Love and Cannabis 0008: Neuroplasticity

Nina Simmons and Osiris Stephen talk about taking advantage of basic daily occurrences to help their son overcome his challenges. Asking him to use different hands or different feet to perform tasks helped him improve is fine and gross motor skills. Asking him to count stairs or name every object in their house helped him develop his brain. Overtime they learned that what they did was not nearly as important as how frequently they did it. Osiris and Nina continue to prove that by working together ordinary parents can overcome and do the extraordinary.

*Produced By MJBulls Media | Cannabis Podcast Network*

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LC0008 G.mp3 was automatically transcribed by Sonix with the latest audio-to-text algorithms. This transcript may contain errors. Sonix is the best way to convert your audio to text in 2019.

Dan Humiston:
For too many years, families have children with devastating illnesses felt helpless as they watched their child suffer. Today, they're taking matters into their own hands and finally, finding relief. Treating their child with Cannabis. This is one family's story.

Osiris & Nina:
Hi. Thanks for tuning in to another episode of Love and Cannabis. I am Nina Osiris and we are the proud parents of Aiden everyone.

Osiris Stephen:
How are you guys doing out there? Welcome to another episode. Hope everyone is doing great. Hi, everyone. Thanks for tuning in. Yeah, we appreciate you. We've been getting a lot of responses from our podcast as of late. We want to thank everybody for listening in. And for those who have been reaching out. Family and friends. Thank you. Thank you. We really appreciate the support because it takes a lot to do. This is not something, you know, people may think is easy, but as you know, it takes some time, especially when you're raising a child. And, you know, we have, you know, work schedules and all those things that may interfere. But I feel we both feel I mean, to say this, we both feel is something necessary. So we appreciate you and your time to, you know, sit in and listen in to what we have to share.

Nina Simmons:
Yes. So that being said, this episode, we're going to talk about other things that we did with Aidan outside of the CBD use. There's a laundry list, I tell you that much. Yeah. We do a lot with him. We were not afraid to try different things.

Osiris Stephen:
I think we take it too far sometimes.

Osiris Stephen:
And it is maybe I think, you know.

Osiris Stephen:
But I realized that we have to because if we leave it to the doctors, they'll try. So why not us as we have to be with him every day? And we have to be the ones to really, really. He's here with us.

Osiris Stephen:
So we should be the ones to try these experiments that we do. We read research and we understand we develop. And and the fact that we have such different backgrounds and experiences, it helps. Definitely, definitely helps. I think I recall that when I was home with him and he was getting physical therapy, because when kids have disabilities, you're able to get services like in New York, you pretty much can get the gambit of services available to you. And one of the services, one of the three services they receive between physical therapy, speech and occupational therapy, physical therapy was getting it at home. So it was like he was a three year old. We'll have a physical therapist come in and work with him. What are things that he would do is just stretch his legs because at the time he really tight.

Osiris Stephen:
What was it like? His hamstrings would tie his cars?

Osiris Stephen:
Is his what was it, the the Achilles heel that was a really tight on him. So he would spend a lot of time stretching. So every day he'll come in at half an hour and just stretches legs this stretch and nothing thinking myself but his legs a week.

Osiris Stephen:
He really couldn't at the time. He couldn't really walk up and down the stairs, really had issues. He would walk on his toes. That was a major issue with us. The fact they did that and we end up getting braces for him, which was really uncomfortable for a bathroom.

Osiris Stephen:
But one of the things that I did since I was home with him is that I help them learn how to walk up and down the stairs. Mind you folks, we're in a city. We don't have an elevator and a fourth floor walk up there. So I count it one day. It was like 40 steps.

Nina Simmons:
Yeah.

Nina Simmons:
Yeah, I think it's even more like 80 really as a double what I just said 80.

Osiris Stephen:
That's a lot of steps. I got to get out there. It's a lot of steps. Well, you brought it down.

