Neural Plasticity Works!!May 12, 2022
When this research came out in the nineties, it was an instant hit and more hope sprung eternal for all! Our brain remains pliable for change until the day we pass from this earth. Gone were the days that when a “ceiling” was reached, the only thought was that this was going to be as far as we could take a child. No, endless possibilities opened! When I reach a “ceiling” now, my thought is rather: “What do I not know yet? What else must I investigate?” And due to technology, the information age and multiple wonderful advances in research related to human behavior, it remains a continuous journey of learning! Oh, so much joy as well! For the sake of privacy, I will change their names, but I would like to recall some cases from the past to illustrate the beauty of this truth that is with us today.
I remember well the day when both Ronnie’s parents were in my office, crying out for help for their child. The tears were flowing freely as they described a young man in his early elementary years, diagnosed with Autism and living through several severe meltdowns per day, strongly oppositional to all expectations. With what we knew at that time, we worked with him for 5 years, more intensely in the beginning and less intensely in the last 2 years. His mom wrote me a recent e-mail:
“Hope you’re doing well! We are in full college mode over here for Ronnie, and I’m trying to let that sink in just a little, because I remember when…
He has applied to MIT (his dream school), Cornell, Princeton, Harvard, Drexel, Temple, Virginia Tech, and Alabama. As we did some research, he discovered that MIT and the Ivy Leagues are probably not the best fit, even though they’re great programs. His first choice is Alabama. They downloaded his application 2 weeks and 1 day ago, and today, he has the acceptance letter in hand. He’s waiting to hear from a couple other colleges, but I think this is where my precious, precious boy is going to end up next year! Maude, there are almost no words! How do I say thank you? We will definitely come see you all before he moves to wherever he lands. Please let me know when you might be available for a pop in visit and hugs! Love to you, thank you for sharing your gift of understanding hearts and minds.”
How amazing is that? The work we did as a team to support Ronnie and his family was targeted intervention that supported both the neural mechanisms as well as his emotional mental health. Ronnie was able to live in his own skin and is ready to take on the world! Such a bright, smart young man!
We also worked with Helen, who followed a much shorter, yet intense route. And we received this update from her parent late last year. We worked with her sister the year before with a really good result as well!
“I thought you would enjoy hearing how Helen is doing…..
So as you know 4th grade was a terrible year – we took a leap of faith and tried our public school this fall. Seeing how happy Linda is – I just couldn’t let go of the idea that Helen deserved to have the very same wonderful type of community to call home. Long story short we visited the school and loved it – this was somewhat surprising to me – but what I have learned is that Catholic schools are very structured and so for a kid that leans in that ADD direction, it can be really great… she started on January 3rd and it was the best decision we ever made!
Anyway – attached are screenshots of Helen’s grades this past fall – this kid went from a small private school to a large public school and earned straight A’s (with no special modifications)- her teacher told me she was blown away by her – she can EASILY write long stories now…. the gym teacher noticed nothing about her – she actually did really well on all those fall fitness tests….The school is much harder in terms of spelling words and lots of science and history to learn – but the quality of what they are learning is so much better….So, here is finally a kid who looks relaxed and happy, she has found her place, and she is succeeding!
PS – Linda is doing great – also straight A’s – scored advanced on our state exams, has lots of friends, was a lead in the fall musical, and has had a few big time auditions in NYC – hasn’t landed anything yet, but she is doing great! As always, our hearts are full of gratitude for you!”
I so love it when families remember us later and have already written several updates in this blog section on “blasts from the past”. Permit me one more e-mail written in January 2022.
“Hi to two of my favorite humans! I wanted to reach out and bring some closure to a journey only you two can fully situate. When I reached out back in 2005, I was a tired, worried mom with a toddler with way too much energy. The peace and acceptance you helped me infuse into my family is something that I have held on forever. I know you helped Amy; but your programming gave me space, both literally and conceptually, to see my toddler without judgment. I began to understand her, and in doing so, over time, was able to help her understand herself. What a wonderful journey we have had together.
I am so, so proud of my daughter. You would be, too. Not ‘just’ for her accomplishments…but she is the kindest, most authentic version of herself that she could be. I truly don’t think we would have gotten here without you two, and your dedication to children with differences. Words are not enough, but please know I think of you two often and you both hold a very special place in my heart.
I am attaching her college essay, which was written from the heart, without assistance and earned her acceptance letter to her first choice college. I wish I could show you her art work…she went through the Honors/AP Art program and her work is exceptional (and currently on display at a regional art show. Yes, time has flown. And I really wanted you to see the outcomes, decades later of your amazing program. So much love to you both and hope you are both well.”
Yes, we have been at it since 2001, though we started the intensive route in 2003! And we are grateful for the knowledge that passed our way to help kids and families thrive. Our intensive route asks for a stronger time, emotional and financial commitment, but it truly delivers! And the results last over time. Do we get perfection? I am not sure what that would look like for each child, but we do support children to become who they need to be; children who are happy and ready to take on the world! Perhaps another time, I will write stories of the adults we are helping, since it is never too late to help anyone!
From the bottom of my heart, I thank each and every family that has placed their trust in us to help them! We are truly grateful!
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