Locations in Baldwin, Cadillac, Grant, McBain and White Cloud


  Contact Administration : (231) 745-2743

A Child With Autism, Not An Autistic Child

“My child has what?” I have to admit, as a medical provider, I feel I should have known more about autism. My child was 18 months old, wasn’t talking, and wouldn’t turn her head to look at me if I yelled her name from only a few feet away. After ruling out a hearing issue, her pediatrician referred her for further evaluation at a children’s hospital downstate. She was evaluated by a speech therapist, a behaviorist and a child psychologist, all in one day. Their conclusion: autism spectrum disorder, or ASD.

Jon Borton, PA-C, and family

As a medical provider, it made sense. However, as a parent, I didn’t want to admit that my child was anything but perfect. That quickly changed. I had taken care of a few patients with diagnosed autism, but my daughter didn’t have some of the same characteristics that these patients had. I went from knowing what autism was and how it was generally diagnosed to resident expert (in my mind) in a very short period of time. Then an interesting thing happened. My son, who is 18 months older than my daughter, started talking at an expected age. He never had any signs of hearing issues and would turn his head to look in my direction if I called his name.  However, he lacked eye contact, was socially awkward compared to peers, and required strict adherence to patterns. Something just wasn’t “normal,” whatever that is. I initially thought, he only has an attention problem (which he does). After learning as much as I could about ASD, I started to strongly suspect that he had the condition as well. My son eventually went through the same testing and was given the same diagnosis.

The description of what my family went through over two years is used to highlight a couple of things. One is that every child is an individual and should be treated as such. A given condition, especially those in mental health, can present with a wide range of symptoms. Second, and just as important, is to hopefully increase awareness of autism in the general public. Since my ASD journey began, I have played a part in diagnosing several children and adolescents with the condition. I don’t know if it was “meant to be”, but that argument has often been hard to refute.

Autism spectrum disorder has become the fastest growing developmental disorder in the United States. In 2000, the CDC estimated that 1 in 150 children had autism. The most recent statistics estimate that number to be between 1 in 40 and 1 in 59 children. The increase in the prevalence of autism has been mostly attributed to improvements in screening and diagnosis of the disorder. It affects all racial and ethnic backgrounds and is about four times more likely to occur in boys than in girls

As one might imagine, there are several signs and symptoms of autism. When a child is first seen by a primary care provider, we start to look for signs of developmental or communication challenges. We observe how your child laughs, looks to you for reassurance, tries to regain your attention during a conversation, points or waves, responds to his or her name, or cries. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends screening for autism at the 18 and 24 month well child visits. This is most commonly done using the Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers, or M-CHAT. A positive screen can indicate the need for further evaluation. It is important to note that a normal screen does not rule out the diagnosis of autism or other developmental disorders. There is an online form of this that can be accessed by anyone at www.m-chat.org.

The treatment of ASD requires a comprehensive approach. Because individuals with ASD have varying degrees of impairment in social and behavioral function, management needs to be tailored to the child’s age and specific needs. The goals are to maximize functioning, move the child toward independence, and improve quality of life. There is increasing evidence that intervention is most effective when initiated as early as possible. A notable treatment approach for those with ASD is applied behavior analysis (ABA), which encourages positive behaviors and discourages negative behaviors to improve a variety of skills. Speech therapy and occupational therapy are often used to target specific deficits as well. While no medication specifically treats autism, medications can be used to treat common coexisting conditions/symptoms, such as hyperactivity, inattention, aggression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive behaviors, depressive symptoms, and sleep dysfunction. To any parent who has concerns about possible developmental issues, autism, etc. with your child, the best advice I can give is this: Be an advocate for your child. Your concerns should be heard and addressed. Make an appointment with your child’s primary care provider and have an assessment done. Again, the earlier a diagnosis is made, the earlier treatment may be able to be started. I was lucky enough to be able to do so for my children at an earlier than average age. Since beginning to understand the things that they struggle with, it has made every milestone that much more significant. I like to say that my children are not just autistic. They are so much more, with their own strengths and weaknesses. They are children who happen to have autism. They are my world.

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An Apple a Day

Beautiful red tasty fresh apples.

An apple a day might not keep the doctor away but it is a good start at setting up healthy eating habits.  If your family is like mine eating healthy can seem overwhelming at times.  Between going to work, school, sports practices and after school activities family dinner can get pushed aside. Add to it the cost of fresh fruits and vegetables and sometimes it just seems easier to go through the drive through and worry about it tomorrow. With spring right around the corner, now is a good time to rethink our eating habits and commit to making some changes.  Consider making small changes that could have a significant impact on your families overall health.  Keep reading for some helpful hints to save money and great links for recipes and meal ideas that kids will love. 