Osiris Stephen:
Yes. If you go up and I was 80, this 80 steps a day that you have to. And that does not include getting to the train station, which is about a, what, 30 seconds to a 45 seconds walk and then you're going another two to three flights down those steps. So, Aiden, we know I had worked with eight and with that going up and down the steps to really strengthen up his muscles and his cause in learning how to really walk those flights, because at the time, I was really feeling 100 percent why he was home with me.

Osiris Stephen:
And so I was like, hey, and, you know, I can't carry you use a big bundle of joy. You got to have you walking up and down the stairs and felt that also that would help. It was physical therapy one.

Osiris Stephen:
And secondly, it would help him with strength because the things that he was doing early on, he was right on schedule for development, but didn't then after the seizures. Everything just seemed to stop.

Osiris Stephen:
And his balance was off. His walking skills were off. You know, even his speech stopped, really, which was kind of strange. So it really concerned us and trust me for me, because I'm home with him now.

Nina Simmons:
Yeah. It was a scary time when he was having a quite a few seizures, like the days where you have 100 plus seizures a day. My background is physical therapy. And I knew by aid in not being active that would be more detriment to his brain. I knew this something that we had to do in a safe space to always keep him active when he was having bad days. Yeah, that's kind of hard. He was very high. I remember he was having one his worst eight. Passenger seizures, I said, OK, what can I do? To work his brain. But in a safe space.

Nina Simmons:
So I say, okay, I'll put him in the stroller and then I'll bring him to the sandbox, cause I knew if I remember that you said, that makes.

Osiris Stephen:
Then I want a So there.

Nina Simmons:
So I said, OK, if he's in the sandbox, at least if he falls he you know, on the sand aqua sit right next to him. But at the same time he could work his upper body. I sitting up there unsupported a co-worker, co-workers, arms, I, you know, playing with the sand and get some, you know, functional play in. And that's the kind of things, you know, we did. We want it despite what was going on. We wanted to somehow keep his keep him active.

Nina Simmons:
Yeah. And physical activity is very important to me. And I know the importance of physical activity and brain function.

Osiris Stephen:
Mm hmm. Well, that was it was one of things. And when he started like trying to feed himself, he's a writer. So you use the right hand. I would move the spoon to his left hand and hold down his right hand and kind of like force him to use his left hand to pick it up. It was just something just to keep him engaged, keep him involved in knowing, like, if you're that hungry, you're going to lift this.

Osiris Stephen:
You can live with those hands to get it. And end. It was like forcing his brain or him in general just to go out to the less food, because I'm like, I'm hungry. I'm a scoop.

This food up, you know, it is awkward, but I'm gonna do it. And he would do it. He would literally go for it. He would go left hand and pick up the spoon and try to feed himself. That was interesting how he really pushed himself, where he wanted to do something.

Nina Simmons:
Yes. That was perfect. What you did. Sighs Because sometimes it's good to work both sides of the body.

Nina Simmons:
Because if you're working the right side of your body, you're strengthening the left side. And if you work in the left side of your body, you're strengthening the right brain.

Osiris Stephen:
How does that work? Because I know I know you mentioned it before and you know the things that would do it to. You'd watch and you'd explain.

Osiris Stephen:
It's like a still like not clear to me because, you know, I know the action, but I don't know the title, the label to what it is I'm doing with him.

Nina Simmons:
So basically, it is not to get into this whole neuro science. Technical and neuroscience lesson is that, you know, you want to work your whole brain, you know.

Nina Simmons:
So if you're writing so you don't want to only work when you work out, you only you don't work out only one side of your body, you have to work out both. Yeah. So that, you know, innately you are doing that without, you know, the science. Yeah. So what is this? I mean there is a name for it. Right. So basically when.

Nina Simmons:
You have a developing brain. The brain is plastic and so is that it's called neuroplasticity. Meaning that the brain can change a kid. It's not just a fixed state. So even if you have some damage to your brain from stroke or seizures or traumatic injury, there's a ability that you can heal from these things. Really.

