Yes it’s been one of those Winters. Lower-than-usual amounts of precipitation graced our Utah mountains and valleys this season. About five years ago I made the observation that some Winters, it seems like we never manage to get our whole family to weekly Sunday services, due to recurring illnesses. At the time, an older and wiser mom passed along the old wives’ tale that in “dark” winters, meaning those with little snow or rain, sicknesses flourish. Conversely, in “white” winters, epidemics are less common. Since that time, I’ve watched to see if the correlation exists, and determined that indeed in low precipitation winters, sickness flourishes. This is my excuse for neglecting to post anything new here during the month of January. We were kept running to doctors for antibiotics to alleviate various ear and strep infections. Even on this fine and cold Groundhog Day, we took the last two kids to the urgent care and came away with two new prescriptions. The staff kindly wished me well, and expressed the hope that they would NOT see us again anytime soon.:)
Here we are, already at the end of February. Week 17 actually happened about 13 weeks ago. Just prior to Thanksgiving, Big B finished his final month of sessions at the Brain Balance center, and underwent a re-assessment of all his developmental skill levels. I am happy to report here that he made huge improvements in many of his skills, and we are excessively proud of his hard work and persistence! Without further adieu, here is the rundown:
At the program outset, he had mixed dominance problems. He was right-foot, right-eye and right-hand dominant, but he had mixed-ear dominance. Happily he is right-ear dominant now, bring all dominance into the “right” category. This greatly increases his efficiency at various tasks. At the beginning, Big B manifested all seven primitive reflexes to varying degrees. Over the course of his four months at the center, all seven were drastically diminished, and nearly eliminated. Continuous home exercise work should eliminate them completely within a few months. We are very proud of our 7-year-old guy.
In all categories of eye development they tested, B made improvements. His eye stability during head movement went from a level 0 to a level 11 out of 15.+11 levels! His ability to do slow and fast eye movements improved from a level 5 to a level 6 out of 15.+1 level. His hemispheric processing (sensitivity to light) improved a lot! He went from the reflexes of a 3-year-old to those of a 6-year-old, nearly at his age level. +3 years.In au ditory perception and processing, we saw great improvement too! His perception was always great, at a level 14 out of 15, and remained the same. But his processing, which used to reflect a 3-year-old level actually surpassed his age-level goals, and he tested out at the level of an 8-year-old! +5 years. On smell identification, he went from a level 11 to a 14 out of 15.+3 levels
At the outset, Big B exhibited undersensitivity in the realm of touch. This had caused a number of difficulties, including an inability to recognize when he was full after eating. So he became a chronic overeater, receiving no “I’m full” signals from his body. So we were very happy to see that in arm and leg touch sensation, he progressed from a 4-year-old level in both areas, to respectively a 6- and 5-year old level of touch sensitivity.+1-2 years. He is still delayed in fine motor skills, but he advanced from 2-year-old level to that of a 4-year-old. +2 years. At the same time, in terms of his balance and equilibrium system maturity, he progressed from a level 2 out of 15 to a 12!! +10 levels! And in his core muscle development, he went from having the core muscle strength of a 3-year-old to that of a 6-year-old, in three groups. In the the other three groups, he went from an age 3 to a 5. +3 years, and +2 years!!
At the beginning of the Brain Balance program, Big B was still struggling to stand on one foot long enough to put his pants on. Indeed, he always needed assistance from a parent to do so. He could not balance on one foot, period. But now he can. This was an early change which I saw immediately, and which gave me great relief! In proprioception, he went from having the spatial awareness of a 3-year-old to that of a 5-year-old. +2 years.
In bi-lateral movements, balance and equilibrium, B moved from an age 3 to a 6. +3 years. In his gait and aerobics, he went from a 2-year-old level up to a 5. Also +3 years. And on the interactive metronome, he went from a 4-year-old level to that of a 5-year-old. +1 year. And last but not least, on the Brown’s Scale of ADHD Symptoms, we noted a significant overall change! At the outset, his ADHD behaviors were pronounced, and his scores reflected that with frequencies of each in the upper-70’s, out of a 100. By the end of the program, all of the target behaviors were down into the the mid-40’s, with a couple in the 50’s. This reduction of symptoms is miraculous to me, and wholly attributable to Big B’s hard work at the Brain Balance center. We couldn’t be more thrilled!
And we haven’t even talked about the diet portion of the program. Let me say that following the diet guidelines was also huge for Big B’s health,as it was for mine, and for his dad’s, and for his siblings. To any parents reading this, and wondering if it is worth all the sacrifice and trouble, let me re-emphasize: IT IS!! Big B lost much of the extra weight that he’d been carrying around for some time. We recently took him to the pediatrician for his yearly check-up. The change in B’s BMI score, and weight in relation to others his age,did not go unnoticed by Dr. Strong. In fact, we took four of our five kids to him for their check-ups all within a two-week timeframe. And the same trend was present in Freckles (12) and Sparkle (10). They hadn’t been seriously overweight before, but did carry a little extra girth around the middle. The Brain Balance diet changes helped all of our kids get healthier, and their doctor couldn’t be more pleased.
Benjamin’s Brain Bucks
Hand-drawn sketch of Big B, by Amy at the Brain Balance Center of South Jordan
Portrait in November, just before B finished his program. We are so proud of him!!