"Love me when I least deserve it, because that's when I really need it."
~ Swedish Proverb, from Dr. Robert Melillo's book, "Reconnected Kids"

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Another great week in Atlanta...and a GREAT progress report!

Ok, so it's been a long week. Ash has been in Savannah, not feeling well, and Ace is fighting a sinus infection right now. Not much sleeping going on around here! I'm giving myself one hour and not one minute more to update everyone on this past week in Atlanta. I'm more than a little sleep deprived, so please bear with me!

Ok, so last Friday, I had a great progress report meeting with Dr. Pete. At that time, Aidan had completed twelve session, the first 4 weeks of the 12 week program. In just 4 weeks, Aidan has made gains of TWO YEARS in 4 out of 5 areas! That is SO huge!! When we first had Aidan assessed back in September of last year, he was not quite 6 years old, but was functioning pretty much across the board at a 3 year old level. We worked with the Brain Balance Home Program for nine solid months, focusing mainly on eliminating Aidan's primitive reflexes and improving his core strength. With the Brain Balance Home Program, we were able to increase his scores in a couple of areas to between a 4 and 5 year old level. We were also able to make GREAT changes in his behavior with the Home Program. Here is what his report looks like, with his begin level being where he started in June.



Sensory/Motor Activity:
Auditory Processing From: 3 (5 years) To: 5 (7 years)
Lateral Core From: 1 (3 years) To: 3 (5 years)
Proprioception From: 2 (4 years) To: 2 (4 years)
Gait From: 1 (3 years) To: 3 (5 years)
Interactive Metronome From: 1 (3 years) To: 3 (5 years)
Rapid Visual Processing From: Low 5% To: High 26%


In the sensory motor room, his coach, Ms. Susan, commented that he has adjusted well to the routine. He is highly distractible, but is becoming easier to redirect, and is making great progress in most areas. He struggles with balancing and rapid visual processing, and they will be targeting those skills over the next four weeks. (You may have noticed that he made no gain in the area of "proprioception" above. Proprioception is basically an awareness of your body in space. Kids who are "disconnected" often have issues with proprioception, as they don't really feel grounded and connected in their bodies. As his gait, posture, and core muscles improve, his proprioception, or "body awareness" will improve as well.) His scores on the metronome have fluctuated quite a bit, and they will be working on increasing his use of visual cues to stabilize and increase his scores. The metronome measures and improves his rhythm and timing skills, which leads to greater motor coordination, motor planning, and increased focus and concentration.

In the cognitive room, his coach, Ms. Jennifer, noted that he is doing well, and that his focus and behavior have improved over the last few sessions. She started him in Picture level books in Reading Comprehension, and he is doing well at looking at the pictures and deciding the main idea. They read the questions together, as he struggles with some of the words. Aidan completed the Main Idea book with 90% accuracy, and is now working in the Drawing Conclusions book (he has since completed that one too!). Once he feels comfortable reading and answering the questions independently, Ms. Jennifer will move him to the prep level books. In Math Reasoning, Aidan is working at the first grade level. He is reading the problems, with assistance, deciding whether to add or subtract, and working the problems to get the answer. He requires some assistance in determining what operation to use, but can usually work the problems on his own. At the end of each session, Aidan and Ms. Jennifer discuss the creative writing topic. He then tells her two sentences that he would like to write, and they write them together.

Dr. Pete felt that Aidan was doing really well in the program thus far. Aidan is definitely doing his part - he is focused and working hard, following directions, and complying with his coaches' requests. He gave me a crash course in Neurology 101, discussing at length how the brain grows and develops, and how the different parts of the brain are connected and reliant on other areas of the brain to reach their full functional potential. You wouldn't think that improving postural reflexes and core strength would have a profound effect on cognition, behavior and academic performance, but it does. In fact, if you really want to improve cognition, behavior and academic performance, you HAVE to start with eliminating primitive reflexes (Aidan has only 1 primitive reflex still present - ALL should be gone by age 1), improving posture, balance, core stability, and gait. Strengthen the body, improve brain function. As brain function improves, the body gets stronger. It's an amazing thing to watch happen!

Dr. Pete did have a warning for me. Aidan is really flying through the levels, which is great, but can have some not-so-desirable side effects. Again, these side effects should be viewed as progress, as they are a necessary part of the process. I believe his exact words were "Buckle up, and hang on tight. The next few days and weeks are gonna be one bumpy ride." I should be prepared for short but intense bursts of emotion - anger, frustration, etc. I should also be prepared to see emotions that I may never have seen before, such as fear, disgust, and sadness. The right brain is the emotional brain, and is associated with negative emotions. As Aidan's right brain begins to function more fully, these negative emotions also begin to surface. (I have been noticing some of this with Aidan recently. He LOVES to read/learn/watch anything about tornadoes, but is suddenly VERY fearful of storms. Every storm cloud is a potential tornado, and he recounts in great detail the damage that tornadoes can cause. His sense of smell has improved dramatically, and he is the very first to smell a stinky diaper. The extreme disgust soon follows, complete with gagging and retching noises.)