Osiris Stephen:
You know what is interesting that you mentioned, as I recall, you have a memory. You were doing a conference or a speaking engagement to patients who had a stroke.

Osiris Stephen:
And I recall you talking about this and I was like, well, how do we apply that? And you said, well, you're rewiring the brain if you're app, you causing the part of the brain to work in some way. So I was kind of confused. I'm like, OK. I'm trying to stand. Is that OK? So one side of the brain is not really active. So working that other active brain kind of rewire is the left, right or the right or whatever does not work. And basically it kind of like forces it to kind of rewire itself so it can extends. So the live part of the brain, the wired goes over to the left.

Nina Simmons:
Ok. That can happen as well. Now we're seeing in some patients with Qassam strokes. That one say the certain part of a part of the brain is damaged. A different part of the brain will take over. And sometimes that's why you see people have like complete recovery. That's amazing. So I knew that exercise was really important. So, yes, we always stress that with a leg. We're the type of parents that have them at the playground when it's like five degrees. Yes. Know they can get out just yet. He has to work his brain and he has to keep active, keep strong because he's having seizures and because the seizures can be damaging to him.

Nina Simmons:
So we knew that, you know, he always had to be active. For example, lately I've been doing this thing where we go on runs column. And my professor said that they did a study and they found out that running also has some neuro protective properties, which means that just runners have less neuro genitive damaged or need when they looked at runners brains versus people didn't run, neurogenesis was got a swing.

Osiris Stephen:
I'm sorry. He's basically says the brain wasn't.

Nina Simmons:
The aging process was slow. It was slowed down. Oh, yeah. So they could protect their brain from damage. Just head running something like CBT does. It's very similar to CBT. It's ok. So Cannabis helps with the slowing down the process of the brain damage. Yeah. Wow is amazing too. So we 8:00 and we'll go on runs. Hey, we gave them a scooter. Tell me about the scooter. They let you know that thought that was pretty cool.

Osiris Stephen:
That was interesting, the scooter, because as I stated before, it is riding. So he would always use his right leg to push off. So that was his push off the right leg. So I watched him. I would record him as he started doing this work. And there was a time where he could even do he couldn't move push off at all for a while. It took him some time just on. Right, because his muscles were so weak. And as time progressed, months, you know, even closer, a year of him strength in his legs and able to push on his right.

Osiris Stephen:
I said, well, what's going on with his left? Let's try let this switch it up. So I ask him as it aid and push off or you left. It took him a while. Just the process, that information that he needs to use his left leg. So I would had to literally put his right leg on a scooter, keep his left leg on him, on the floor, on the ground, and have them push himself.

Osiris Stephen:
The kid can do anything. He stood still. Just take a day for some reason there was a breakdown in the process of him using his left side like nothing move. And when it did move, it was like he was just walking. He could not propel himself forward. He couldn't even get that push off that he would go to his right. We did this every day since I saw that I would like, OK, this is what this is. This is the game plan. You're going to work your life every day. I'm not even an actuary, but you're right. Every time I see you going your right, you're going to your left and you're gonna keep working it.

Osiris Stephen:
I would say literally it took him two days. I thought it was gonna take him longer, Larry, to come to the A's to figure it out and started moving. But I would say by the fourth week he was using his little fourth week I'm sorry.

Osiris Stephen:
The fourth day it seemed as if his left and right were the same they were worth in conjunction. Was Leary amazing to watch him?

Nina Simmons:
It was amazing because he was like, how come I didn't think of this, you know? Yeah, I get paid for this stuff. I mean, that's genius. He's worked the other side.

Nina Simmons:
The other leg. So he can work at the other side of the race. I was like, aha. And just like any skill after. Wow. He got really good.

Osiris Stephen:
Yeah. He got he switches his not to be true. Yeah. You'll see in the history he does he will look into the direction he's going to, he'll switch it up.

