What a parent wants for their child is simple: for them to be happy—socially, emotionally and academically. Though it’s ideal for a child to grow up and develop to be able to function normally, there are many children who struggle to meet developmental goals and assistance is needed to help them reach those important milestones.
Brain Balance Achievement Centers have been helping children fulfill their potential since 2006 through its integrated approach by targeting the cause of developmental concerns in the brain and creating a tailored plan to correct them. The child-first mindset of the centers provides a unique achievement plan for the child, in addition to ensuring parents have the resources they need to help their child succeed.
Although Brain Balance Centers have increasingly opened throughout the country, the first and currently only Arizona location in Mesa opened in November 2016.
“The most unique thing about Brain Balance is that it’s addressing the cause of the child’s issue,” said Tammy Bingham, executive director, Brain Balance Center of Mesa. “As a parent, I had gone through therapy and trying to think, ‘Maybe this is me, maybe I’m not parenting him well enough, or the teacher isn’t teaching him enough,’” Bingham said, recalling her thought processes with her children before finding Brain Balance; her experience seeking assistance from other resources didn’t offer solutions-simply approaches to compensate the issue.
“So, when I found out about the program, and they said we know the issue is this imbalance in the brain, areas are developed more than they should be and others are not as developed as they should be, and so the kids can’t function the way they need to,” Bingham said.
The centers assist children through activities that target certain areas of the brain including academic activities such as reading comprehension, math reasoning, oral expression and spelling, motor activities including rhythm and timing, fine-motor skills, eye-muscle balance and coordination, and sensory skills. Brain Balance Centers have The Balance 360 Nutrition System, a proprietary nutritional plan designed to help parents customize a nutrition plan to fit a child’s lifestyle and needs. Parents and children learn effective ways of shopping, cooking techniques and nutritious recipes that don’t compromise taste.
All programs at Brain Balance help children to improve academically, socially and emotionally—and improvement can be seen within a year of participating in the program; even more so in children’s continued success after completing the program both in and out of the classroom.
“That’s the fun part,” Bingham said of children’s progress. “Is that they don’t have to be here until they can ride a bike and have perfect handwriting and make all the friends in the world, just until they have the tools, and then their brain is doing its job and the parents just have to foster that development through sports or a social situation and work on academics, but now they click.”
On average, the age of children participating in programs are youngest 3 or 4 to oldest at 18. Typically, most children will spend six months to a year participating in their program at the center, coming three days a week for an hour.
Brain Balance Centers perform an assessment of the child and meet with the parents to determine what is causing the developmental concerns—specifically which areas of the brain that are affecting them academically, socially or emotionally—and create a tailored program to help the child correct the concerns.
“My goal was really to bring what we call hope for every child, harmony for every family, have these families be able to have their children be the child they know they were always supposed to be,” Bingham said. “There’s nothing worse for a parent than sitting there going, ‘My child’s not going to be able to have a job, be able get married or get through college, or be a successful adult and have kids,’ that’s the worst thing.”
Gilbert resident Miranda Hirman said she has seen progress in her nieces since they began their programs in November 2016. Hirman said her mother, Dawn, grandmother to 6-year-old Dawn and 5-year-old Brook reached out to Brain Balance in July 2016 in Colorado to assist with the girls’ developmental delays and behavioral challenges. She received results of an assessment from a clinic in Utah, who informed her of a new clinic opening in Mesa—which was Brain Balance.
“They are now wrapping up their sessions and just couldn’t be more pleased. Over the last nine months we have seen both small and large changes,” Hirman said.
Brook has more body awareness and self-control; Hirman said she has made friends and it’s wonderful to see other kids approach her and give her a hug. Dawn is understanding her emotions and becoming more social; Hirman said she is less shy and has less negative self-esteem.
“There are no words that can express how amazing the staff has been. We have always known that we were not alone in our struggles but we felt alone. The staff changed that—there was understanding and patience and friendship,” Hirman said.
“Having children with developmental and behavioral issues is difficult; difficult to participate in extracurricular activities, difficult to bond with other families because either they don’t understand or accept what is happening,” Hirman continued. “The BB staff is our extended family. Both girls just adore all of them. There are still moments when mom feels embarrassed or frustrated because of a small setback, but just a quick phone call to the clinic helps. We don’t have to say much—it’s amazing what just a few minutes of ‘rambling’ can do.”
Bingham said after the child has completed their program, they have monthly meetings for a year with Brain Balance to check on their progress.
“We get to follow these families and hear not just when they’re here, but two years, five years later, and see what these kids are able to accomplish now that they have the skills that they need,” Bingham said this process and seeing children develop and succeed, is one of the most rewarding parts of the Brain Balance program. “Being able to see kids that really have been struggling and to see them suddenly confident and know, ‘I can do this.’”
The staff at Brain Balance Centers are invested in more than helping children succeed. The family-centric environment is partly due to families’ experiences with the centers—over 50 percent of centers are opened and run by families who went through the program themselves Bingham said, because they want to help other people after seeing the progress their child has made.
“We’re hanging out as a team and we’re literally helping to change kids’ lives and families’ lives, it’s not just the kid, the whole family is affected,” Bingham said of the staff at Brain Balance and the impact the program has on the child and the family.
“All children need an opportunity to be the best they can be,” Harman said. “One may not even be aware that something ‘just isn’t right,’ brushing behavior or developmental delays as ‘that’s just how they are.’ It doesn’t have to be that way.”
Hirman said it seems doctors and/or counselors are quick to put kids on medication if there are indications of behavioral issues such as diagnosing them with ADD or ADHD among others, which masks the underlining problems.
“If you really look into how specialized the brain truly is and how each hemisphere controls each aspect of our lives, we begin to think and acknowledge that it just might be worth doing a quick assessment. I have learned so much during this past year and I see children in a whole new light,” Hirman said.
Bingham said Brain Balance’s goal is to help families overcome challenges and continue to educate families and the community about how their environment impacts kids’ development. In addition, she said they want to educate families before they need to come to Brain Balance, as well as people who are expecting children or have young children so they know the do’s and don’ts “to help their child develop on track and have a good, healthy balanced lifestyle without needing any type of intervention.”
Before her nieces started at Brain Balance, Hirman said the girls had issues of violence, outbursts, inability to sit still, and emotional ups and downs.
“Before the clinic mom shed tears of frustration and feeling of helplessness. Now we all shed tears of joy,” Hirman said. “It’s the little things in life—all of us sitting at the table for the full meal without screaming or kids getting up, ability to have peaceful days, communication between the kids and adults, ability to go to church and make it through the entire mass and be able to go out in public without glares from other parents.
“I suppose the biggest achievement others have witnessed is behavior,” Hirman said. “Currently, I have others approach me expressing their amazement on how they have changed.”
Brain Balance Center of Mesa is located at 1702 S. Val Vista Drive, Suite 101B. To learn more about Brain Balance Achievement Center, visit: BrainBalanceCenters.com.
– Mesa resident Alyssa Tufts is a freelance reporter for MyNewsMesa.com.