You may remember that I, Sugah, have been reading/researching the brain’s role in the symptoms our children our experiencing in the multitude of childhood developmental diagnoses. Previous journey blog posts can be found here, please read A New Journey, The Journey Continues and Brain Function Deficits.
I have decided to take my children to the closest Brain Balance Achievement Center for an evaluation. This is not going to be easy as the closest center is 3 hours away. However, after reviewing all the programs available my opinion is that the Brain Balance Program is the most complete option as of right now. It not only covers cognitive training but also sensory motor training as well. They incorporate special diet and a supplemental regimen in order to reduce inflammation providing for an optimal environmental in which to grow new neural connections. And that is the goal. To grow new neural connections so the brain can function the way it was intended.
I have found some reputable cognitive training facilities close to where I live, however, I have decided that cognitive-only training will not work for my children. I think a cognitive only training facility would work well for a child who is ONLY experiencing cognitive delays…with no other delays. But that is not my child. He has sensory issues. He doesn’t like loud noises and has a hard time ‘keeping it together’ in loud, noisy places. He has anxiety. He flaps. Et cetera.
Our brains are connected like a big bowl of gluten free spaghetti. The different areas of our brains are connected together in a highly complex web of neural connections. Proper functioning is dependent on each portion of the brain communicating to the other portions at the same speed and timing. Dysfunction occurs when communication is poor (out of synch or rhythm) either between the two hemispheres of the brain or the communication is poor within a given hemisphere. Each section of the brain is responsible for managing certain bodily functions and is interconnected to all the other parts of the brain around it. If one part of the brain is impaired, it is likely that other parts of the brain that are close by are also impaired to some degree or another. Brain Balance understands the inter-relational nature of brain connectivity and communication and their program functions to restore proper brain communication. Their program works to improve communication/connectivity within the whole brain…as opposed to just one portion.
Cognitive only training facilities assume our brains are like waffles. It assumes that each portion of the brain functions separately and distinctly from surrounding areas of the brain like a waffle square. They assume that you can pick out one portion of the brain and exercise it to improve its functioning. You can focus only on improving the cognitive functioning of a child and he/she can realize significant cognitive improvements. However, if the areas surrounding the cognitive are of the brain are also impaired, it is likely that the cognitive benefits received from cognitive only training will fade over time. This is because the areas surrounding the cognitive area will continue to communicate/function at a lower level and will eventually pull the cognitive functioning down to their level. Thus the cognitive improvements will eventually fade unless the cognitive training is continued for a lifetime.
I hope you are enjoying this journey. I’m going to call and schedule the evaluations this week. I’ll let you know how it goes.
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We started Brain Balance with my son (age 12) in mid-March. Within one month I noticed that he could button his dress shirt on Easter faster and easier than he’s ever done it! I also had started to notice he seemed happier. After we do the home exercises or the session at Brain Balance he can get very giddy, sings a lot more, and a little hyper but in a good way. After his initial evaluation it was determined his left hemisphere of his brain was less developed than his right. Which was OPPOSITE of what I expected due to his diagnosis. (Aspergers, ADD, Anxiety). It even surprised the Director of BB. She said she double checked all the test they did during evaluation to make sure it was correct, and it was. Even paperwork that I filled out indicated LEFT hemisphere was less developed. So we began the sessions and exercises at home. He had his first assessment to check progress and he’s really moving along and went up in numerous areas. The staff here in Pittsburgh is GREAT!
My son was angry a lot before we started. His anxiety was nuts and I was basically on speed dial at school! He never knew why he was angry. Neither did we. We have been GFCF for a while now and saw some improvements. When we went to BB we also learned he was sensitive to eggs.
About a week or so ago we were driving home after a session and my son looked at me and said, “I think Brain Balance is working, Mom.” I asked, “Why?” He said, “I feel happy!”. That brought tears to my eyes. He wasn’t always “unhappy” but even he is noticing changes in how HE feels, that makes me smile.
His muscle tone is getting better. He picked up the 4 year old I babysit and asked, “Did he lose weight?” I said, “NO, You’re getting stronger!”. He walked around picking up things that seemed heavy to him before and now they were light! I’m so glad we found Brain Balance! This is definitely a part of the puzzle for us. We heard Dr. Melillo (founder of BB) speak when he was here in Pittsburgh and he mentioned 60 BB centers are opening this year!
