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Struggling Learner to THRIVING Achiever

Updated: Mar 4, 2020

We waited seven years for our first son, and he was perfect in every way except for sleeping and napping and eating and, eating and napping and sleeping, and the list goes on and on.…but really, he was a great toddler, began talking when he was about one, and started reading at three. No problem! We got this parenting thing down….or so we thought. He was the pickiest eater ever. Well, we all know that toddlers can be pretty picky, but to not even want to look at your chocolate cake for your first birthday or want to taste the homemade ice-cream…I though it peculiar.

Then came our precious middle son…weighing just over ten pounds at birth to his one hundred twenty pound momma, broke his clavicle upon entrance into the world, he had to have his tongue clipped when he was days old due to nursing complications, and walked at just nine months so he could be his big brother’s shadow, our world changed, to say the least when this precious boy’s eyes met ours. Little did I know that this would later lead me to gain knowledge and insight into brain balance learning and primitive reflex integration.

Two years later came our third son, and he was born hearing impaired. Multiple tests were run and frequent visits to the audiologists were made just to learn that he had no nerve endings for hearing on his right side, and we were instructed to do as much as we could to protect the hearing he did have. I was continually asked if I did anything during pregnancy, to which I would cry and have hurt feelings, I mean I was the youngster who never partook of any kind of drinking or drugs or alcohol of any kind, and I couldn’t believe I was being asked these questions. I just felt like such a failure. You can imagine how difficult it was.

Our prayer was the Christian school would open in time for our oldest to attend kindergarten, and it did. I had two little ones at home, and I didn’t really think much about the hearing impairments or the broken clavicle or walking at nine months that is until….

During homeschool days,

I remember the very first week of homeschool…it was devastating for my middle son and I as we were both in tears, and I couldn’t believe this was happening. Sight words were tragic…he just could not grasp “say”, “when”, “what”, “where”, .etc.… I was in tears, angry and so was he.

I tried volcano spelling, ketchup spelling, jump spelling, dance spelling, anything I learned in my college career, we tried it, you name it, we tried it. Here I was a doctor of education and I could not help my child read. I felt like a failure once again, I did not know what to do.

It got to where I just dreaded the homeschool days because I did not know what to do. I knew what I learned in college that I needed to really extend the short vowel sounds and use a mirror for letters and sounds in order to optimize the time we did have on task, and we did. Those strategies really did work, but only to end in tears the following day because it was all do over again from the very beginning, it was like nothing was even taught the day prior, so needless to say, every day would have tears. It was horrible, to say the least.

I would call his dad while at work, and he would try to talk to him and encourage him on the phone. Looking back on it now, I see that this child really did try. He was giving it his all. He just was not able to connect the letters and meaning in his brain.

I knew this was not the way it should be. I am an educator, and I had a child who was struggling.

I had some classes on Brain Balance and Brain-Based learning while in college, and then one of the school districts in which I taught began to incorporate such learning into the classroom. It was quite amazing really, as I think back on it, but little did I know I would need to pull that out of my tool belt with my own child after being home for almost 5 years just being a mom for a while.

I began to integrate some of what I remembered one summer, and I saw immediate success which encouraged me to continue my education and take some more classes in this. I did, and I then learned all about retained primitive reflexes and how they could negatively affect learning if not integrated by certain ages. Primitive reflexes are found at the base of the brainstem, and in order for higher-level learning to occur, the primitive reflexes need to be integrated.

I learned to check all of the milestones and I realized that none of our children had all of their primitive reflexes completely integrated. I did not realize they were hanging on to them. Country living allowed for our boys to play outside a lot and had a lot of free play, so I did not think anything about it needing to be intentional about using those infant reflexes so they could become integrated.

Then I realized, our firstborn who began reading at the age of three, a bright student, self-learned, was a toe-walker, and he could not even taste any of his food. I had ah-ha moment when I realized the olfactory sense was not functioning as it should. Who would have thought the sense of smell could affect learning in such a significant way… well, it certainly can. He had a simple brain imbalance. I learned that I needed to actually isolate the weak side of the brain and do easy exercises with him to help strengthen it, so we did, and for the first time, he actually said, “Wow, mom, I can taste my food!”

