We had our 2nd assessment appointment last week. It seems B has gone from significantly delayed to almost age level (or beyond) on every item on the checklist. Thankfully we are starting to see those changes at home. I am the last person who really expected this to be a positive solution for us. After all, everything else we tried only left us disappointed. We didn’t really expect this to be any different, ever the optimists we hoped it might, but were still very skeptical. So what did we expect? Well, like everyone, we had heard lots of promises before and only ever enjoyed limited progress – so that become our norm. We thought, “If we can just progress a little further, that will get us to the next thing!” However, in this case it seems we may have been a little off on our expectations.
I am still too gun-shy to consider calling Brain Balance a success, but certainly the progress he has made is noticeable. It would seem now at least he has the tools to be able to learn the skills necessary for living on planet ‘rest of the world.’ If nothing else, he needed the skills to be able to leave the house dressed and without argument, even if that doesn’t happen every time. I still occasionally have to tell him to go back and turn his underwear or worse, his pants around, but at least he is willing, able and in good humor while he does it.
The most progress seen is in his overall demeanor, don’t get me wrong the melt-downs are still coming and the arguments still as fierce, but he has lost the tourette-like insults that plagued us for the past 4 years or so. He no longer refers to us a pigs, idiots or morons, even when when it’s clearly warranted! Homework time is no longer a battlefield, but simply 30 – 45 minutes of him working calmly away. He even read the bedtime story last night. His reading has always been good, but his desire has been nonexistent until now. Factual books have always been his go-to choice of reading, but even that is changing. Last night he read “Hansel and Gretal” all the way to the end with voice inflections and everything. It was such a cute, normal, everyday moment to celebrate.
MATH, beginning on August 1st, the 2nd page is his homework from 8/26/11.
LANGUAGE ARTS: 1st picture is beginning school on Aug 1. Second pic is homework 8/26/11
His anxiety and his depression seems to be more under control at this point. I still hear “I am sad” and “You hate me” but not as much and without as much conviction as before. Although, I understand he is still sad, he is going to be sad for a while until he can figure out why and how his Birth Mother placed him for adoption. He needs to work through those feelings, thankfully at least now he seems to be closer to having the emotional and mental capacity to do that. Brain Balance does not promise a “cure” or a “fix” all they work towards is having both sides of the brain work in sync. B is always going to be left-brain dominant, but that doesn’t mean he has to also accept that his right brain should be ‘weak.’
So is all this progress due to Brain Balance? I am honestly not sure. He has had several changes in the past 2 months, one being a much smaller, more proactive school. The school certainly makes a huge difference to his academic struggles, he no longer has to compete with 23 other kids fighting for the teacher’s attention, with only 5 other kids to worry about it’s much easier for him to keep up. Then there are the allergies. Our son, of course, still has food allergies, they are not going away because of Brain Balance. He still reacts very negatively when he eats anything on the list of ‘intolerant or allergic’ foods, but since he is now so much more stable in his mood, his food infractions are almost instantly noticeable. We can actually seem to pinpoint his increased rage or aggression to something he ate within the last 30 minutes. You can visibly see him ramp up from placid and coherent to a whirling, mean, aggressive, angry boy. He almost sounds like a drunk, crying one minute and laughing or mean-spirited the next. After a run-in with some cake on Saturday night he spent the entire night alternating between mine and my husband’s ear “I’m going to kill you, I hate you, get out!” over and over, intermittently interspersed with well-placed slaps and pinches. I have to say though, neither my husband nor I am scared or think these threats are going anywhere, it’s become so normal to hear we almost switch off. Its an outlet for him, not fun to hear, but now we are very confident that the verbal will never materialize into physical, or at least not anymore. Anyway, he is changing, slowly but surely, although if you don’t know him well you might not think so.
So where do we go from here. We still have 11 more sessions left – so 3.5 weeks. He is ready to be done, while he does enjoy going, he is ready to have his afternoons back, as of course am I. Currently his reading and comprehension is at a 2nd to 3rd grade level so he is well placed for the coming year. His physical strength is far improved from when we started, and interestingly he is now swimming like a pro, head in 2 strokes and out, arms placed and legs kicking, no lessons. He now has the strength in his upper body to achieve the coordination and skill required for the correct swimming position. So we will take it one appointment at a time until we hit #36, hopefully progress will be kicking our butts by then and we can celebrate with an over-stimulating, sugar laced, sensory provoking, non-therapeutic party!
Regardless, we are making progress and that’s the best news we have had for a long time.