Search & Replace Episode S01E15: Karese Laguerre

Karese Laguerre’s life changed after a trip to the pediatric dentist. There, she learned the way her children had been sleeping was affecting every aspect of their wellness. Her children struggled for years with ADHD, night terrors, and ear infections. At the dentist, Karese uncovered a process called myofunctional therapy that improved her four children’s health, mood, and behavior. Inspired by what she learned, Karese went to work for that dentist and is now a Registered Dental Hygienist, Orofacial Myologist, and The Myo Spot founder, a leader in the quest for myofunctional therapy awareness and public education. Find out how you can spot the same sleeping patterns in your children on Search and Replace.

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Announcer: [00:00:00] Support for the following podcast is provided by the user experience specialists at Johns and Taylor. More information follows this episode. 
Joe Taylor: [00:00:11] What if you could trace the mood of your family's most persistent health problems to the way you breathe? I'm Joe Taylor, Jr. This is Search and Replace.
Remember all those times when you're growing up and you ended up in the doctor's office or the principal's office, and your parents just had to learn to roll with it, whatever it was. It's pretty typical for parents to get accustomed to the problems that crop up in their kids' lives. And whether they get used to them, or maybe they're a little embarrassing, most parents don't talk about them as much as you might think. Karese Laguerre is here to remind us that talking about our problems is often the best way to find a surprising solution. She's the parent of four children, her oldest boy and three girls. And she discovered that some of the challenges her kids faced as they got older, all shared one surprising thing in common.
Karese Laguerre: [00:01:05] As a parent we go through things with our kids, but usually we don't talk about it very often. And that was commonly the case with me. I had my son that he had issues with ADHD. He had behavioral issues. We were, like, in and out of the principal's office. That was fun. And my next oldest child, my daughter, she had every sleep issue under the sun. You name it, she did it. From snoring at night, grinding at night, all the way through sleep walking at night terrors. And then my younger two had all sorts of issues with recurrent infections of the throat and the ears. And so we were on like, my husband likes to say, we should have just gotten a keg of amoxicillin.
So, we had all these things going on in the house. And nobody likes to talk about that. Cause it makes you feel like a failure as the parent. And the pediatrician just said, it's all common. And that's very true. It's very common, but common can't be our reason to be complacent about things. 
So, I went to a pediatric dentist with the children and I happened to start working for her. And in talking with her, it turned out that a lot of the things that they were suffering from really all stem from the way they were breathing and the way they were using their mouth, I should say. Dysfunctions, essentially, in the oral cavity and that manifested in so many different things in these children. But it's definitely been a journey.
And I would absolutely say that my ability to overlook and stop being complacent has been the best thing that's ever happened to us. 
Joe Taylor: [00:02:38] Uncovering the common issue affecting her kids didn't immediately relieve Karese of her concerns though. 
Karese Laguerre: [00:02:44] To uncover that, that it was something that I could do something about felt empowering. It felt very much, oh yes, now I know what I can do and I need to be a champion and a hero for my child. But the other side of it was, like, how did I missed this for so long? I guess my youngest, at that time, was probably around- I don't know- I want to say three. But the oldest was around 13. So for all these years I've been a mother through 13, 14 years at that point. And I missed all of these things in these children. So such a double-edged sword. 
Joe Taylor: [00:03:19] Preventing other people from missing those warning signs is Karese's profession now. Already an experienced registered dental hygienist, Karese started practicing myofunctional therapy. She's like a physical therapist for your face, muscle and neck. And usually the hardest resistance she helps her clients face isn't physical, it's mental. 
Karese Laguerre: [00:03:40] Through that wall of things that we don't like to talk about is tough. And there's a lot of resistance because when you spend so long not talking about something, especially when it comes to your children and their health, when somebody else brings it up you immediately want to become defensive. Right?
So if I am seeing a child now and I'm saying to the parent, this is what I'm seeing and it looks like they might be struggling with their sleep. How is their sleep? The first thing that I'll get back is a defensive answer -- sleep is fine. They've never had a problem with sleep. But I get that because I've been there.
And as far as me sharing my story, I'm very open with that. And I think once I do it brings other people's walls down to know, okay you went through this. You have four instances of children going through these things and their walls start falling down. So it's definitely helpful to have gone through it when I'm speaking to others, because that wall is so tall, it's so tall. 
Joe Taylor: [00:04:40] Because her specialty is not yet very well known in the United States, Karese also has to invest time to get her clients to buy in to what she's asking them to do. 
Karese Laguerre: [00:04:49] You get the most resistance when it's something that they haven't ever heard of before. And it's something that's not as crazy. I'm not like a witch woman coming out of the woodwork with, like, magic herbs from fair and distant lands. When you're talking to somebody about, and you're trying to get them to start incorporating and making changes in their lifestyle, it's hard. It's hard to commit to that type of thing, because we're also busy. Right? Everybody's busy. Everybody has things to do. We're here, there, and everywhere. And so it's hard to set aside 10 minutes of your day to try to establish a new routine so that you can get yourself ready and that to achieve those goals that you've been trying to make. 
So biggest part is overcoming hurdles with not wanting to make the time, not being willing to really commit and jump in to anything that will change the routine and make things different. 
Joe Taylor: [00:05:41] Karese says there's one thing to watch for that could indicate potential problems for your infant or small child.
Karese Laguerre: [00:05:48] Snoring is never normal. But in infants, I think people find it adorable and cute. And I think we need a lot more research for it, but I'm very convinced that since we only found pediatric obstructive sleep apnea in 1976, that we haven't made enough connections. But I believe that there could be very much a connection between SIDS and pediatric obstructive sleep apnea. So I think it's very important to recognize that snoring, it's not adorable. It's not cute. It's the body's cry for help. And please get help. 
That's author and myofunctional therapist, Karese Laguerre. She's the founder of The Myo Spot. And her book is called "Accomplished: How to Sleep Better, Eliminate Burnout and Execute Goals."
We've got links to all of Karese's resources on how to breathe better over on our website,
Joe Taylor: [00:06:46] Search and Replace was produced by Nicole Hubbard with support from Christine Benton, Connie Evans, Amelia Lohmann, April Smith, and Executive Producer Lori Taylor. Our theme music was composed by Alex Dufire. I'm Joe Taylor, Jr.
Announcer: [00:07:04] This has been a Podcast Taxi radio production. 
Support for Search and Replace is provided by Johns and Taylor, user experience specialists serving media and technology companies that want their websites to work. Learn more about how top performing businesses eliminate barriers between customers and their goals at

Joe Taylor Jr. has produced stories about media, technology, entertainment, and personal finance for over 25 years. His work has been featured on NPR, CNBC, Financial Times Television, and ABC News. After launching one of public radio's first successful digital platforms, Joe helped dozens of client companies launch or migrate their online content libraries. Today, Joe serves as a user experience consultant for a variety of Fortune 500 and Inc. 5000 businesses. Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

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