Fourth-grader Alyssa Bogner couldn’t stop the letters from jiggling on the page. She could read for just 10 minutes before she had to take a break.
During their home-schooling sessions, her mother, Lynnsey, would work with her in math.
“There was always a meltdown if she encountered a problem she couldn’t handle,” said Lynnsey, a Kiowa resident.
Alyssa was tired all the time, too.
“She couldn’t get through the day without a nap,” Lynnsey said.
An optometrist prescribed bifocals for the girl, but she still saw objects as moving when they weren’t. Just as concerning, she could not read at grade level.
“As a parent, I could tell she was really smart, it just needed to come out,” said Lynnsey.
Intrigued by a commercial on the radio for Brain Balance Centers, the mother decided to have Alyssa assessed at the Brain Balance Center of Highlands Ranch. The center helps families dealing with Functional Disconnection Syndrome. The company’s website describes FDS as the symptoms seen “in a long list of neurological disorders, including … ADHD, learning disabilities, Tourette’s syndrome, obsessive-compulsive disorder, sensory-processing disorder and Asperger’s.”
“What brings people here is that they have a struggle and they’ve been down a lot of roads. They’re looking for answers,” said Chelsea Brotherton, director of the center at 1970 E. County Line Road. “I think what appeals to parents is the non-medical, holistic approach.”
“It is a multidisciplinary approach. We incorporate the senses. Those create experiences, (and) those create positive pathways,” said program director Mary Morgan. This is accomplished by addressing three main components: sensory motor training and stimulation, academic training and dietary modifications, Morgan said.
Brotherton explained that the sensory motor aspect is treated by integrating the primitive reflexes. Retained primitive reflexes can lead to developmental delays, she said. Children work with coaches to perform specialized exercises to integrate any remaining primitive reflexes. They also have home exercises.
To address the academic piece, “We stimulate the foundational systems in the brain — auditory, vestibular, balance and gait,” in conjunction with the academic work, said Brotherton.
She emphasizes that cleaning up the diet is imperative to creating a healthy brain.
“The kids we see that have a disconnection, the brain is immature so the gut will be immature,” she said.
This means minimizing or eliminating things such as gluten, dairy, and restricting corn, processed foods and sugar as much as possible.
The popularity of the Brain Balance approach is growing. There are centers located throughout the country, with four centers in the Denver metro area and two more opening within the next six months, one in Aurora-Southlands and another in Windsor.
The Bogners drove 90 minutes from Kiowa to reach the center three times a week for their hour-long appointments. Alyssa’s enrollment at the center lasted 4½ months. She continues follow-up activities at home to complete the duration of a year.
The cost to enroll in a Brain Balance program ranges from $5,900 to $12,000.
For the Bogners, it was a worthwhile investment.
“Alyssa doesn’t have to take naps anymore, and she can read almost at her grade level. She told me, ‘I can read as long as I want, the words don’t get blurry,’” Lynnsey said. “If you ask her, she will tell you that before Brain Balance, she used to feel angry all the time, but she will say, ‘now I actually feel joyful.’ Just the other day she said, ‘Mom, it feels like I have a new brain.’”
For more information about the Brain Balance Centers, go online to brainbalancecenters.com.
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