eating chocolate nonstop. Instead, choose a variety of antioxidant rich foods for the best protection. Remember, antioxidants are an important aspect of good nutrition, but they’re not the only aspect. As a holistic practitioner, I strongly believe that antioxidants are just one component for a healthy lifestyle. Some nutritious foods may not have the highest ORAC scores, but they provide other important nutritional benefits. Be sure not to miss the big picture.
Antioxidant Supplements
Another way to bulk up on antioxidants is through supplements. There are a variety of vitamins, minerals and botanicals that increase antioxidant activity in the body and support health in other ways:
  • Vitamins A, C, E and D3
  • Selenium
  • Lipoic Acid
  • Beta glucans (found in mushrooms)
  • CoQ10
  • Curcumin
  • Green tea
  • Glutathione
  • Honokiol
Two of these supplements have received significant attention in the past few years. Glutathione is made by the body and is found in the liver, kidneys and lungs. Glutathione’s primary purpose is detoxification. (Those organs are most responsible for protecting us from toxins.) The compound also plays a role in regenerating vitamins A and C.
Honokiol is has remarkable protective power. A number of studies have confirmed that purified Honokiol is a 1,000 times more powerful than vitamin E in its ability to scavenge free radicals, supporting heart health, liver health and more. Additional studies show that Honokiol offers powerful support for brain health.
Like many nutrients and active compounds, certain combinations of antioxidants are greater than the sum of their parts. Using them together can boost their total effectiveness. For example, a study showed that a combination of herbs and green tea provides greater antioxidant activity than the individual herbs on their own. The study tested grape seed, pomegranate peel, cinnamon, Ginkgo biloba and amla. Researchers found that, combining these herbs increased their effectiveness at lower dosages.
Ultimately, variety is the key. Seek out a combination of antioxidant foods and supplements that fit your lifestyle. Fortunately, there are many options. And by carefully choosing a range of antioxidants, you can help your body win the ongoing battle with oxidation while enjoying colorfully delicious, healthfully prepared meals with family and friends.
For more health and wellness information, visit

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Video for New Parents and Medical Staff

When we were given Emma's diagnosis it was basically said in passing.  It was assumed that I already had a diagnosis.  I will say though that after the initial ripping off of the band aid the medical team was incredible.  They were kind and very positive.  My dear friend Robin was not so fortunate.  The first few weeks are so crucial.  Parents need to understand that Down syndrome is nothing short of GREAT in our world.

Great video for the medical community and new parents.  I can not wait to see what the next generations achieves.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Extra Chromosome, extra martial bliss? (article)

I thought this was a cute and well written article about the "Down Syndrome Advantage" when it comes to divorce rates and the special needs community.  Check out the article at:

Blessings, Robin

Maureen Wallace and family
Can a child's extra chromosome exponentially strengthen a marriage? Research points to a lower divorce rate compared with parents of children with other disabilities and even couples whose children have no special needs.

Extra chromosome, extra marital bliss?

Parents of a child with Down syndrome agree — something special exists in their marriage.

Our crazy, imperfect, awesome story

Four years ago, I didn’t know my husband existed. Today, we’ve been married more than three years and have two toddlers, a dog and two cats (despite the husband’s best efforts on the latter).
Ours is a fairy tale with a dash of unorthodox behavior by a good Catholic girl and an out-of-wedlock pregnancy I dread explaining to my daughter (hello, karma). Our story is pretty simple — boy emails girl, girl agrees to meet boy at Macaroni Grill on a Saturday afternoon, girl shops for new outfit for first “real” date.
As the camera cuts to our next pivotal scene — a mere two months later — boy is grinning wildly at girl’s positive pregnancy test and girl is certain she is experiencing hot flashes of menopause.
A quick jump to a month later, and boy proposes to girl in girl’s childhood bedroom. Add another month, and girl marries boy surrounded by loving family and as many bacon-wrapped hors d’oeuvres as girl’s father’s budget would allow (he’s very generous).
Maureen Wallace's wedding
Image credit:

What scene did I skip? The dinner we had together, three nights before we became husband and wife, when I shared that the genetic counselor had called to tell us our unborn son had Down syndrome.
If I’m filming an epic movie of our lives, I will zip past that, because it was but a blip. We went through so much together — from learning we were parents mere moments after exchanging the "L word" to learning our baby had a life-threatening condition called hydrops. Down syndrome was, at the time and in retrospect, the least of our worries.
We believe we are soul mates, and we have equally immeasurable love for our children (maybe not the cats, but that’s another article). But we also know studies show parents of children with special needs have a higher rate of divorce than parents of typically developing children.

Read more about divorce rates for parents of a child with autism >>

Does extra chromosome decrease divorce rate?

