As a parent, it is painful to watch your child struggle socially, behaviorally and academically. Yet understanding why they are struggling and how best to help them is often a confusing and frustrating process. Whether your child has a formal diagnosis or not, understanding the root cause, or what is happening in the brain of a child with these challenges, is critical to effectively addressing the problem.

Understanding the Underlying Problem

A properly functioning brain communicates between both hemispheres, as well as within each hemisphere, at lightning speed. Think of these communications like runners in a relay race: They connect, pass on information, and release, repeating this process millions of times a minute. In a poorly functioning brain, these runners are often out of sync, missing each other or passing on only partial information. This miscommunication is called Functional Disconnection and is at the root of all types of learning, behavior and social problems.

A Functional Disconnect

Functional Disconnection Syndrome (FDS) explains the symptoms we see in a long list of neurological disorders, including but not limited to, ADHD, learning disabilities, Tourette’s syndrome, OCD, sensory processing disorder and Asperger’s. All these conditions are the result of either a right- or left-brain deficit; the symptoms are different depending on the side of the brain and the area(s) affected. No matter what label you attach to it they all fall under the umbrella of FDS. It does not mean that the brain is diseased or damaged in any way, because it is not. It is simply not developing as it should. A functional disconnect can occur at any time during brain development, even in the womb, but it generally remains undetected until obvious symptoms begin to appear.

The Symphony of the Brain

A brain out of balance is like a symphony out of tune. The key to the both sides playing beautiful music together is that each musician must not only play the right notes, but he must play them at precisely the right time.

The notes are constantly changing from moment to moment – the strings join in, go out, crescendo, pause. The same with the horns. All the time this ebb and flow must be perfectly timed.

On occasion a musician might miss a beat without notice, but if the conductor focuses on the right and doesn’t pay attention to the left, the players on the left can get confused, slow down or even stop. The two sides get out of harmony. Suddenly, the music they were playing doesn’t sound familiar at all. The exact same thing happens in the brain of a child with FDS.

The Brain is Changeable

It was once thought that the brain was static, unable to grow or change. But extensive research and in depth study of epigenetics has shown that it’s remarkably adaptable, able to create new neural pathways in response to stimulus in the environment. This is a branch of science called neuroplasticity. Additionally, it is now understood that the difficulties associated with a wide range of learning disorders and neurobehavioral issues result primarily from environmental influences that affect genetic expression and are, therefore, often correctable. Because the brain can change, and because difficulties can be corrected, children suffering from Functional Disconnection can be greatly helped.

To learn more about why our whole-child approach is the most effective way to help your child, contact us online or find a center near you.

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