Monday, October 28, 2013

Day 35: Improvements Continue (with Creeper Rewards?)

Taz excitedly got into the car after our 15th session today at Brain Balance.

"I got to pick out a pumpkin and write my name on it, and drew a drawing of a Creeper on it, like a Jack-O-Lantern today!  Miss Kelly wants to see my flowers from MineCraft, too.  Can we print them off the computer and take them to Brain Balance next time?"

"What was the Pumpkin for?" I asked.

"I moved up to "Level E"  in Drawing Conclusions in the Cognitive Room Today." was the reply.   He was happy, and proud of himself.  He feels good about his work, and his improvements.  He is also grateful that he has taken the last of the Supplement "Tumero Active K-75," the orange supplement that I initially sprayed all over the countertop, cabinets, and wall on that first day of Supplement Taking so long ago.  My, that was ages ago...

In "those days, supplement taking was nearly worse than pulling a tooth.  Now I simply pour them, sit them on the counter, and Taz takes them.  He does hold his nose, though.  He says it cuts the nasty taste.  We are at the beginning of week 5, so the Leaky Gut should be long gone, like the black circles that used to be under Taz's eyes. 

Today's Report Card
 from Brain Balance

We still use the Reward system, and are implementing some other helpful strategies gleaned from Dr. Melillo's 2nd Book, "Re-Connected Kids."  And Taz still suffers occasional meltdowns, but I would describe them as "fits" rather than full blown, hour long tantrums as in the past.  He used to have 2-3 per week, but our average is one a month now. 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Day 34: Nothing Happens by Chance

As I reflect on this thought, that there are no coincidences... I realize that God called us to move 1,100 miles across the country a year and a half ago for many reasons.  It just so happens that Brain Balance is one of them.   In 2009, I found and read "Disconnected Kids" for the first time.   This was when Taz was in First Grade, and had begun to have challenges in the classroom.  His teacher was often absent, and the class was lead for the first semester primarily by an inexperienced Student Teacher. 

Many bad habits developed, and Taz became a "problem" in the classroom.  He was unafraid of the Teacher, and as a result, she displayed anger towards him, often sending him to the Principal's office, or out in the hallway, or to the Guidance Counselor's Office.  He began to see himself as "the bad kid" in the class.   Other kids made fun of him, and one day, a larger boy from his class was found on top of him at recess, holding Taz down while another boy kicked him.  I am sure he gave them reason to dislike him, but to abuse in this way was unacceptable.  The three boys were called into the office, and all 3 were punished equally.  I began to look for a way out for Taz, a new school, or perhaps homeschooling.  We received no encouragement or help from the private school he was attending, only words such as, "He is manipulative, he is too loud, he won't sit still, he is difficult."   It still makes me sick to remember this horrible time in our lives. 

Of course, we felt forced to have him tested, with the result of a diagnosis of ADHD with a touch of ODD.   I remember telling the Psychologist who did some of the testing about Dr. Melillo's book and his work with children with similar challenges.  None of the "experts" would acknowledge Dr. Melillo's work, just faced me with a blank smile, then changed the subject.  The same reaction came from the First Grade Teacher, the Principal, the Guidance Counselor, and the Pediatrician.  They acted as though I was speaking Greek when it came to Functional Disconnection Syndrome.  But it made perfect sense to me. 
Medication was necessary, according to the experts. 
The first medication (Focalin 20 mgs) caused Taz to stay awake for 36 hours straight.  It's true, he was incredibly focused during those hours, but his emotions were a wreck, with bouts of laughing and then crying, cutting up every piece of paper in the house into small pieces, then crafting them into large mosaics.  I remember it like a Nightmare just happening.  It was physically and emotionally painful to have to experience it with him. I still wonder what it might have done to the poor child's brain. 
 As a result of this reaction to the medication, we were instructed to slowly & methodically  try medication after medication, so after 5 different meds, the Pediatrician finally decided that simply Ritalin 10 mg with 5mg "bolus" 12 noon would do the trick to get him through school.
I learned to dread the 4:00 crash that was  routinely experienced around 4pm every day, and we would skip the meds on the weekends, avoiding the "Tazmania-crash"  that occurred about 4 hours after the last dose.
And so began my plan, to move closer to my parents home, where there was a Brain Balance Center close by.  I had read of mothers bringing their children from as far as Australia and England to the USA to be treated, and other mothers had rented apartments and relocated to Atlanta to put their children into Brain Balance Programs.    I will never regret moving.  I only wish I had removed Taz from the uneducated school system earlier. 
 He went to public school for one semester before we moved (fall of second grade), and, surprisingly, he was selected to be "Student of the Month" the second month he was enrolled. 