Healthy eating habits set our kids up for long term success. Childhood obesity is a major health issue that increases the risk for depression, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, fatty liver, sleep apnea and more. However, it is not just overweight children who need to eat a healthy, well-rounded diet.  All children, regardless of body type or size, benefit from good eating habits.  It doesn’t have to be overwhelming or difficult to make meaningful changes.  You can start with small steps to improve your family’s eating habits.  For example, you can cut down on portion sizes, drink less juice and soda pop, and eat more fruits and vegetables.

Children should have at least five servings of fruits and vegetables per day. This may seem overwhelming at first, but it doesn’t have to be.  To make it easier, consider a serving to be about ½ of a cup or a small apple.  Offer cut up fruit or vegetables as snacks to increase daily intake.  Consider cutting up broccoli, cauliflower, carrots or peppers and offering them with a yogurt or ranch dip after school and while preparing dinner.  If your children love spaghetti get creative with the vegetables that you add into the sauce. I have found a handful of spinach, green peppers, and mushrooms go well in most sauces. Even macaroni and cheese is better with broccoli mixed through it! In the summer people with a Bridge or Yes card can use it at Family Fare or most farmers markets to double up the benefits when buying fruits and vegetables.

One of the easiest and most important changes you can make is to cut down on serving sizes.  Overall, serving sizes have more than tripled in the last thirty years for adults and children. When serving meals from the stove or countertop pay attention to the serving size each person is getting. Have everyone wait to get seconds until the last person at the table is done eating. This will allow time for children to feel full and will reduce overeating.  I am not saying they cannot have seconds, but if they have to wait before refilling their plate studies have shown that most people will consume fewer calories per meal. If your young child is routinely eating more at a meal than the adults you may want to have a discussion with your family health care provider to see if there may be a medical cause or to help you set goals for how much your child should eat.

Young cheerful girl holding a slice of watermelon

Strategies to prevent obesity in children:

  • Provide smaller portion sizes
  • Let your child drink no more than one small cup
    of juice, low sugar sports drink, or soda pop a day.
  • Have your child drink water when he or she is
    thirsty.
  • Offer more fruits and vegetables at meals and
    snacks.
  • Eat as a family as often as possible. Keep
    family meals fun and positive.
  • Make exercise a part of your family’s daily
    life. Encourage your child to be active for at least one hour every day.
  • Give every family member daily, weekly, and
    monthly chores, such as housecleaning, weeding the garden or washing the car.
  • Let your child older than two years of age watch
    television or play video games for no more than two hours each day. This
    includes cell phone time at home for teenagers!
  • Children under the age of two should not be
    exposed to any screen time as it interferes with healthy sleep-wake cycles and may
    harm brain development.  
  • Eat a balanced breakfast daily.
  • Decrease snacks after dinner.  Offer fruits, vegetables, and protein if
    something is needed.
  • Do not eat in front of the television or while
    looking at a tablet, computer or smartphone.
  • Eliminate television in the room where a child
    sleeps.
  • Limit eating out. Though it is convenient and
    may seem cheaper than cooking at home, there are many easy, quick recipes that
    can save you time and money as well as improve your family’s health.
  • Ensure adequate sleep.

Partner with your health care provider to monitor your
child’s weight and to discuss their eating habits.  By making small changes now, we can work
together to avoid serious health problems like diabetes, heart disease and
depression.  

Recipes

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Top 5 Daily Habits to Keep You Healthy

Water

Rather than lamenting your poor health or stressing over the lifestyle changes you know you should make, start small with a few key habits that pack a big punch. Read on for 5 smart habits to employ daily for optimal health and wellness from family health care providers in Cadillac, MI.

Increase Your Water Intake

One of the easiest and most beneficial things you can do to improve your health and overall wellbeing immediately is to improve your hydration intake. An increased hydration level will help your immune system, energy levels, skin, and hunger cues. People often find that they’re more easily able to lose weight, complete physical tasks, and be productive throughout the day when they focus on drinking enough water. Try drinking an extra glass of water before meals, carry a reusable water bottle around with you throughout the day, or track your water intake to inspire you to take those extra sips all day long. Aim to start with at least 64 ounces a day, and increase those numbers as needed.

Move Your Body

Many people who set exercise and physical activity goals feel like they have to completely overhaul their whole lifestyle to make any progress. Luckily, health benefits can be reaped with less drastic measures, and any additional movement throughout the day is beneficial. Park at the back of the parking lot to get some extra steps, take the stairs instead of the elevator, do a few bodyweight exercises during commercial breaks, go on a walk at lunchtime, try a new fitness class at the gym, or simply stand instead of sitting whenever possible.  

Veggies

Remember Veggie Power

To make improvements to your diet, one simple way to begin is to remember the power of vegetables. They are full of nutritious vitamins, contain needed fiber, and are low in calories, so you can eat less overall while still feeling satisfied. By trying to include a few servings of vegetables at every meal, you can enjoy a more nutritious diet and consume fewer calories overall.

