Having a child is the most beautiful, surreal, challenging and sometimes heartbreaking time in your life. When I had my first child, it was the most surreal moment of my life. They put him, tiny, wet, shriveled little body on my belly and I remember feeling like, “this isn’t real, what is happening?” I had an out of body experience. We had thought all along he was a girl (we didn’t find out), let alone a real, live human being. To say that I didn’t take to motherhood well was a hushed, not-talked-about, secret I held. I had a romanticized vision of what motherhood would be like. It. was. not. that.
My oldest had gas, was sensitive to sounds, did not sleep well. I played the “lay on the floor and tiptoe out of the bedroom” game more times than I can count. Eventually we put a bed in his room and then when I went back to work, we put up a co-sleeping crib…my life saver. I remember someone telling me it gets better around 3 months. I cried…he was 1 month old and I did not know how I was going to make it through another two months under these conditions.
Fast forward 5 years to kindergarten. Being my first child, I was excited for him to start school and see him play with his friends and start learning to read. I knew he was shy and had a hard time answering the teacher when he got in trouble in preschool, but I had no idea the struggles that were about to overtake us.
Even though he had gone to preschool for the last couple of years, he had a hard time adjusting to school. It took him almost 2 months to stop getting in trouble and learn the ways of the classroom. His teacher had concerns not only for his behavior, but his academics as well. He would not do his work if he had to think of something creative, and would just shut down when questioned about things he didn’t understand. We had concerns about ADHD, but he was able to sit down and do a full sheet of math problems without issue.
Other things came up too, we’d have to repeat ourselves and ideas over and over. He would not remember small words he had just learned the week before. He skipped over small words that he knew and could not sound out big words. This continued and his anxiety continued to climb for the next several years. Several teachers suggested medication, but I really did not want to go that route. But I knew something was off. He was not processing what he was experiencing and could not communicate with us about it.
This year we started 4th grade. This was a really big transition for him. He struggled severely getting started this year. But the most concerning part of all of this is how his self-esteem has plummeted. Each year the anxiety and self-esteem get worse and worse. To the point that it’s starting to scare me that we may not be able to get him back if we don’t act. So I started to research.
First in the area of brain processing and brain therapy. Then I remembered that I had talked with a friend a year earlier about her daughter having the same issues and the exercises and program they were doing. That began our journey with Brain Balance website.
8/16/17 – Drew and I had a discussion that evening that left me heartbroken. He was really down on himself about school because he just felt so behind saying he didn’t know why he was here(on earth). He couldn’t do anything right, he wanted to die. Trying to get to sleep that night was impossible, I spent the next couple of hours searching for something…anything. I took the assessment on Brain Balance’s website and waited to hear back from someone.
8/17/17 – Jessica from the Brain Balance center in Louisville called me the next day. She went over the results of the online test and asked me a ton more questions about Drew and the issues he was having. She seemed hopeful that they’d be able to help him. We scheduled the assessment for the following Wednesday.
8/23/17 – We pulled Drew from school for the day. He was pretty excited to go and see if we could get him some help (and miss school). He even came up and hugged me the night before and said “thank you for doing all of this stuff to help me!” Love him.
We got to the center around 9 am. Upon arrival, my husband and I were each handed a book “Disconnected Kids” by The first assessment lasted about an hour. Drew was pretty amped and excited after the morning session, I think it went well. We had lunch and then came back for the second half. About 30 minutes after we were there, my husband and I were called back to talk to Jessica, the director. We discussed questions similar to what I had told her previously on the phone. She explained the program and what it involved, the cost, the requirements, the program….it was a lot to take in. I felt vaidated as she explained what they do there and how they help the brain, and sooo much of it made sense as to why Drew was having all of the problems he was having. It was nice to find some answers.
It felt like it was kind of implied that we were going to sign up because the director kept asking us what start date we would like and ran a credit check for financing to see what our payment would be. Good sales tactic, but it was a lot of money and a huge time commitment. The center is 1.5 hours away from our home. We hadn’t even gotten the results back yet. We decided to think on it and come back the next week to review the results.
We spent the following week thinking about the assessment and what it would mean for our family to travel 3x week 1.5 hours each way. When would the best timing be? Who could help us? What about sports? What about our other two kids, how will this affect them? How will this affect our routine following, needing downtime kid? When we run too much, he gets overwhelmed and tired. We are currently building a house (another stressor that also weighs in our decision) so our finances are kind limited at the moment. And the following for the program:
- Changes in diet (gluten free, dairy free, sugar free) That is all he eats!
- Going to the center 3x/week (1.5 hour commute)
- Daily exercises that take 20-30 mins 3x/day
- Cost $$$$
8/30/17 – We got to the center deciding that we were going to wait until after Christmas to sign up. Doing the at home exercises starting in January and then starting the program next summer. As soon as the director shared the results with us, my mine changed. He was 3.5 years behind in right brain development. He was 2-5 years behind on some of the development tasks he was tested on. Her description of his reading and picky eating were spot on. She had many success stories and I was ready to get him started. …my husband, not so much. We spend the next 30-45 minutes trying to decide if we should do this now and or wait. But we finally decided this was the best time and best option. We signed up for 3 months of at home work and then starting at the center in December.
I cried in the office as she was explaining what types of things happen when people are right brain weak. It explained soo much about what Drew has been going through. I felt validated and hopeful for the first time. We have some answers. We’re ready to have Drew get his life on track and not worry so much. To be a happy kid full of confidence.
Read more about our Journey – Brain Balance – Getting Started