Reading Disconnected Kids by Dr. Melillo helped me really understand what they do at BB. He even tells you how do do an assessment and do the exercises etc. at home, if there isn’t a center near you!
Just wondering if there is any update on your Brain Balance experience?? Very interested in hearing about it. My son had an evaluation done there, but he is not a candidate at this time, we are going to work on some things they suggested for the next few months and then go back again for a re-evaluation. How did your children respond to it?
I came across your BLOG because of a link I saw on FB. I was very fascinated by Brain Balance. I looked them up and there is one about 20 minutes from us. I had never heard of them before. I watched the video of Dr. Melillo speaking at an Autism One conference. I called our local BB and we are going on the 12th to their informational meeting to hear more about what they do. The doctor that I spoke with talked to me on the phone for 1/2 hour. I can’t wait to go. I will figure out how to pay for it. I feel that I have to try this for my son! Thanks for blogging. Thanks for sharing your journey.
Oh…Brain Balance was a game changer for us! It’s tons of work, but so worth it! See my blog entry about BB and our tremendous success with it! http://autismroadtorecovery.blogspot.com/2012/03/dream-big.html
We did Brain Balance with our son and saw big improvements mostly in the gross motor and sensory processing areas. Although I believe it was a huge leap forward for our son it did not take away his anxiety or his flapping…just our experience. Also, when I first tried to start him on the program I was told he “wasn’t ready” ( basically he was too far gone)! A year later with tons of work and supplementation he shocked them and completed the program in one session (3 month long sessions) instead of the 3-4 sessions they thought he would need. Be ready for a lot of work but also a lot of gain. Good luck!
I really thought from the spaghetti picture that this post was going to be about parasites LOL!
Coincidence abounds–just did a blog post today on our experience with this kind of neurological rehab work. We found a local chiropractic neurology practice to work with. http://www.RecoveryRd.wordpress.com
Two thumbs way up!
We started seeing a practitioner (in my town) who has combined chiro/diet/neurological integrative movements. I am soooooo happy so far with the results. My son is a serial scripter and at 10 years of age, it’s not going to lead to further language/communication as most previous professionals assured me it would. Our new practitioner thinks that my son is probably 90% auditory in how he interacts with the world (and all this time I thought he had an auditory processing delay). He uses the scripts as a memory ‘peg’ of sorts – to interpret and interact with the world. His visual system is not developed and we’re working now on strengthening and developing that. So far: better transitions, more spontaneous speech, looking at the pages of books and studying the pictures, emerging pretend/play skills, bringing up events of the past (from several years ago!), less rigid about routines.
I tried a couple of times to get my son into some vision therapy but the Dr.s didn’t think he was ‘high-functioning’ enough for them to work with him. I can’t begin to express how thrilled I am at what this brain training is doing. Nor can I express how blessed I feel to have a practitioner who is excited, curious and determined to help unlock/unchain my son’s brain and to help him have a greater quality of life. We work together to modify the exercises and she changes things on the fly – which is exactly what our kids need!!
Sugah I hope you experience amazing things 🙂
Thank you, thank you, thank you! This is one of the last parts of our journey as well & I had no idea that this company’s protocol was so well rounded! We have one 30 mins away from home. I’m calling today!
By cognitive only training do you mean neurofeedback? We’ve been doing neuro for 2 months and I can’t say I’ve seen anything positive.
I wasn’t specifically talking about neurofeedback….but I did find the following on eeginfo.com with regard to neurofeedback.
“Matters are different when we are dealing with degenerative conditions like Parkinson’s or the dementias, or when we are working against continuing insults to the system, as may be the case in the autism spectrum. In such cases the training needs to be continued at some level over time.”
Would love to hear your experience… We are trying Neurofeedback but pausing in trying an amino acid protocol to help build up neurotransmitters in the brain… I guess that be the waffle approach indicated…
Seems brainbalance centers isn’t even an option since they don’t take lower functioning children is the unfortunate end of the spectrum we are at.
Shawna. My closest center (90 mins) just sent out an announcement they are offering a new program for kids not quite ready for the main protocol. Check with your closest center.
AWESOME!!!!!!! You are going for initial evaluations, and we are finishing our post-evaluations! I am REALLY hoping to have some inspiring news to share with you soon. xoxox