by Thomas Altro
*from the Florida Autism Center Blog
Okay, here is a confession – I really like pizza. In fact, I would be willing to help a friend move into her new house for some pizza. However, if my friend were to ask me to help her move into her house, wash her cars, walk her dogs, and mow her lawn, I am not so sure that pizza would be quite worth the effort.
The point of this silly example is to illustrate that the “pay off” should be balanced with the effort involved in your child’s response. If your child frequently engages in problem behavior after completing two or three problems on a worksheet of six math problems, planning ahead of time to give your child a brief break after completing a single math problem rather than the entire worksheet will likely be more effective in increasing compliant behavior when working on worksheets.
In order to identify something that may act as a reinforcer, it is also important to watch your child to get a sense of what he or she is interested in or motivated for. Your child’s interests and motivation may change from moment to moment for a number of different reasons. For example, a skittle is less likely to act as a reinforcer if your child has just finished dessert than if he or she is hungry for sweets. The toys your child chooses and plays with the longest from a group of other toys are more likely to act as reinforcers than those he or she ignores or plays with very little. The important thing to remember is this: Follow where your child’s interests and motivation leads you and you will likely find out what will be reinforcing for him or her in that moment.
Reprinted with permissionfrom the Florida Autism Center www.flautism.com with a new location in World Golf Village.
by Teri L. Wesselman, Owner, Brain Balance
Sure signs of UNDER-connectivity in your child’s brain can be detected in his behavior, academic skills, and/or social skills. For example, is your child’s behavior disruptive in the classroom to the extent it interferes with his learning and/or the teacher’s ability to teach? Is homework time complete mayhem? Is your child really bright yet struggles to make and/or keep friends? Is your child very athletic but struggles with reading, spelling, and/or math? Are these challenges unduly placing a great deal of stress on the entire family and/or your marriage?
If you answered “YES!” to one of these questions, then most likely your child’s brain is UNDER-connected!
Children who have UNDER-connectivity in the brain are typically diagnosed with or suspected of “having” ADHD, Autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, Dyslexia, ODD, OCD, Tourette’s, Learning Processing Disorder, and other learning disabilities. Under-connectivity does not imply brain damage or a brain pathology. In fact, under-connectivity is simply representative of a “functional disconnect” in areas of the brain, especially between the two hemispheres, where communication between the two is broken or impaired. As a result, one hemisphere of the brain becomes STRONGER and FASTER while the other becomes WEAKER and SLOWER. This communication can be compared to one side using high-speed broadband connection to communicate while the other side is still relying on an old dial-up modem. With a lack in balance and effectiveness in communication, noticeable academic, social, and behavioral difficulties arise. These difficulties can significantly impact one child more so than another. And to what degree these differences impact a child is what determines the child’s diagnosis.
Typically, a child with a RIGHT brain weakness/delay can be described as: clumsy, hyperactive, anxious, impulsive, distractible, emotionally reactive, socially awkward and/or immature, having obsessive/repetitive behaviors, having allergies/asthma, and lacking interest in sports. Most RIGHT brain weak children who have been formally tested are diagnosed with ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder, OCD, Non-Verbal Learning Disorder, and Reactive Attachment Disorder.
A child with a LEFT brain weakness/delay typically displays symptoms such as: poor math, verbal, and/or spelling skills, poor decoding skills, fine motor problems, auditory processing difficulty, poor memory for details, missing the small details, low self-esteem, lacking motivation, and having a weak immune response (catches whatever is going around). LEFT brain delayed children are typically those diagnosed with Dyslexia, Expressive/Receptive Processing Disorder, and other learning disabilities.
Regardless if your child exhibits more RIGHT or LEFT brain weakness symptoms, addressing the root cause, the faulty communication between the two hemispheres, with a holistic, multi-sensory approach will restore balance within the child. Through intense and frequent sensory, motor, and cognitive activities directed exclusively to the weaker hemisphere accompanied with nutritional support to achieve optimum brain and body function, development of new pathways and stronger connections within the weaker regions of the brain are realized. These new pathways and improved connections increase processing speeds which promote and enhance communication between the right and left hemispheres. Balance is restored resulting in improved self-modulation, increased focus and attention, boost in self-confidence, and a dissolution of disruptive behaviors leading to improved academic skills/grade, increased self-awareness and hence, development of appropriate social skills. Such balance restoration brings harmony and healing to the child and the family.
The Brain Balance Program does all the above, but most importantly, brings hope to families of children who suffer with behavioral, social, and academic challenges. The specialized achievement center utilizes a drug-free, multi-faceted approach to address the underlying issues in the learning disorders, diagnosed and undiagnosed, that afflict so many precious children today.