Prioritize Sleep Health

Another major concern for most people is getting enough quality sleep. Sleep deprivation has immediate effects on your physical and mental health, so aiming for 6-8 hours of quality sleep each night is a straightforward way to see immediate benefits. Avoid electronics for an hour before bed, limit caffeine intake, keep your room dark and cool, and set up a nightly sleep hygiene routine to help your body and brain settle in for the night.

Take a Moment to Be Mindful

Mindfulness and gratitude are getting a lot of attention in the health world right now, and for a good reason. Taking a few minutes each day to engage in mindfulness can help you feel more balanced, less stressed, and more able to take on your daily tasks. Meditation, yoga, breathing exercises, gratitude journals, or nightly visualization exercises are a great place to start.

To ask more specific questions about your health or set up an appointment for full-service family health care in Cadillac, MI, call the pros at Family Health Care today!

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Starting the Year Healthy

Food and Exercise

The start of the new year leaves many people thinking about
all the ways they can improve their lives. Some people want to travel more,
others want to learn new skills, but the most popular new year’s resolutions
involve leading a healthier life, and with good reason, too. Read the tips
below to learn how you can improve your life and make smarter, healthier
choices in 2019. 

Stock Up on Healthy Foods

The first step to eating better in the new year is to get
prepared. Sort through your pantry and refrigerator and get rid of any
unhealthy foods that you want to eat less of. Throw out junk food and consider
donating unopened packages of food to your local food pantry. Refill your
kitchen with healthy food essentials. If you aren’t sure where to begin, look
up some healthy recipes to get some ideas.

Drink More Water

Do your best to stay hydrated throughout the day. Drinking
plenty of water keeps your biological functions running correctly and can even
prevent you from overeating. Though you may have heard that you need to drink
eight glasses of water a day, the actual amount varies from person to person.
And remember, drinking water isn’t the only way to stay hydrated. Your body
also gets fluids from some of the foods you eat like fruits and vegetables.

Make Time for Exercise

If you only exercise when you feel like it or when you have
some free time, chances are you won’t be active nearly as much as you should.
Experts recommend getting at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise (walking)
or 75 minutes of vigorous activity (running) every week, plus twice-weekly
strength training. Schedule adequate time every week to get the exercise your
body needs. You may find it easier to commit to exercising if you make a
routine of it and work out at around the same times every week.

Set Doctor’s Appointments and Actually Go

A lot of people neglect their health care, failing to schedule annual checkups, get flu shots, or visit specialists when needed. In 2019, make a commitment to your health by scheduling and keeping doctor’s appointments. Doing so will provide you with essential information about your health and alert you to any areas where you can improve. Look up family health care in Cadillac, MI, to find the best health care provider for the whole family.

Doctor Appointment

Get Your Stress Under Control

Most people deal with stress and anxiety on a daily basis,
but you don’t need to be one of them. Try out a few different stress relief
techniques to see which ones work best for you so you can lead a calmer, more
relaxed life. Some anxiety reduction tactics include meditation, yoga,
journaling, breathing exercises, and going to therapy.

Get Enough Sleep Every Night

Experts recommend that’s adults get between seven and nine
hours of sleep every night. Most Americans, however, fail to do this with over
a third of adults getting less than seven hours of rest every night. Not
getting enough sleep has been linked to all sorts of issues including anxiety
depression, mood swings, cognitive impairment, and more.

If you’re looking for family health care in Cadillac, MI, contact
us at Family Health Care to schedule a doctor’s appointment and give 2019 the
healthy start that you deserve.

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Welcome Lisa West, FNP-C!

Having providers that work to connect with and understand the needs of patients in Lake County is vital to the mission of Family Health Care (FHC). That’s why FHCis pleased to announce the addition of Lisa West, FNP-C, to its Baldwin office.

Lisa began her career in the medical field as an emergency room nurse. After realizing she wanted to advance her career, Lisa achieved her Master’s degree and became certified as a family nurse practitioner.  She has been in practice for over five years.

“I am excited about the opportunity to practice medicine in an environment that puts patient care first,” says Lisa. “The adventure of living and working in an area that is new to me is also exciting. I cannot wait to serve the residents of Lake County!”

Lisa comes to FHC from Nacogdoches, Texas, with a patient-centered philosophy of care and an outgoing personality. She completed her Bachelor of Nursing at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas, and her Masters of Nursing at Texas A&M University in Corpus Christi, Texas.

FHC continually focuses on meeting the needs of its communities by growing and expanding services to provide rural residents and visitors to the area with quality, affordable access to behavioral health, medical, dental, vision, pharmacy, laboratory and radiology services close to where they live, work and play.

Lisa will provide medical care services at FHC’s Baldwin office located at 1615 Michigan Avenue in Baldwin. To schedule an appointment with Lisa or another provider call (231) 745-4624.

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