Osiris Stephen:
I wow. OK. But that came through. And that's another thing that I noticed though with him is repetition. He just has to go. But I mean there are some families out there who have kids are not at that stage who are still trying to get their balance is like you, those kids out there who are stationary.

Osiris Stephen:
I mean, we talked about that, especially if a child was CBD and their stationary. You don't you may not have a fast metabolism. Eating in, as you know, CBD all may act differently than they would in them than it would for Aiden. So the same thing would probably apply as well as for neuroplasticity in exercising, then not being able physically to go out to do something. Is it something you can do stationary that will keep them?

Nina Simmons:
Yeah. There definitely they can handle. There are definitely exercises that they can do sitting down. I'm not sure I feel it. Yeah, definitely a lot of things they can do seeing now on a day able to do it repetitively.

Osiris Stephen:
Like what? And one of things I remember someone told me like yeah, I would raise sugar, you know, like a pound of sugar bag with three pound bags. It just raisin one hand, switch it up or even someone would have surgery from carpal tunnel. They would take a can and they would just do risk cutting.

Nina Simmons:
I was basically a basically the continued physical activity and know for us, a lot of people would say, wow, you do all that with your son. And he has seizures like, yeah.

Osiris Stephen:
And it was amazing by him, though, is that especially like if he's doing homework, if he has a seizure while he's on assignment, you know, he'll have a seizure, get up. Several will quit because he hates the feeling he. Oh, my God. This kid hates the feeling. But then he'll get himself together. Like I kind of finish. It's like this. This energy is like this, nasally, like I had to finish whatever he has started, he has to finish it.

Osiris Stephen:
And which is amazing to watch. It's like, wow, he is determined. He's a very determined child. And that's it all. How much is that plays from neuroplasticity. The rewiring, how much of that plays into it?

Nina Simmons:
I definitely think it is huge. So huge. I think yeah, I think because but I think we're fortunate that our brains aren't fixed so that every time I know that he has the ability to get better and then it gives us like a sense of hope. And he picks up quick on things.

Osiris Stephen:
You know, it takes some time. But he'll like once he gets it, it's like he's hooked on it. I noticed that would like games online. You know, certain things. You know, he grabs a phone if he ever read to me. Could you repeat numbers? Now he's repeating numbers, right?

Osiris Stephen:
He knows like our passcode. So our cell phones. Yeah. So you. That is not it. Nice to see when he's earlier we get a credit card on our phones. It's nice to see you when your child's healing.

Osiris Stephen:
Yeah, it is. It is great because especially when you saw the beginning thinking like what's going to happen, what had become of him.

Osiris Stephen:
And then you see these changes. They like, OK, we're on the right track.

Osiris Stephen:
We just gotta keep pushing him, keep moving forward, feed him the right foods, giving him a size, you know, eating, drinking water, you know, all those things that he needs for his body to develop, especially the brain is so fragile.

Nina Simmons:
It is fragile, but yet strong because it could take the trauma and still recover. And I've seen that.

Osiris Stephen:
Yeah. I mean, you told me the story about that one patient who couldn't walk.

Osiris Stephen:
And after you were done with it, he's walking and he's like in marathons only. Oh, yeah.

Nina Simmons:
So I've seen some amazing recoveries from brain injuries in patients that couldn't even sit up to people holding them up, you know, leave the rehab gym, they leading the unit walking. That shows that our brain has the potential to recover from a lot of trauma. So it never give up on your kid.

Osiris Stephen:
No, I don't think any parent. Once we give up on a child, now, don't think that this is it. You know, there's always some room for improvement.

Osiris Stephen:
Always is, I think is more upsetting to the parent. It really is. You know what is not I think I know is up to the parent because your child's depend on you. You guys set the table, the standards or situation for where you can help your child develop and is high. Especially you got to work, you got financials, you got the relationship, you got all these things.

