Dr. Mark Goldenberg of the Brain Balance Center of Norwalk was recently featured in a local newspaper. The article, “City home to newest Brain Balance Center“, can also be found on The Norwalk Citizen website.
City home to newest Brain Balance Center
– by David Hennessey
Greenwich mom Tracy was searching for options to help treat her 14-year-old son’s autism spectrum disorder when she met Dr. Mark Goldenberg.
Goldenberg, executive director of the Brain Balance Center in Norwalk, which recently held a ribbon cutting ceremony, was in attendance at an autism fair last fall when Tracy approached him, seeking information.
She was looking for alternative therapy to the standard medicinal treatment methods that can sometimes produce lackluster results with complex disorders, like autism. More than that, she wanted a comprehensive approach to her son’s condition that would attempt to get at the root of his problem.
And while Tracy, who asked that her last name be withheld, said she is “familiar with the science” of hemispheric balancing — a type of treatment philosophy that seeks to sync both sides of the brain so that they are firing optimally — she admitted in an interview with the Citizen that she has a –¦healthy sense of skepticism” about treatment plans for a spectrum of disorders that have proved relentlessly difficult to treat.
“The thing that struck me about [Brain Balance's approach to treatment] is that they promise a therapy without medication,” she said.
After some consideration and an initial screening, Tracy decided to bring her son to the Brain Balance Center for therapy, which opened at the beginning of the year. He began the first of his 36 sessions in January. Only six remain.
“There has absolutely been benefit from it,” she said. “He’s speaking better. He’s demonstrated more impulse control. It used to be that if we were in a store, and he wanted a Coke or a candy bar and didn’t get it, it would provoke a tantrum. Now there’s more agreement….Overall, he’s communicating more age appropriately. The results have been measurable.”
Recent weeks have been a breath of fresh air for both Tracy and her son — there has at last been incremental improvement in his behavior without an overreliance on medication. And though Tracy says her son still takes some prescription medication, including Ritalin, she credits the comprehensive nutritional, auditory and visual therapies employed by the Brain Balance program for his progress.
Melillo’s professional expertise and drive to find a cure for neurobehavioral disorders started 15 years ago after seeing the life-altering changes that occurred within a child he had worked with. From that point, he has devoted himself to the study of learning disabilities and behavioral disorders in children, according to a website devoted to the program.
Driven by his deep interest in and intensive studies of neuro-behavioral challenges, he developed Hemispheric Integration Therapy (H.I.T.) — a multi-modal approach to the remediation of ADHD, dyslexia, autism, Asperger’s, Tourette’s, learning disabilities, and processing disorders along with other neurobehavorial disabilities found in children. This approach was the precursor to and foundation for the current day Brain Balance Program which Mellilo founded to help children with neuro-behavioral deficits improve their academic, social and behavioral functions.
Melillo and Fowler began organizing the Brain Balance Centers in 2006. Brain Balance Center is now a 29-center nationwide franchise company.
“The goal of the program is to optimize and improve children not only intellectually, but socially,” Goldenberg said.
With treatment available to kids as young as five through the high school years, Brain Balance first evaluates those who come for treatment for an array of neurobehavioral disorders, including AD/HD, dyslexia, autism and other learning disabilities. This three-day assessment tests sensory motor skills and cognitive abilities. It also evaluates quality of diet and nutritional deficiencies.
After evaluating a child’s condition, Goldenberg will outline a plan for treatment to address the functional disconnect in the brain that plagues those with neurobehavioral disorders. According to Goldenberg, the common thread that links these disorders is a miscommunication between the left and right sides of the brain. In an interview with the Citizen, he used the analogy of a symphony to better illustrate the point.
“In a perfectly tuned orchestra everyone is playing synchronized, playing at the same time,” he said. “In people with these disorders, it’s the same as having the percussion playing a fast tempo and maybe the strings playing at a slower tempo, in a different key….Areas of the brain are just not processing at the same rate.”
“Our goal is to improve that unevenness,” he said.
The Brain Balance Center employs a variety of tests and therapies, from word problems and math reasoning, to balance beams and futuristic-looking glasses and earpieces that help stimulate a child’s auditory and visual systems.
“We progressively challenge them as they improve in each level of function,” Goldenberg explained. “The goal is to help as many kids as we can.”
According to Goldenberg, in an outcome study of 60 AD/HD children who went through the Brain Balance program, 82 percent of the children no longer met the criteria for AD/HD. Thirty percent of the children improved four grade levels. And 100 percent of the children exhibited some improvement. The study was published in the International Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health.
“The program is a very comprehensive approach,” Goldenberg said. “And it’s all grounded in science.”
“I think it’s all very credible. I would encourage parents to go to the initial screening,” Tracy said. “Now I don’t hear, `Mom, I don’t want to get in the car.'”
Want to learn more about the Brain Balance Program®? Contact a center near you!