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!

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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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The Struggle of Less Screen Time

As part of doing the Brain Balance program, we are supposed to be limiting my son’s screen time to 1 hour a day.  It didn’t really sound that hard at first, I already limit the amount of TV they watch in a day, but when it is ANY screen, not just TV, it makes it a little harder than I thought.  He wants to play games on my phone, or on the computer, and that’s part of screen time too!

owen chalkHe loves to play outside, so that is a big help on days that it is nice enough to send the kids out, but it has been in the upper 90’s a lot lately, so they only last outside for about 10-20 minutes before they need to come in and cool down.

We definitely have made more trips to the swimming pool! These kids LOVE to swim, thank goodness their grandpa has a neighborhood pool that the kids can swim in for free and we go almost weekly.  They swim and move the entire time just wearing their little bodies out!  It’s so good for them to owen swim 1get moving like that, plus it is something to do outside and NOT in front of a screen.
Plus, they rarely have any sibling fights in the pool, which mommy LOVES!  Anything to keep the peace, right?

The kids have also had fun making up their own games, and playing the board games we have.  Plus he is getting really good at UNO, he actually beat me last time we played!

What are some creative ways that you reduce screen time with your kids?  How do you encourage move movement with couch potato kids?

Continue to follow our journey through this blog, and on our Facebook page, Wellness Momma –> here!

Angels in the Snow

This right here…it’s the one movement that is part of his home programming that he actually enjoys.

It’s called the Angel, but he calls it “Angels in the snow”.  It’s the only one that I don’t have to correct his breathing, or help him with it to get his body movements going the right direction.  I do the deep breathing right along with him, mostly for my own sanity.

Stepping back and realizing that this isn’t as easy for him as it is for me, has been a great adjustment.  All his exercises in the home program are things I’m able to just do, with very little effort, but for him it takes great effort to overcome those primal reflexes that we are trying to work out so that he can better control his body and overall self awareness.  This is just as much a learning moment for me as it is for him.

Day by day, we are making tiny bits of progress, and I am so excited to see where he will be in a few months!

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Harder than I thought

We are sitting in the waiting room while O is in the back doing his thing at his 3rd day at Brain Balance.   When this began,  I thought this would be the hard part. Traveling 30 minutes to get here,  him receiving his 1 hour program treatment, then the 40 minute drive home (because traffic is worse then).  I really thought this would be the hardest,  then food would be really hard for him too.  Well, he’s thrown me for a loop!   His home program and exercises are a REAL STRUGGLE.  He doesn’t want to do it (correctly), no matter what we say or do.  We try to make it fun,  we set a timer and tell him he only has to work for that amount of time,  then we’ll take a break, we remind him of the Brain Bucks he gets to earn for doing his work, but so far we haven’t discovered what will help him actually do the exercises like he needs to.  I keep reminding myself that we are just in the beginning, and that it takes time for him to really get this,  but it’s hard.   I spend most of the time with him reminding myself not to get frustrated and breathing deeply so I don’t lose control while working on home program.  
Hopefully soon we’ll find how to reach him in this area.  He’s actually done well in the other areas of the program, so I’m trying to see the bright side of our situation.