Osiris Stephen:
But if everything around you is about that child's development, it will come together. And it's like you put that game plan. You know, you have family and friends that come over like a spit of time myself, you know, help them. You know, what it's like for our family. I tell my my brothers and sisters, hey, will you guys come over? I want you spend time with my son. But at the same time, I want you to teach him something different. That just is not that he just sees us all the time. He gets something from his aunt and uncle's in his godfather and his godmother. You know, he gets a different experience. And then he could add that to his repertoire. And this is in his development. That helps me.

Osiris Stephen:
Id like to say it takes a community to build a child. And it comes from this situation like this as well.

Nina Simmons:
Yeah, definitely. It just gotta keep working with your child and try to figure out how they learn. I think that's also was a.

Osiris Stephen:
Oh, yes.

Osiris Stephen:
More to the point where he was intending to take him to the next level here as a boy. But that Cosby was spending time with a child to watch him observe. You give him certain situations to be in, you know, given things. I mean. And what's happened with Aiden?

Osiris Stephen:
I wasn't too sure if you could call at a net crawl, but to get out of a crib, because, you know, you watched YouTube channel.

Osiris Stephen:
You see kids escape from the crib. And I would watch 8:00 and try to get out. And I'm like, OK, I got to help him do it the right way. So a little bit.

Osiris Stephen:
Teach him how to get his right leg over that, his leg, leg, follow his hands, hold on to one part of the upper part of the bed and then have him slide down Cotai as he did escape on his own. He did turn out right.

Osiris Stephen:
You know, you hear the screaming in the background coming out of the hallway.

Osiris Stephen:
I fell on the bed and nobody came out. But I think were kids. Is, you know, does they see the children that they need that support? They need that training. You know, you you have to look at your child as an athlete preparing for their professional or their sport.

Osiris Stephen:
And you help them exercise. You develop a game plan, right? Definitely. You were scheduled to like you can't just be all exercise. I mean, it's a learning process and exercise. But there's also the parts of the reading, the writing, even if the child is just have them hold certain things, because I think, you know, it goes along the line of, you know, occupational therapy. You use your hands, your fingers and your motor skills and doing that.

Nina Simmons:
Yes. So. We figured out the eight and needed a lot of repetition. Yeah, a lot. I mean, a lot of repetition.

Nina Simmons:
So we taught him his all his letters or his sounds, which is like musically. All we did all day.

Osiris Stephen:
It meant we would have that YouTube on each of us so long just to work it out how he learned.

Nina Simmons:
So I started teaching him the letters sounds to movement. I figured out I was excellent. Move me in. Some kids are special needs. They learn to move back. So Aiden's is one of those. So I taught him letters. Sounds like pairing a letter with a motion.

If you guys and I show what that is, just look it up on YouTube.

Nina Simmons:
So the things I need to add one thing. Another reason why I knew that that is really important is at one time we were at the park and even said a sentence. Wow. Moving. So I realized there's a connection between the brain and our physical abilities. So I knows that kids tend to say a lot of their first words by walking when they're walking or aiding was more vocal when he was at home, when he was moving and he's at the park.

Osiris Stephen:
You know, one of the things I started doing with him was as he walked down the stairs out count, I would have asked about this.

Nina Simmons:
I would ask myself and it. Yeah.

Osiris Stephen:
Yeah. What step are you on? One, two, three. As we go all the way down, up to 40 and then do the same coming up.

Osiris Stephen:
And then times I would change and where I would count up the first 10 steps and then started again or then I would just count all the way through. And he remembers and now he started doing on his own. Are you with the same thing? I was counting on his own, which is amazing to catch. I think every parent I mean, every I was they say every opportunity is a learning moment, basically. And so do you transition that into your personal life?

Osiris Stephen:
You know, your child like if you're in a room with a child.

Osiris Stephen:
And they haven't. Probably just point out certain things. This cabinet is a glass, so refrigerator. This is a floor. You know those things. You know, one of the things that we did was put. What is it?

