Neuroplasticity and the human brain in action

I’ve been meaning to do a write-up of Dash’s final assessment. We are so proud of his hard work!  His re-assessment reflects great progress. Though he could benefit from more sessions at the Brain Balance center, we are moving forward without them. If we had lots of money, we would keep him in, and probably enroll another couple of kids too!

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We will continue to do home exercises, and feel confident that he will soon be able to eliminate any lingering primitive reflexes. Of the eight primitive reflexes which were all present at his first assessment, he has eliminated one. On three others, there has been no change. He manifests those reflexes at the same level he did upon beginning, both of which he did not strongly manifest from the start. The other four are almost eliminated, but still hanging on. A few more months of dedicated home programming exercises will eliminate them completely.

In all vision tests he has improved, and now instead of 18 sets of eye exercises per week, he can go down to 2-3 sets per week. There is a lot of technical language that goes into the individual eye tests, which would be too complicated to summarize. So I will just leave it at that. His eyes are much better now! He is tracking more smoothly through the pages in his reading, and his comprehension, which initially was at 60%, is now at 90%. Obviously this means great things for his current and future academic abilities.

His auditory perception at the outset was already at the level of a 15-year-old when he began the program, and he retains that level today. In auditory processing, he advanced one year, putting him now at the level of an 11-year-old. Still lagging slightly, but not as much as before. In touch sensation, he advanced two years, from that of a 7-year-old to that of a 9-year-old. In fine motor development, he made great strides, going from an initial 7-year-old level, now to that of a 15-year-old. Eight years, in just three months! He moved up in the maturity level of his balance and equilibrium by one level, from a level 13 now up to a 14, 15 being the highest level measured.

Out of the six core muscle groups, his core strength improved in four out of six areas, remaining the same in brachiation (holding himself in a chin-up position) and sit-ups. In his supine core he went from age 6 to 10. In Prone core, he went from age 7 to 13. In lateral core, he went from age 8 to 11. And in push-ups, he went from age 4 to 9.

He advanced 5 years in proprioception/spatial awareness, having started at a 6-year-old level, and advancing to that of an 11-year-old. In synchronization skills, he made great improvements in all three areas. His ability to process rhythm, timing and motor planning, he advanced 5 years, going from his initial 5-year-old level, to now functioning at a 10-year-old level.  He surpassed his goals in gait and aerobics. Having started out at the level of a 5-year-old, he now functions at the level of a 14-year-old (9 years advancement!). And finally, in his overall balance/bilateral movements and equilibrium, he has also advanced 9 years going from a functional 8-year-old to a 17-year-old functioning level!

While there is clearly room for improvement, Dash has worked hard and made great progress, and we are so happy for him.  Another profound discovery we made, is that he is exhibiting a lot less ADHD behaviors than he did three months ago. At the initial and the final assessments, we filled out a Brown’s Scale survey, which assesses executive function impairments, associated with ADD/ADHD and related problems. As you can see from his current assessment (below), Dash has seen a great deal of improvement across the board, to the extent that I believe his ADHD symptoms are virtually gone. This is amazing to me, and this fact alone makes the entire program so worth it.

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Brown Scale goal is to have all scores fall into the green, meaning there is a lower incidence of counter-productive behaviors present.

And don’t get me started again on how much the diet changes have impacted me personally, and all of our family members! My early blog entries represent this thoroughly. Even if all we accomplished here was the establishment of better lifelong eating habits, and a long-term increase in our family physical activity levels, it would be the best money I ever spent. But Brain Balance has done so much more, and I’m just so thankful for that.

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My latest adaptation of our favorite diet-friendly cookie.

Double Chocolate Almond Meal Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 1/2 Cups Honeyville Blanched Almond Flour

1/2 Cup melted Nutiva Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil

1/2 Cup any combination of: honey, agave nectar, pure maple syrup

1/3 – 1/2 Cup high quality cocoa powder, preferably 100% raw cacao

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 – 3/4 Cup Enjoy Life brand gluten/dairy/soy-free, mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Mix all ingredients together in a small mixing bowl, except for chocolate chips. When all dough is mixed and coconut oil cooled down, add in chocolate chips. Line jelly roll baking sheet with parchment paper. Use small ice cream scoop to drop cookie balls onto pan, I usually do a grid of 5X6 balls per pan. Flatten cookie balls with palm of hand or spoon, because they won’t spread much on their own during baking. Cook for 6-8 minutes on 350. Let cool for fifteen minutes, and enjoy! Makes approximately 30 cookies.

We all attended Dash’s Brain Balance Graduation ceremony this week. They gave him a Brain Balance T-shirt (which he is still wearing, two days later!), a memory book with all of the brains from his achievement wall, and personal notes from staff members written inside. And see the beautiful sketch that Annie made below! She has talent!

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Dash with the amazing staff at the South Jordan Brain Balance Center

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With the family

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A beautiful sketch of Dash, by artist and BB staff member Annie.

Thank you so much Annie, we love it!!

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