Here’s an extra dash of statistical positivity for our already committed married selves — we have a child with Down syndrome, and that fact might just change everything.
A study by the Vanderbilt University Kennedy Center looked at the rate of divorce in families of children with Down syndrome compared to families of children with other disabilities and families with no noted disabilities. Data came from the Tennessee Department of Health's birth, hospital discharge and divorce database records from 1990 to 2002.
Rates of divorce:
  • Down syndrome – 7.6 percent
  • No disability – 10.8 percent
  • Other disabilities – 11.2 percent
The results showed divorce rates among families of children with Down syndrome were lower than in the other two groups.
Study results showed spouses who had a child with Down syndrome were just like all married couples in several regards — they were much more likely to divorce if they were younger, had not graduated from high school or lived in a rural area.

'Down syndrome advantage'

So, what’s different about a couple who has a child with Down syndrome?
"Lower divorce rates in the Down syndrome group may be due in part to what the researchers call the 'Down syndrome advantage,' which refers to the personality and behavior of most children with the syndrome and the fact that parents of children with Down syndrome are often older, more educated and married before having children," reported Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
Researcher Dr. Richard C. Urbano said, “When divorce did occur in the Down syndrome group, however, a higher proportion occurred within the first two years after the child's birth.”

Doing the math

Maureen Wallace and family
Image credit: Scott Hunter Photography

The husband and I are definitely older (40 and 37, respectively, when we welcomed our son). We each have a bachelor’s degree, and I’m leasing to own a master’s degree. We did, in fact, marry before we had Charlie. (“Had” meaning “met in person.”)
As for those first years of marriage? Absolute hell, thanks to my whopping case of post-partum depression and the typical strains of a new marriage, new home and two new jobs. But we made it through. What portion of stress came from Charlie's extra chromosome? Not one. Having a new baby is a life-changing experience — the extra chromosome just meant when we got enough sleep to have a conversation, occasionally a word related to medicine would slip out.

The effects of unconditional love

Tamara has a son with Down syndrome and says the study results “[make] sense to me... [my son] is the most pure and genuine person I know! His happiness for life is contagious and he demonstrates unconditional love daily! If we can use that as a model for our marriage, then what is left to fight about?”

But what about stress on a marriage?

More recently, in July 2011, the American Journal of Medical Genetics published results of a survey titled, Having a son or daughter with Down syndrome: Perspectives from mothers and fathers. Drs. Brian G. Skotko, Susan P. Levine and Richard Goldstein led the research.
Of survey respondents, 11 percent agreed with the statement, "Right now, my son or daughter with DS is putting a strain on my marriage/partnership."
Interestingly, a statistically insignificant but slightly greater number of respondents agreed with the statement, "Right now, my children without DS are putting a strain on my marriage/partnership."
Researchers shared, "The overwhelming majority of parents who have children with [Down syndrome] report that their outlook on life is more positive because of their son or daughter with [Down syndrome]."

What we have here is... more communication?

"We tell each other the good, the bad and yes, even the ugly."
Some parents queried by SheKnows pointed to the increased — and perhaps improved — communication shared between spouses.
"From day one we agreed to speak openly and honestly about [our son], the diagnosis and all things in and around Down syndrome," Beth shares. "We tell each other the good, the bad and yes, even the ugly. Having each other to talk to and listen to has made us a stronger couple! The theme of open honesty has spread to all aspects of our relationship."

Perspective and faith

Perhaps the impact on spirituality weaves a tighter marriage bond? Joanna has a son with Down syndrome, but he fought much more serious medical conditions during her pregnancy and his infancy. She points out, "It’s amazing when you have a newborn that was so close to being taken from you how quickly you find yourself on your knees begging God."

Required: Senses of humor

My parents have been married 42 years, and my mom’s favorite line regarding marriage goes like this: "Divorce? Never!" she exclaims, as if it's an insult to even consider. "Now, murder… well, that’s another story," she closes with a knowing look.
The husband’s parents have been married for 56 years, and his dad’s favorite quip is, "I could have killed someone and gotten less time."
It seems that the secret to a long and laughter-filled marriage is, in fact, a regular mention of death. One mom’s response was too entertaining for this writer to disregard, but she didn’t want to be quoted, so we’ll call her Lucy.
"Who knows why our marriages last… but I'm glad it's that way."
When asked her thoughts on why parents of children with Down syndrome have a lower rate of divorce, Lucy replied: "because we can't afford divorce... we're broke with all the medical bills and therapies," she jokes. "Seriously though, [our daughter with Down syndrome] has made me more tolerant of imperfections. Who knows why our marriages last… but I'm glad it's that way."
How much weight should we give these studies? Larina has a daughter with Down syndrome and a daughter who does not have Down syndrome. Her evaluation of the studies may say it all: "Divorce is one thing... strain on a marriage is not measured!"
Images courtesy of Maureen Wallace

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

How insurance paid for our home therapy equipment

We are a military family, so this entry will explain how we navigated through Tricare and ECHO to get several pieces of therapy equipment.  I hope this inspires you to learn what your insurance carrier will or will not provide.  Obviously, it is not something they are going to advertise or volunteer information about.  Please leave or a comment below if your insurance carrier assists you so that others may benefit from it.