Osiris Stephen:
Just basically sheets of paper lining out what it was, so a label that we labels not labelling of us as we labeled everything. So the door.

Osiris Stephen:
The kitchen. The bathroom. This sink, the mirror, the window, the shades. So every time he looked up, he saw something. And we would measure all you looking at this shade, be looking at the floor.

Osiris Stephen:
This is a TV. All those things is a phone. So and then we repeat it constant. So when he started actually speaking, you would know what they were?

Nina Simmons:
Yeah. A lot. I mean, you're responsible for your child, even though in it get therapy in. And he has a teacher. We don't depend on any one else to educate our child. Not at all.

Osiris Stephen:
Because. Because there's only like, what, 30 minutes a session? Yeah. I mean, he's in school all day, too. But at the same time, I don't depend on the teachers. I did. It's on us. It's on us. Yeah. Because he spends most of his time with us, actually. So you can't. You always have a Dena. don't depend on the therapies. You have to do your own research, research. And also doing that. You're helping them. Yeah. So they can go to school. They have a therapy. But also you have to have the time when they are learning from their mom or dad, grandma that he's at uncles. It's a family that has a family affair. Especially if you have an baby sitter, have the baby sitter get involved as well.

Osiris Stephen:
If you get in therapy at home, you know, set something together, pretty much like a schedule like this is the things we expect is the things that need to be done. These things I want to do and will follow up because it's so important. Every day you just every minute every second is so important. And so you can measure every day is like a it can be, it can be and will be a lot. But the end result is something amazing when you see them wake up to you like, wow. And you know, you're going to just basically stadiums off like all the hard work is starting to pay off.

Nina Simmons:
So I was I have a question for you. Really?

Osiris Stephen:
Boy. Here we go. So are we done? Is that what you say? May not go right into the question.

Nina Simmons:
You were also going through your own health issues, this lead when Aiden was going to his peak of seizures.

Osiris Stephen:
He would say basically. So two to three days after I came out of the hospital.

Nina Simmons:
Yeah. So we never really discussed that.

Osiris Stephen:
I don't think it's something that we wanted to talk. I think we were ready to talk.

Nina Simmons:
It was a lot. It was a lot.

Osiris Stephen:
And then and it started before he was diagnosed with epilepsy. So this was something that was going on for about at least four months, leading up four to five months leading up. Yeah. So December, January going into that year.

Nina Simmons:
So do you want to kind of do a Q and A with me next episode just to get a feeling, just to know what you were going through at the time.

Nina Simmons:
So we're going to do this here. You never asked me.

Nina Simmons:
So you want to do this next episode? You want to do this? Yeah. Why not? You want to know the truth? I guess so. You can't handle the truth. We'll find out. I will. OK. I'm excited. Really? Well, I wish say excited. I don't think I would use that word cure. It's more like nervous. Yeah. Nervous laugh there.

Osiris Stephen:
That was a little it there was a lot going on that I was even aware of. But yeah, I will show it. I will share with you the things that was going on there because it was a I would have to say. It was scary, to say the least. It was scary. Yeah. Take a deep breath. You're gonna probably need to get that pen ready because there's gonna be a lot to take in. All right. Thank you, everyone, for listening in for another episode.

Osiris Stephen:
We want to see you basically say we look forward to hearing guys from you guys. And we look forward to getting any responses positive nega whatever the case may be or even topics that you guys think that we should talk about.

Osiris & Nina:
But we'd love the feedback. We love the connection. And you would hope that we're helping people out there as well. Just to give him some insight to what they're going through and lo know that in now alone, not alone. It's it's it's a we thing at this point. We all went through it. All right. So everyone take care, Chow.

Osiris & Nina:
Bye. Thanks for tuning in to another episode of Love and Cannabis and Dena. More Cyrus. And we're the proud parents of A and B strong and stay empowered.

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