So now I'm way over my allotted hour, but the progress report data is all finished. I'm gonna try and fly through the rest of our week, as Mom is coming up tomorrow for a couple of fun-filled days, and she's bringing Ash back with her! I miss my baby boy SO much! I think I'm going to have a little readjustment period, to get used to having all three boys up here again!

Ok, so last Saturday, the boys and I returned home from a late afternoon swim to find a total and wonderful suprise - DADDY!!! The boys were SO happy to see their dad, and so was I! (The picture does not capture the joy - thanks Mike G. - but we were ALL very happy to be together again!
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We hung out around the condo, had dinner together, and just relaxed Saturday evening. Aunt Gloria was kind enough to monkey sit after the munchkins went to sleep, and Andy and I headed to the Dixie Tavern for a long-overdue night out! We heard some great music, played pool, and just relaxed! It was awesome!

Sunday, we headed into Atlanta for some FUN at the Georgia Aquarium. The big boys have been begging to go the entire time we've been here in Atlanta, and everyone enjoyed it! Ash really loved the penguins!
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Aeson liked the Spider Crabs.
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And everyone loved the Sharks!
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We actually got to take a little tour and go above the shark tank. We learned about how they feed the giant Whale Sharks, and got to see the manta rays up close from above. We also got to hear lots of neat facts about the aquarium!

Late Sunday afternoon, we said goodbye to Daddy and Ashwin as they headed home to Savannah. Daddy had to get back to work, and Ashwin was going to spend a few days with Ange and Reta. They missed him SO much and were very excited that he was coming for a visit! I'm sure he's totally rotten by now! When we got back to the condo that afternoon, Aidan gave a big sigh and said, "You know Mom, it's just not the same here without Daddy and Ashwin. It just doesn't feel like HOME!" What a sweet boy!

Monday, we picked up Alana and headed to PLAY place, and Aidan had his session at Brain Balance. We headed back over the the pool that evening, and Aidan learned to DIVE! It was awesome! He is turning into such a little fish, right before my eyes!


Tuesday, we snagged Alana again and headed to the ZOO! The boys had never been to a zoo, and they thought it was pretty cool. We saw the flamingos first, but couldn't stay long because they were super stinky!
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I'm sure the zoo is no flower bouquet in the winter, but with a 101 degree heat index, it is a pretty smelly place. (For the record, I think the flamingos may have gotten an undeserved bad rap as the most stinky animals, as they were located directly in front of the African Safari, complete with giraffes, rhinos, zebras, warthogs, and oddly enough, one random donkey that Aidan spotted immediately) The boys were super excited to see GIRAFFES!
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They both had fun feeding the parakeets!
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We all thought the meerkats were super cute!
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The boys posed with Willie B. - and wished Uncle Kyle was there with us!
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The pandas were surprisingly difficult to find, but super cute!
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We also got to ride the carousel, the train, climb the rock wall, and play in the playground. My phone died, so no photos of that stuff! All in all, we had a great day at the zoo! That night, Gogi cooked burgers by the pool, and Aeson FINALLY jumped off the diving board! We have SO created a little monster - it is ALL that he wants to do at the pool now!


Wednesday, we went to PLAY place with Alana, and Brain Balance. That night, I took the boys to the pool for a couple of hours by myself, and they were all about the diving board the entire time! We also had a great surprise waiting in our mailbox when we got home! CARDS from home, and lots of them!
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The boys were super excited! Thanks to Mema and Mepa, Aunt Pamela, Uncle Skip, Colleen and Daniel, and Uncle Michael and Aunt Donna for thinking of us!

Thursday, we all got adjusted at the chiropractor's office (Thanks again, Gogi - he is AWESOME!) and we discovered Hobby Lobby on the way to Brain Balance. Uh-oh is all I can say! We got quite a few things for rainy day art projects, and a tray for each boy for coloring in the car! Aidan earned another star at Brain Balance, and we celebrated with a sweet treat from Yogli Mogli!
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Today, we hung out at home until Brain Balance time. Ace hasn't been feeling well the last couple of days, so no PLAY place. We miss it, for sure! Hopefully, my little man will be feeling much better very soon. (Thanks Cindy for ALL that you do for us!) I took the boys to the pool for an hour, we had a late dinner, and a redbox movie. Life is good!
Mimi and Ash arrive tomorrow, and the boys are very excited for our big weekend plans. Tomorrow, Coca - Cola. And Sunday, The Fernbank Museum of Natural History. Lots of pictures to follow, I'm sure! Many thanks to Mimi and Papa for the awesome City Passes - we have thoroughly enjoyed using them!

I am now exactly one hour OVER my allotted time, and I'm off to bed! Goodnight!

Much love,

Allie



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