This was eye opening, the teacher seemed to adore him, and he had NO academic problems, followed the rules well, and never was sent out into the hallway, let alone sent to the principal's office!  It was the difference between night and day from his previous school experience. 
This photo is of a Science Event we hosted, inviting any kid in Taz's Second Grade Class to  come to our home to perform Science Experiments.  It was a huge hit... Every boy in the class came, as well as some of the girls.  I was happy!   What a difference!  But Taz still was having meltdowns, and temper tantrums that made me think he acted as though he was 2 years old. 
But thankfully, Taz's fellow students seemed to like him, he was invited to everyone's Birthday Parties, and had quite a few play dates during the first semester here in our new school (after moving).   I began to feel more confident as a Mother, like maybe I did have some clue, unlike my insecure thoughts everytime I was even near the old, Private School he had attended in K and first grade.
Looking back, I remember, there really are NO COINCIDENCES!  "Disconnected Kids" really made lots of sense to me, so I decided to pursue the opportunity to participate in the program.  We scraped and saved every dime, and it took a year.  Taz had come so far, but we wanted to give him EVERY chance... to balance his brain.  And that is our story, how we came to enroll in the Brain Balance Program.  With tears and smiles and fears and hopes, we are confidently moving onward with this opportunity!  And we thank God for bringing us this far!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Day 33: News Flash: There no longer IS an "Asberger's Syndrome" reports latest research

Just happened to read the latest in Research...

Until May 22, with the official release of the DSM-5, Asperger's was considered related to but distinct from autism. DSM-5 contains a new disorder that replaces both the old autistic disorder and Asperger's:

 It is called autism spectrum disorder.

The new autism spectrum disorder criteria include impaired social communication or social reciprocity, which could mean difficulty making eye contact, a lack of facial expression or no interest in one's peers.

Peculiar behaviors or interests — technically described as "restricted, repetitive" in the DSM-5 — make up the second criterion. These could include hand flapping, insistence on a strict routine or a fixation on a specific subject, such as trains.

This change made to diagnoses of autism and Asperger's has been among the highest profile and most controversial in the new DSM-5.

Somebody tell all of the "Aspies" out there... they are no longer "Aspies."  It just shows us how much the so called 'experts' do NOT know.    I smell a money problem...  for instance, look at this statement from a study, published in April 2012,  using a preliminary version of the new DSM-5 autism spectrum criteria.  They reported finding about 75 percent of patients who had been diagnosed with Asperger's under the old criteria would no longer qualify for a diagnosis, raising the possibility that they could lose access to services, such as special education in schools.

The "experts" who revised the DSM-5 have disagreed with the study's findings, saying the revision will not substantially alter the prevalence of autism, which has been increasing.   Unlike most people diagnosed with autism under the old DSM criteria, those diagnosed with Asperger's could generally function independently, because they could communicate adequately. Even so, aspects of their social skills might be impaired.

For instance, while many people are not gifted conversationalists, someone with Asperger's may continue talking about a favorite subject for some time, remaining oblivious to his listener's loss of interest by missing cues of disinterest that someone without the disorder would catch, said Robin Rosenberg, a clinical psychologist and co-author of the psychology textbook "Abnormal Psychology"(Worth Publishers, 2009).

Meanwhile, the old autism diagnosis could entail more severe problems, such as a lack of speech or abnormal use of language.

The new autism spectrum disorder also encompasses a condition in the old DSM called pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS). This catchall category applied to people whose impairments didn't quite meet with the criteria for autism or Asperger's.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Day 32: The Controversy surrounding Brain Balance

A friend brought a huge bag of Organic Apples
to the school today.
I looked up some Gluten Free pie Crust recipes.
Can't wait to have the Pie for dessert tonight...
I have been reading the book, "Re-connected Kids."  I started to become concerned that we wouldn't be close to the level of recovery I had thought Taz would be by the end of our 12 week session in this program.  The book really is a good read, and it gives more behavioral modification ideas which are useful for us right now.  And in reading it, I realized that there will be much more modification needed to help Taz recover from the ravages of this spectrum disease.  I shudder to think of the ways I unknowingly contributed to it... immunizations (5 in one day at age 15 months, not to mention giving him the Hep B at the premie age of 7 days, born at 35 weeks).  I could go on an on, but this is for another day's post.
At this point in our therapy, I have discovered that there are those out there who hate the Program.  Although they know precious little about it, they are convinced that it is Quackery, and are loudly proclaiming such to me and to others who know better.  The worst offenders are those who have similar programs, who stand to lose if Brain Balance is successful.  This saddens me.  Why not work together for the good of the children who so desperately are in need, instead of hacking away at something that make sense and is effectively working?