First of all, we had to sign up for the extended portion of Tricare called ECHO.  ECHO stands for Extended Care Health Option.  From the website,  "ECHO is offered to the following beneficiaries who are diagnosed with moderate or severe mental retardation, a serious physical disability, or an extraordinary physical or psychological condition".  You must first be enrolled in the Exceptional Family Member Program ( )within the military system before you will be considered for ECHO.  When I called the ECHO program initially, I was told it was "only for autism",  so I expressed my opinion, hung up, and called again.  I was then told that they didn't think she qualified.  I hung up and called a third time, and I was told "of course, let's get you going".  The paperwork was easy.  The monthly cost of ECHO is based on your rank, so $50/month for MAJ, and you only pay for the months you utilize it. So theoretically, all of this equipment will cost us $50.

After all of the paperwork was approved, I contacted the ECHO office again and found out which local equipment companies they will use here in Little Rock, AR.  (also know as DME providers which stands for durable medical equipment).  They will not pay for online purchases.  United Mobility and Equipment was accepted by ECHO. 

I then searched online for specific examples of products I wanted.  I was told to be approved it had to "promote development and prevent loss of function".  Finding products was the fun and easy part, I could pick out equipment all day long for my girls if someone else is going to pay for it.   Presley is almost two and is a good walker, so I focused on gross motor skills, climbing, muscle strengthening, and balance".  I chose several items thinking they would only pay for one or two. 

I then reviewed all of them with our Physical Therapist for her recommendations and opinion.  She was the greatest asset to our getting the equipment.  She wrote a letter of justification for each piece of equipment, explaining how Presley would benefit from each.  We then followed up with a letter of concurrence from Presley's Pediatrician too.  Then was submitted to the equipment company.  They researched the companies they ordered from to closely match the equipment we wanted.   

The equipment company then submitted the request to Tefra (Medicaid) to be denied.  Once denied, it could be submitted to Tricare (we have Prime).  Again, we were looking for a denial so it could be submitted to the ECHO, which pays for things traditional insurance will not.  I received a denial letter from Medicaid and Tricare, so that helped me track the progress.  Approximately six months after submission, I received a call that all the equipment had been delivered.  The equipment company representative was as surprised as I was that it was all approved and stated that they had never submitted such a request before. 

I am a true believer, that you don't know until you ask and they can only tell you no.  I wish you luck in your journey as you are your child's voice and advocate.  They deserve the best opportunities to succeed and sometimes it is with our time and efforts, and sometimes it is just being a kid by playing, exploring, and climbing.  Many blessings, Robin

Here are planks and steps that can be changed to various heights and positions. Called a "build  balance set".  Cost $480.
This is both girls favorite.  Presley immediately wanted me to hold her hands so she could follow her big sister around this.  We did this many times practicing her balancing skills.  
A straight line was lots of fun also. Presley immediately thought she could stand on it by herself.

This is called a round see saw.  It rocks while they stand or sit.  It also spins easy on carpet like a small merry go round.  Cost $304.

Presley loves climbing the steps and slide.  Within a couple of days, she began sliding while sitting upright.  Previously, she would always lay down on her belly and slide backwards.  It takes up quite a bit of space, but worth it. This particular one is called a corner climber with slide and costs around $900.

Soft balance beam.  This one is good, but I would chose the other one for balance if you can only get one .  Cost $236.

This is called a "dizzy disc".  It spins the child around and different angles can be added for various sensory input. .  Cost $282.  However, our neurodevelopmentalist did not approve this or using the round see saw as a merry go round since Presley has specific spinning exercises for her nystagmus and other developmental issues, so check with your program manager for their suggestions if you are using one of the neurodevelopmental programs. 
The last item is the "rainy day platform swing" with 29:-36" support bar.  Cost $ $393 and $197.  I have not set this up since we have ran out of space currently, and we hope to start building a new home in the future with a larger dedicated space for all of this.  How could this not be fun though?


Thursday, May 2, 2013

Which State Is Best?



States Get Ranked On Disability Services


Arizona is the place to be when it comes to services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, according to a new national ranking.

The listing is part of a report set to be released Thursday by United Cerebral Palsy, which ranks disability services in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Specifically, the advocacy organization weighed each state’s track record in promoting independence and productivity, ensuring quality and safety, keeping families together and reaching people in need.
In addition to Arizona, the highest ranked states were New Hampshire, Oregon, Vermont and California.

Top performing states were largely clustered in the Northeast and on the West Coast. As in past years, the standouts represented both big and small states as well as those with high and low tax burdens. What’s more, the amount they spent to provide community supports for individuals with disabilities varied.

Mississippi was ranked last for the seventh straight year. Arkansas, Texas, Illinois and Virginia filled out the bottom five.
The report — which is produced annually — is largely based on data from 2011, the most recent available.

States are increasingly shifting to a focus on supports within the community, the analysis found. Currently, 38 states indicate that at least 80 percent of residents with developmental disabilities that they serve live in the community. These same states also devote at least 80 percent of their resources designated for this population toward community supports. That’s up from 14 states in 2007.
While some states outshined others the report authors caution that there’s work to do nationwide. Fewer than a third of those with developmental disabilities are employed competitively in the vast majority of states. And, waiting lists for residential services remain high, with 268,000 people in limbo compared to 138,000 in 2007, the report indicates.