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Parenting Impossible – The Special Needs Survival Podcast

Mar 24, 2021

Joya Van Der Laan is a wife, mother of 3, family nurse practitioner, functional medicine specialist, and business owner. As if that didn't make life complicated enough, two of her three children have special needs including Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and Intermittent Explosive Disorder (IED). 

After receiving her daughter's ASD diagnosis in 2014 when she was 3 years old, Joya's innate curiosity and passion for learning drove her to ask, "am I doing enough to help my children through these diagnoses?" 

Feeling woefully unprepared, even with her medical training and clinical background, Joya started researching treatments including both traditional and integrative options. It was overwhelming, eye-opening, hopeful, and exhausting all at the same time. "I very clearly remember feeling like I was in over my head, even as a trained medical professional,” Joya says.  “Even with experience with integrative medicine, I wondered, 'how in the world must parents who have no medical background feel going through this?'" 

This is what prompted Joya and her husband, Dave, to start Your Autism Game Plan, an online resource for parents and caregivers of children with ASD. Her goal is to provide a different perspective, including the integrative treatment options that are not generally discussed in the traditional medical and therapy settings. 

"Parents need to know this stuff because our kids need help beyond what is typically offered, and searching online is just too overwhelming and time-consuming," Joya says.

In this episode, Annette and Joya discuss a variety of topics, including:

  • How we as parents can help our kids with autism to decrease the bothersome symptoms with functional medicine treatments  
  • Gut health and how it can be related to so many health issues and symptoms of autism – meltdowns, constipation, diarrhea, stimming, picky eating, mood disorders, etc. 
  • How to give yourself grace when you feel like a bad mother/parent

Annette Hines has been practicing in the areas of Special Needs, Elder Law, and Estate Planning for more than 20 years. Ms. Hines brings personal experience with special needs to her practice and podcasts as the mother of two daughters, one of whom passed away from Mitochondrial disease in November 2013. This deep, personal understanding of special needs fuels her passion for quality special needs planning and drives her dedication to help others within the special needs community.