Positive Changes in my Son

We have been a part of the Brain Balance program for 3 months now and I wanted to be sure and update everyone on how Owen is doing.  This is the half way point, and he has already met or surpassed a portion of his goals!  It has been a rollercoaster of ups and downs.  It has been hard, it has been a lot of work, and it has changed our entire family.  Don’t get the wrong idea though, no one ever told us that this program would be easy!  No one said that this was going to be a quick fix, or that change would happen overnight.  At certain points I didn’t realize it was going to be so hard and I almost wanted to give up….but your know what?  It’s all been worth it!  All the sacrifices, all the driving, all the meltdowns, all the home program work, all the diet changes…it was all so overwhelming at first!  But every step has been worth it.

My little boy has grown, changed, and matured so much in the past 3 months! I sit here in disbelief with a tear running down my cheek as I look at him across the room problem solving and trying to figure out how to get his Lego structure stabilized.  You see 3 months ago, that would have been a meltdown…like end of the world, throw the Legos, stomp, scream, kick sort of meltdown because the Legos weren’t doing what he wanted them to.  When he was 2, that behavior didn’t seem like a big deal, but at 6 and a half he has to learn to handle these emotions.  Now he is able to stop, think about how it should go, talk it out, or just make more attempts at his structure without losing control of his emotions!  THIS IS AMAZING!

Another giant milestone for him is his diet and nutrition.  He was EXTREMELY picky, and mostly ate junk food. (looking back I realize it was mostly junk, I didn’t see that it was so much junk before)  With a lot of hard work and persistence, we have been able to stick to a healthy meal plan of real foods.  We even spent this past weekend at a church retreat where every meal contained mostly food that he couldn’t have.  He dealt with this better than I did I think, and was happy to eat his Brain Balance approved foods, and stay on track with all the progress we’ve made so far!  He is still picky, and has his struggles at times, but he has come so far in such a short amount of time, that I’m not complaining.

Then one more change that I saw recently is his smile.  You see, before if he wasn’t making a funny face when looking at the camera, he sort of had this odd smile.  We learned from Brain Balance that his eyes have trouble focusing, and I figured out that’s probably why in most of his pictures he isn’t actually looking at the camera.  Then because his frontal lobe is under-developed and that’s where most of our emotions are held, I think he struggled with knowing  how to get his face to make a real smile.  I struggled to find a picture that shows what I’m referring to because we don’t keep a lot of those and just retake a bunch of pics to get a good one, so this is as close to an illustration I can show.  The one of the left was taken last fall, the one of the right was this past weekend.  See him making eye contact?!?  🙂

Owen 2

I’m so proud of all the progress he has made his first 3 months with Brain Balance, and I can’t wait to see how far he will go in his last 3 months!

Follow this blog to keep up with our journey, and be sure to like our page on Facebook called Wellness Momma to follow along as well.

If you want to know more about Brain Balance, go here.

Progress to a Real Hug!

My 6 year old son has been a part of the Brain Balance Program for a little over 2 months.  He has Functional Disconnect Syndrome – FDS, and is Right Brain Weak.  It is absolutely amazing to me the progress he has made on the program in such a short amount of time!  There are so many areas that we’ve seen changes in, and we are so glad we found this program instead of going down the road of having him diagnosed with Autism or ADHD and the doctors recommending different medications to change his mood. Brain Balance is definitely a great fit for our family.

The one area that has changed and had one of the biggest impacts on me the past few days is touch.  You see, my son doesn’t like to give hugs to anyone really.  He’ll hug me, his dad,20151226_100900 and my dad…but everyone else that is immediate family he is very reluctant to hug.  He will usually do it because he has learned that we hug when we say goodbye, but he doesn’t ever want to.  I just thought that this was who he was.  I didn’t realize that “Some children with FDS can be extremely sensitive to touch.  They’ll squirm away from a hug and keep a distance when sitting with their family.” –Disconnected Kids by Dr. Robert Melillo

Well , this past weekend he spent time with my mom and step-dad. My step-dad was amazed at the changes he saw in our kid.  He said that he asked him to sit with him during a movie they were watching, and that he gave him a real hug!  It made me think about how my son was even interacting with me lately…

I thought about his hugs recently and how he has been putting his arm around me when he sits on the couch with me.  I thought about his schoolwork and how I’m able to be closer to him to show him how to hold his pencil or how to write a letter without him becoming irritated.

I get a little teary eyed realizing that he is beginning to FEEL!  Previous to Brain Balance he had little to no empathy and truly didn’t understand others emotions, let alone his own.  The fact that he has begun to give real hugs, and that he lets me give him kisses is a change that this momma is LOVING!  You see, many children who are right brain weak are not able to show empathy or understand emotion because that part of their frontal lobe hasn’t developed so that they can.  It’s something that I took for granted before, but now I am so incredibly thankful for the work he is doing.

How do you celebrate progress with your kids?  How do you effectively praise and encourage your children with they are doing well?  We are doing our best to recognize his small changes and praise him when we see the differences for the good in him.

