Amy Spoelstra, D.C., graduated from Sherman in 2008 but hadn’t been back in several years before Lyceum 2019, where along with Steve Tullius, D.C., she gave a seminar entitled “Clarity, Confidence, Certainty and Simplicity in Helping Pediatric and Neurodevelopmental Disorder Populations.”
An emerging speaker on pediatric neurology topics, Spoelstra, who now lives in Coeur d’Alene, ID, is following a path that grew out of family challenges. She had no background in chiropractic and didn’t know how to incorporate her theories with chiropractic, but she knew that dealing with children with neurological issues through chiropractic was something she was interested in pursuing.
Spoelstra and her husband, David, met while they were attending Michigan State University where she was studying business and considering a career as an attorney. She learned about chiropractic through a friend. After working as a chiropractic assistant with Linda Rassal, D.C., a graduate of Palmer College, Spoelstra decided to attend Sherman because of the college’s philosophy.
After she graduated from Sherman, the couple relocated to Coeur d’Alene, where David worked as a logistics manager for a corporation in Spokane Valley and later played a role in creating a fully visual K-12 school curriculum and she opened Spoelstra Family Chiropractic.
Spoelstra came to understand that there are so many stressors that impact the development of the nervous system, particularly in children. After years of talking, she and her husband formalized the FOCUS program, a Neuro-Deflective Retraining Method that she opened within her practice, and David became the first full-time FOCUS coach and trainer, helping to grow a program that has expanded in scope over the past six years.
Through FOCUS, she has been helping children and adults with neurodevelopment disorders since 2011. And through FOCUS Educational Services, they also train and consult with other doctors around the country in the FOCUS model. She knew the main challenge would be to teach other chiropractors how to combine chiropractic with an understanding of brain development.
During the eight years since she opened her practice, Spoelstra has presented to sold-out seminars and is gratified to hear that chiropractors who follow her model are having results. Most important to her, though, is encouraging others to learn to bridge the gap between principled chiropractic and brain development.
In pursuit of her interest in brain development, Spoelstra completed extensive post-doctoral training in pediatric chiropractic and has contributed to the Practice-Based Research Network with the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association. She is also working with New Zealand College of Chiropractic to publish case studies from within her practice on pediatric chiropractic and is a member of the Australian Spinal Research Foundation, the International Pediatric Chiropractic Association, and the International Federation of Chiropractors and Organizations.
As co-founder of Navigate Your Healing, LLC, an online platform which Spoelstra said is “designed to help parents and families who are affected by ASD and other neurodevelopmental disorders navigate the overwhelming and often isolating world of healing and living life with children with developmental challenges,” she has become a sought-after speaker.
Her large practice, with seven employees, including one other chiropractor, keeps her busy. Add in the job of being mother to four-year-old Meela and a chocolate lab named Izzy, as well as the constant travel presenting seminars all over the country, and it’s clear that Spoelstra is driven.
“One thing that will always remain is my commitment and excitement to provide the best care possible and to teach others how to make a great contribution to the world,” Spoelstra said of the gratitude she feels for being able to live a life of purpose and love with her family.