To the questioning moms and dads reading this blog, and to keep it simple...if you are intrigued or even interested in the program, check out the book "Disconnected Kids" at the library, and read it. This will cost you nothing but the time it takes to pick it up and read it.  Isn't your child's life worth this much, at the very least? 

There is MUCH criticism of the Brain Balance Program out there on the internet.  I spent a year saving up so that Taz could experience the program, and did TONS of research during that year to make sure we weren't being Duped.  In the end, what sold me 100% on the Program were the Parent's comments... such as this one: says:
"As a parent who has had a child in the Brain Balance Center program, I challenge anyone who is skeptical to put a child through the program before you make comments. Within the first month, my 6 year old daughter not only could read for the first time but was excited about reading and school. She even brought a Dr. Suess book into the center to read to the teacher , that is how proud she was! Before the program, my daughter had no social skills and no friends. She now has girls in her grade coming up to her to be her friend. She was withdrawn and “in a shell”. She is now happy and outgoing, connecting to others for the very first time. I would have spent $100,000 to have a happy, well adjusted child; $6000 seems like the deal of a lifetime!"

I agree with Shelley above.  Dr. Melillo has given us all the tools to do our own assessments, to start our own program at home, with the cost being about $11 on Amazon (if you decide to buy the book).   If you want more, go to an information session and ask lots of tough questions. Just like everything else, this program is a fit for some and not a fit for others, but to our family has been more than worth it.  We have seen more changes in the short 4 weeks than in any of the programs we have utilized before.  These included:  Play Attention, Martial Arts, Occupational Therapy for Handwriting, Independent work with a Special needs "specialist."

Shine a Light for Helping the Children!

More arguments FOR Brain Balance:
Martha R. Herbert, MD, PhD, Harvard Medical Professor and neurologist at Mass General Hospital stated regarding a common mechanism in autism, ”some kind of abnormality in brain connectivity-i.e. the structural and/or functional factors related to brain connections and coordination.” Problems with connectivity in the brain is the mainstream scientific model. Other researchers have demonstrated “cortical underconnectivity” in autism and other learning disorders: Just, Koshino, Villalobos, Castelli and Herbert to name a few. Other research findings into ADHD have demonstrated right hemisphere deficits on fMRI and others have theorized a decrease in inhibitory activity as a result of diminished frontal lobe activity.
Your attack on the website’s list of environmental factors also demonstrates your almost absent knowledge of current studies in this field. There have been recent studies that have drawn a direct connection between watching TV and attention deficit and a more limited vocabulary. One study that found a link between attention deficit and TV involved 2600 toddlers between the ages of one and three. Furthermore, the Academy of American Pediatrics recommends no TV for children under the age of two.
  Obviously this pertains to sedentary activities and learning difficulties.
Research into epigenetics using Agouti mice and historical research on behaviors of populations in Sweden have demonstrated that the manifestation of behaviors can be passed onto your offspring for up to four generations. This has obvious implications with regards to our behaviors around the current use of digital technologies. ADHD expert and Harvard psychiatrist, Edward Hallowell, MD has linked the rise in ADHD and the electronic media.
Finally, all the other critics should just look around at the “accepted” treatment for the conditions. All require spending money. You could take drugs but then you have side effects and not all people respond to the drugs. But the benefit of the drug only lasts for a few hours. You have to keep taking it. It doesn’t cure the problem. There are schools that charge up to $80,000 per year for helping children with these disorders.

I have a daughter who is now 22. But we spent more on a educational consultation than the brain balance program costs. That is not to mention the special school we put her in. And she was not cured of her program.

Would you call that “fraudulent?”

You bloggers out there should do some real homework before you spread your negativity about a program that has helped many families.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Day 31: Taz Studying Schoolwork: On meds vs. off meds

"always attentive and
tries his hardest,
working on an essay...
Moved up a level in 7 Physical Activities"

Studying for Bible Verse
Taz has a Memory Verse test at his school
every Friday

He does very well with simple memorization

Thursday Night is crunch night if he has not worked on the
memory work a little per day
Just a little observation regarding studying (memorization) at night when all ADHD medication has worn off.  Taz seems to be able to still focus on the work without meds.  He is still very active, moving around and louder in the evenings when all medication has subsided effectiveness.  But he seems to be able to calm himself enough to study effectively.  This is a positive change, and one noted after the onset of our Brain balance program.
Here are a few other pictures of scenes around our home: 
Organic Tomatoes grown in our Garden this summer.