I’m going to continue with other blog posts of his progress and changes we have made in different areas.  Follow along on our blog, and our Facebook page, Wellness Momma –> here.

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Hope

Wow…just wow!  I am blown away by the response from last night’s blog post sharing with all of you the very beginning of our journey with our son.  So many of you reached out to me in support and love.  Offering prayers, ideas for food, books, resources, and most of all…hope.  You gave me hope that we can do this.  That we can help him as a  family and that this is a good thing.

In my reading last night I came across this, “The Brain Balance program is based on clinically proven findings that the way your child’s brain functions today is not necessarily the way that it has to function for the rest of his life.  Dr. Melillo’s research and the research of others has found that many children can recover from disorders such as autism, ADHD, Asperger’s syndrome, dyslexia, and others when their unique developmental needs are met and the underlying causes of these disorders are addressed.  Even children with the severest forms of these disorders have the capacity to improve behaviorally and academically and learn skills that will enrich their quality of life.”  –Disconnected Kids by Dr. Robert Melillo

This also gave me hope for my son.  I realize this isn’t a cure all, or a one stop miracle.  This is going to take work, effort and commitment and will give him skills that we will continue to build on for the rest of his life.

He will not receive a label in this program.  We aren’t told an exact diagnosis, just that he has a right brain weakness and that disorders such as ADHD, autism, OCD, anxiety, and Aspberger’s also align with right brain weakness.  Since we homeschool and don’t require an IEP like in the school system, it isn’t a big deal for us not to have a label for him.  We actually are thankful for this because many times once these children are labeled, they are put into a box that they can only do so much.  I’ve seen many overcome these boundaries and labels, so I totally realize that is possible.  We feel blessed that he doesn’t have to endure that obstacle (at least right now) and that this is the path we have been lead down and are thankful we are in a position where a label doesn’t matter.  We realize this isn’t the case for everyone, that we all have different journeys, and are happy to have you a part of ours.

I’m so thankful for all of the positive feedback and thankful to have this online community of support for us!  Keep following this blog and my facebook page, Wellness Momma – Elyse McLeod to be a part of our adventure.

Autism, ADHD, OCD…oh MY!

For over a year now my  husband and I have had concerns about our middle son.  There were signs that his development wasn’t running along with other children his age, but many times we would find other things to lay the blame on so that we could stave off reality.  We’d say it was his age, or he was hungry or tired, or the other kid provoked him into an overreaction.  It’s not that we thought he was perfect, we knew something was off, but we honestly didn’t know what to do or who to turn to.  Recently a good friend posted to Facebook that they finally had a diagnosis for her son…Autism.  As scary as it was in the moment for her, she was excited to finally have some answers and direction so that she could help her son to the best of her ability and find him resources to thrive.  This stirred something in me and because she had the courage to share with her friends and family, it gave me the courage to seek treatment for my son.  The very next day our son had a full blown melt down and I looked at my husband and said, “we need help, we can’t wait any longer”.

I still didn’t know where to go or what to do, but I began asking.  I talked to a few people that I knew who I thought could point me in the right direction, and they made some suggestions.  One of those suggestions that stuck out to me was a place called Brain Balance because mutual friends had actually SEEN results, and they use a holistic approach instead of starting with medication.  This was important to me because if we are able to help him without medication, then this was the direction that I wanted to go!

The very next day I went to a Homeschool Conference and low and behold Brain Balance was there.  I talked with one of the directors of a center and during our conversation I became overwhelmed with the feeling of hope…Hope that this could be it, this could be the solution for our son!

That afternoon I listened to a presentation of another Brain Balance director and as she described what it means to have a right brain weakness, it nearly fit my son to a T.  Right brain weakness is where many people with autism, ADHD, OCD, ODD, etc. fall into.  The right side of their brain is weak and needs to be worked and stimulated to help balance out their brain so that the two sides can communicate effectively.  I sat there realizing that he needed more help than I could give him, and I needed to have him assessed so that I could get the correct help for him so that he would be able to thrive!  Right now in our schoolwork it feels like we are just treading water. Although he has had some breakthroughs this school year, he has made zero progress in handwriting and reading.

I spent the next day of that weekend talking with my husband about the possibilities and praying to God that if this was going to help my little boy, that He would help us find a way to make it work.  That Monday I called for an appointment, and we were in for an assessment by Thursday.

On assessment day I was able to have a good friend of ours watch our other two children and my son and I went in for what would be a 3 and 1/2 hour assessment.  It was an exhausting day.  The paperwork was extensive, and he wasn’t happy about having to be there, but I left feeling like it was the first step in the right direction for him!  We scheduled a time the following week to go over his results, and I went through a range of emotions as my husband and I discussed how we could possibly make this happen for him.  Drive time, astronomical cost, a giant change in his diet, and the amount of commitment needed to benefit from Brain Balance are all factors that really have me feeling overwhelmed.  In my next post I’ll begin sharing what’s next in our adventure to help him and continue on this journey of wellness as a family.

To learn what’s next for us, follow this blog Wellness Momma, and like the Wellness Momma Facebook page!  Click Here!