Walking the Wellness Walk
What is the Wellness Walk?
It’s that part of the person-centered plan, the IEP, the IFSP that does not exist. It’s the part of life that creates quality living with quality health in your community.
The Wellness Walk is the process of creating a healthful family environment, learning about informed choices, and creating healthy lives – for your children, with or without a disability, and your family.
I chose to become a Registered Dietitian 29 years ago. It fits me like a glove. I entered the world of disability, not by choice, but by circumstance, 22 years ago with the birth of my second son, Andy, who has Down syndrome, autism, celiac disease, and one word. I entered the profession of supporting people with disabilities and their families to live quality lives by choice 6 years later as a result of that event. And I continue to choose it today.
Andy, and many others who experience Down syndrome I have worked with, have taught me more about ethics, being a good support, and how to be a better dietitian than any other life experience. These lessons apply to anyone I work with. They are not limited to people with disabilities. These experiences have shaped my life and values.
When I apply these lessons to my work, I call it, Walking the Wellness Walk.
As I took my first steps on the Wellness Walk, two things slapped me in the face:
(I should tell you, it was not my amazing observation skills that did this. It was the young adults I was working with.)
- People with Down syndrome – of any age or stage – are avid learners.
- People with Down syndrome want to be healthy – on their terms.
These are not earth-shattering statements to parents of people with Down syndrome and other disabilities. They are, however, what makes pouring my creativity, heart, and soul into translating research and coaching families my passion.
This has led to another key kernel of understanding when it comes to quality health:
- As parents, we have to clear the path and
- We have to walk the walk too.
The benefits of the Wellness Walk are yours to create. I know that sounds completely intangible, so here are some examples of changes people experience:
- Less "obsession" about meal time.
- An end to saying “no no no” and a start to saying “yes, yes, yes!”
- More focus on what to do than what not to do.
- Retirement from the Food Police Force.
- Improved health for your child - and you.
- An end to the food fights at the table.
- Increased self-determination toward healthier options.
- Increased food choices for your entire family.
- A return of the "family meal."
- Communication tools and strategies for your child to gain self-determination and make informed choices around food and health.
- Time for you to focus on your health.
Which of these will you and your child experience? It all depends on you! We'll take a direction that is based on the vision you have of quality health and quality living for you and your family.
It's all about you. Which means, it's a person, or family-centered process.
Why is this important? Read about Stephen’s walk to wellness,” written by his Mom, Jamie Todd. Stephen is one of my first, and most effective teachers. He taught me that it’s never too early to begin teaching about informed choices.
Clearing the path so your child – your whole family – can do the Wellness Walk is not easy. One thing I’ve learned over the course of Andy’s life is that I do best when I have someone to share the experience. Just like you, I need a coach as a parent – a cheerleader doesn’t hurt either.
Are you willing to do the work, but not sure what to do or where to begin?
Creating a person-centered lifestyle that promotes quality health, quality life, and a connected community is hard, and messy work. It is courageous work. And it is often a better experience if you have somoene who will walk the path with you.
I will travel your path beside you - I'll even bring a weed whacker.
If you are ready to dig in and get dirty, I'm ready to be there with you every step of the way. That's how I see my role as your coach: to give you the tools you need and the encouragement you deserve to do the hard work of seeing and creating the life you want for all your children - with or without Down syndrome - and yourself.
To learn more about the process, the investment, and to choose the right direction for you and your family, I like to schedule a 30-minute Get to Know You Consultation at no cost to you. In this brief meeting we will briefly discuss the process of creating the Wellness Walk for your child (regardless of age) that is tailored to your family as well as the time and financial commitment involved.
You can read what is included with various services here.
I believe in self-determination!
That means, you can schedule your 30-minute "Get to Know You" Meeting here.
Creating an environment that promotes health for your family and you is something you will use fo ra lifetime. The experience of working together will stay with you and transform how you support your children -with and without a disability - your spouse, your extended family, your friends, and most importantly, yourself.
It's your choice to make to experience the mess of transforming how you support yoru child to create your quality life, with quality health, in the community you choose.
Here's my calendar to sign up for your "Get to Know You" session.