Working on the Johnson 18 Jet power -  putting the Jet Pump back together
(main drive shaft bearing and water pump and seal were faulty)



Susquehanna River
New Cumberland Area
Fishing Trip 

Sample Moro Reflex



Sausage and Burger mixed together
With Tomato salad, and sprouted alfalfa
for dinner.
I wouldn't have believed the Taz would dig into
this type of food
2 months ago,
when all he wanted was Little Caesar's Breadsticks
and Reeces' Cups
Gluten is an irritant, and an inflamer of tissue
of that I am certain! 

This was taken last summer when we
sent Taz to his room
so we could have a private talk
(he was not being disciplined, this is just
a typical happening around the house with
Taz... he took all the side papers
off the computer paper and made
a "Fort" of paper
(this happened in about 6 minutes time)

The Incredible 3rd Grade Teacher who adored
our Taz and made such a difference in his life

Easy to earn 100% in Scripture Memorization
for 3rd grade 
Sample of the Rabbit Stew we made for 3rd Grade Pioneer Day

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Day 29: Nearly a Month now... Oh the Changes we See!

I wanted to write a bit about the "day to day" goings on of our sessions at Brain Balance. 

 If a reader is following this blog, considering enrolling their child in the Program, this will help with giving an idea about what the sessions involve.

Usually Taz has worked either 1-on-1 with an Therapist, or 2-on-1 (two kids for every employee). That was the most, 2 to one.  I stay at the facility at least half of the time Taz is there (half of the sessions).  I am an observer, and like to hear and see as much as I can about the daily grind there.  I hear the Receptionist talking to the Director, the Receptionist cheerfully greeting each child as they enter the facility, and the interaction of the other parents with the Therapists, etc.  Not ALL the interactions, but I am always interested in hearing/seeing/observing if there is congruence among the staff every minute of the day. 

What I learned is that the Receptionist (Pam, who is perfect for the job because she establishes a rapport with the children quickly and early on in the program) was so interested in the Program, and in what the children were going through and feeling, that she decided to experience an Elimination Diet herself. 

This really impressed me.  She was walking the walk.  The Director, Daniel, has also experienced the Elimination Diet, and has written about it on the Program's Blog.

Another thing I noticed and LOVE is that the session time is precious and well used.   Taz's one hour is always a full one hour,  with new activities/tasks every 3-5 minutes.  I believe Taz is getting more out of this program than any other therapy I have paid for (and there have been many). 

Just another
Fruity Breakfast
(and very different for a month ago!)
 I know the cost is a bit overwhelming, but if you break it down into the individual costs, sessions are very reasonably priced for all that is included. I have met others who have paid for lots of therapy (music, speech, OT), along with multiple evaluations.  Some have paid more for evaluations,  and more hourly for therapy than the rates Brain Balance charges. I have met enough people in my own experience who have had wonderful results with this program,  including us to be able to say "It Works."

Monday, October 21, 2013

Day 28: This Program Is Hard Work... And Worth Every Second Invested!

Score or Report Cards
for each session
 One thing I must say about this program is that to complete it successfully, a family must be Totally Committed to Consistent Hard Work for 12 weeks, with no reprieve.  You MUST drive the brain into change everyday, seven days a week, with exercises 3 times a day!  That has been our experience to this point. 

I talked with several of the Moms who came to lectures at the Center in the months and weeks before we committed and turned over the funds to implement this Program.  Some were Gung-Ho, like we are, others expressed regret that they did not take the diet seriously. 

Self Evals required
Brain Balance
I decided that we were going to be 100%,  to the best of our ability with the exercises, diet, and supplements.  This may be one reason why others think Brain Balance fails.  It requires tenacious "stick-to-it-ive" drive and commitment.  That seems rare in this culture.   But it is necessary with this Program, in my opinion.    I actually like the self-evaluation tools that are required in the Center every few weeks.  This keeps me accountable as a Mom.  It keeps me focused on our goals, and the reasons we are participating in this HARD THING in the first place.  If Taz had Cancer, wouldn't I give up everything to help him find a CURE?   Well, I feel the same way about this Treatment.  I want to give it all we have, every last chance to achieve wellness in focus, attention, and wholeness.    There are those who claim that their child has been "Cured" of ADHD, Autism, and Aspergers.  Well, I want that for Taz.  If it is possible, then we are GOING FOR IT! 

This program is for people who want a total brain change:  as evidenced by advances in behavioral, cognitive, and motor skills. If the problem is only cognitive, tutoring may be enough.

  But for many kids, this is the cure they were waiting for. We have seen too many stories and blogs and endorsements to say it was anything else but the work that  the child and parents and staff performed through the Brain Balance program--there is no way it was coincidence.