Our second son just could not connect letters and words together. He had such choppy reading and would literally sound every single letter. He could comprehend what he had just read, and couldn’t figure out why or how he could do that, and then I began to learn how his brain actually functioned. He had a heavy right brain and weaker left brain. You see when the brain gets out of balance; we simply need to strengthen the weak side so it can communicate once again with the opposite side. I knew I needed to help him strengthen his left side because that is the word form area and where reading occurs.

Dyslexia is REAL, and this was the struggle with him. These kids work twice as hard, often get headaches and tire quickly. There is GOOD NEWS! We worked really hard for 6 weeks. I decided to have peace inside of myself to take a break from curium for 6 weeks and just focus on primitive reflexes first. THIS was truly a game-changer for us.

These precious children are brilliant, they really are. They are the successful entrepreneurs who may not have been successful in school…BUT…they are the best problem solvers and learn how to pick up the pieces and keep going. Failure is not an option for them. Just like our middle son learned during his language lesson on maxims last week… “If at first, you don’t succeed, try, try again.” T.H. Palmer.

Our hearing impaired child has been doing exercise to strengthen the weak side of his brain as well. We have not been back to the audiologist, but I know that the more neurons that fire together wire together and we have been working hard on getting them all fired up. It is my prayer when we return to the audiologist, he will see healthy neurons present…God is still working miracles.

Can you imagine how difficult it must be for children who have the two hemispheres of the brain out of sync where they cannot even communicate with one another, especially now that we know the left hemisphere actually controls the word form area and the right side does the comprehension...WOW! Once these get back in sync, they can start talking to each other again, and it's SO EASY. You can do all of this in the comfort of your own home and do not have to spend hundreds of dollars on special equipment.

Right now, there are homeschool moms and teachers everywhere struggling just to help the struggling learners in their care and are willing to do whatever it takes to get REAL RESULTS, RESULTS that LAST, LONG TERM RESULTS. I hope this is an encouragement to you wherever you are on your homeschool journey. Our lives all look a little bit different, but in the end, we all want what is best for our precious children entrusted to us by God the Creator.

Is every day beautiful? No! Is reading our dyslexic child’s favorite subject? No.

Yes, we still have bad days here and there, but you know what...MOST days are productive and the best part is he LIKES to read and is THRIVING in all academic areas. Our former picky eater, heavy right-brained son is now 13, and he just finished taking the ACT exam for the DUKE TIP honors program, our middle son is reading books that he wants to read, and our youngest hearing-impaired son is full of JOY and loves writing in his "journal." God is faithful. They are THRIVING ACHIEVERS. I'm sure we have difficult days ahead, but you know what, we are READY! We now know how to overcome the brain imbalances, and yes, they may come back, but now we have the tools for the job!

Now, I get to homeschool, administrate the small Christian school, and work with children within our community as well as across the globe with brain imbalances helping them and their families THRIVE! What a privilege and blessing it is.

I liken what Cherish Children Ministries does to coaching a sport's team. Not every coach played professional sports. Success as a player is not necessary to be a good coach. Great coaches know the game better than the players. Parents know their kids better than anyone. Your expertise has to do with crafting strategies and helping your children see what they can't see while they are in the game of learning. Coaches focus on how to make bodies move in the right ways to get maximum performance from their players just as you, parents focus on ways to maximize your child’s performance along the educational road. Parents enable gifted children to perform to their highest God-given potential because they can convey the right kind of information that causes growth, self-awareness, and flexibility in critical moments. THIS is what I get to do, and I am passionate about it.

You see, I don’t have any special power that you don’t have. YOU know your kids! Your kids are smart, and they WILL SUCCEED with the right protocol and with the right dose of love and encouragement, you will THRIVE.

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