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Struggling Eighth Grader Matures, Makes Honor Roll in Five Months

“Anika” was exhausted. Every night she spent two hours sitting at a table with her son, 14-year-old “Sai,” reading and explaining his homework assignments to him.

Clean clothes piled up, unfolded, on the laundry room table. Dirty dishes from dinner sat in the sink unwashed. (She just had to stop looking). And by the time Anika made it to the gym, morning or night, the mother of three didn’t know whether to walk on the treadmill or lie down on it and take a nap.

Life was hard for Sai, too. He wanted to succeed in school, but he only managed to consistently earn C’s and D’s.

All that changed after undergoing neurofeedback sessions over a five-month period. Not only did he start doing homework without assistance, but he made the honor roll for the first time in his life.

Fifth grade concerns of being left behind

The parents of two older children in gifted programs, Anika and her husband became concerned about Sai when he was in fifth grade. Besides making less-than-stellar grades, he had the maturity, behavior and vocabulary of a child two years younger.

His sentences were “unstructured and sloppy,” Anika said. He could read, but he couldn’t comprehend what he was reading. He had trouble understanding abstract concepts. He struggled with problem-solving. He had immature social skills. He often found himself on the outside looking in around other kids his age, and he was frequently bullied at school.

There were times Sai would become so frustrated and angry at not being able to express himself that he would throw things. Plus, he couldn’t do his homework without help from Anika.

Exhausting efforts that often didn’t pay off

“I had to be with him every night when he did his homework and explain everything,” said Anika. “It was very time-consuming.”

Tests were always a nightmare for Sai. Even if he knew the material, he had trouble comprehending the questions.

“If he got one or two B’s on his report card, I was thrilled,” said Anika.

As Sai headed into seventh grade, his parents sent him to another school. Although he still struggled academically, the teachers’ proactive approach to bullying helped relieve that pressure from Sai’s challenges.

Professional evaluation

Concerned he might have ADD, Anika took Sai to a psychologist for an evaluation just before entering eighth grade. The psychologist told Sai’s parents she wasn’t sure exactly what the problem was. She suspected that parts of his brain weren’t communicating well and recommended he try neurofeedback at the Center for Brain Training. (“I had never heard of neurofeedback,” Anika said, “but I was willing to try it because I definitely didn’t want him taking medication.”)

A brain map

Before beginning his training, Sai had a connectivity brain map done at the Center for Brain Training office. The brain map revealed that certain parts of his brain weren’t communicating efficiently with other parts.

“And that explained why he was struggling so much,” Anika said.

Improvement after two months of neurofeedback training

After a couple of months of neurofeedback training, Sai began better understanding abstract concepts. His speech, sentence structure and vocabulary improved. He gained maturity more appropriate for his age and, at long last, began doing his homework without any help from Anika.

A follow-up brain map after 15 sessions revealed definite improvement in his brain’s connectivity.

Making the honor roll – first time ever!

The day he made the honor roll for the first time was thrilling for Anika, her husband and for Sai. It also caused a spike in Sai’s level of self-confidence. They celebrated by going out to dinner.

Life gets easier

While Sai has experienced powerful changes in himself, he isn’t the only one who benefitted from his neurofeedback training. Anika said his improvements have had a significant impact on her, too.

“Life is much easier for me now, and I’m not as stressed as I used to be,” she said. “Not having to sit with him every night while he does his homework gives me more time for myself, and I’m able to get everything done that needs to be done without being stressed and exhausted.

“It’s wonderful seeing my son doing better,” she continued. “He’s participating more in class and getting better grades. His confidence has improved, and his social skills are better. He more effectively communicates how he feels, and his vocabulary has increased. Life is less stressful for Sai and everyone else in the family. I’m glad we started this journey and appreciate all that Mike (Cohen) and the staff at the Center for Brain Training has done to help.”

*Name changed to protect confidentiality.

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