For 25 years Dr. Jacqueline “Jackie” Winchester Davis worked in the education field, eventually becoming principal of a prestigious college prep day school in Plantation, Florida.
Over time she became increasingly concerned by the fact that children with learning challenges had so few options for academic success.
“I wanted to get to the root of learning disabilities instead of just putting a Band-Aid on the problem, like tutoring,” she said. “Tutoring simply wasn’t enough.”
First steps on her neurofeedback journey
Hearing one day about neurofeedback and brain mapping, which could reveal what was happening inside the brain, set the wheels in motion for Jackie.
She wondered if neurofeedback could be the answer for helping learning-challenged kids finally achieve academic success without those difficult daily struggles. She began a research journey, reading everything she could find.
The more she read, the more impressed she became. Then one day she asked herself a radical question: Would it make sense to give up her secure job as a school administrator and start a neurofeedback-based business helping children with learning disabilities—doing something that might really make a difference?
Before making such a drastic life change, Jackie decided to enroll in an introductory neurofeedback course. The goal was to learn much more than she could just from reading, and to have some hands-on experience.
Neurofeedback 101 course a turning point in her career
Mike Cohen’s Neurofeedback 101 course in May of 2017 was exactly what she wanted. There was also the additional benefit that Jupiter was only slightly more than an hour’s drive north of Plantation.
By the end of the third day, Jackie had decided. She was going to take a leap of faith, leave her lucrative school position and open a neurofeedback-based practice with an educational emphasis. “I was sold,” Jackie said. “I knew that this was something I had to do. It was a turning point in my career.”
Casual, approachable teaching style with no selling agenda
Jackie said she appreciated Mike’s comfortable, casual teaching style that didn’t create overload. She also enjoyed the fact that she was able to do hands-on learning on fellow students.
“Mike is approachable and easy to talk to,” she said. “The first time I met him I felt like I knew him already. He’s never intimidating. No question is too ridiculous to ask. He always confirms with you to make sure you understood the explanation.”
She also appreciated the fact that Mike had no agenda to market any particular type or brand of neurofeedback equipment to students.
“For Mike it’s about the client and the training and not about selling products,” she said.
Once Jackie had made up her mind to move forward, she huddled with Liz Doyle, the Center for Brain Training’s Director of Education, to discuss the best types of equipment for what Jackie wanted to do in her new business.
“Liz was very accommodating in explaining the features of different types of equipment,” recalled Jackie. “I was interested in equipment that would be best for people with learning disabilities. She helped me figure that out.”
One-on-one instruction and mentoring
Jackie had been unable to attend the first half of the first day of the course. To avoid joining in with a deficit in the foundational material, she arranged with Mike to spend a half day with him the day before the class started, receiving one-on-one instruction. When she later began working on BCIA certification (which she has now earned), she was able to apply those hours to her mentoring requirement.
“The time I spent one-on-one with Mike was awesome,” she said. “Mike hooked me up and let me do a session. When I arrived late to class, I was already up to speed.”
Opening her neurofeedback business
In August of 2017 Jackie debuted her business, BrainPlast, in Plantation, Florida.
She describes her business as “mixing neurofeedback with education.” It serves both adults and children. Her neurofeedback equipment is the 19-channel BrainMaster.
“With kids I do neurofeedback and some tutoring in neuro-reading or neuro-math,” she explained. “We don’t work on the child’s daily assignments but rather their overall functionality in school. For instance, I work on the reading network using tools like puzzles or different software for visual perception. The younger ones will do a trampoline or balancing.
Among offerings for her adult clients are the Vielight and a massage chair with Braintronics.
A “great” foundation
“I’m really happy that the first course I took was Mike’s,” Jackie said. “It gave me a great foundation. When I took other courses later with other instructors, I realized by comparison what a positive difference his teaching style and personal touch makes. I would recommend his class 100%.”