25 April 2009

Brain Balance Helps Kids With Autism

Posted By: Donna Lowry

ATLANTA - On a recent day, Curry Harris, 14, is walking on a balance beam while wearing glasses with blue lenses that flashes lights on the left side every few seconds.
Curry is undergoing a session at the Brain Balance Center in Peachtree City, where he spends several days a week getting a combination of therapies to strengthen the right side of his brain. Therapists at the Brain Balance Center have diagnosed Curry on the autism spectrum and are working to strengthen the right side of his brain.

Dr. Robert Melillo is a chiropractic neurologist, professor, and researcher in childhood neurological disorders who founded the Brain Balance Centers and says with proper treatment, the symptoms of autism can disappear.

"He (Curry) is a child with typical right hemispheric delays, so we're going to use his left side of his world to exercise his right side of his body and his brain," says Melillo of Curry.

The Brain Balance approach seeks to strengthen either the right hemisphere of the brain for neurological disorders such as autism and ADHD and the left side of the brain for obsessive-compulsive disorder and dyslexia.

The basis of Dr. Robert Melillo's Brain Balance research is a drug-free approach for what he calls disconnected kids.
"What happens is you end up getting a child who can't really use their whole brain at the same time," he explains.

The Brain Balance Centers treats everything from diet to physical, sensory and academic areas. Three months of treatment in the program would cost on average about $6200.

"For instance, word reading would strengthen the left side of the brain, but reading comprehension strengthens the right side," Mellillo explains.

Curry's parents say he's progressed more than they could imagine.
"Curry's grade levels have come up," Aneta Harris, Curry's mom, explains. "His math, I think he's come up 2 or 3 grade levels in math. Reading comprehension has come way up."

"We think we can get a kid to their age level within a 3-6 month period," Melillo insists.

Every kid with autism?
Melillo admits "Not every child is going to get to a normal typical level," and the program may not make major differences in a child on the more severe end of the autistic spectrum, but he believes even those children can show improvement with therapy.

Curry's parents say while he is still a work in progress, they're pleased that he no longer has anger outbursts and isn't as socially awkward.
"Socially he has become a little more aware of people around him," his mom explains. "He's giving us hugs at home which weren't done before."
Dr. Melillo will talk about brain balance and sign copies of his book, Disconnected Kids, on April 23 at 7:00pm at the Sheridan Suites at Cobb Galleria.
The Brain Balance Centers located in Roswell, Suwanee and Peachtree Center will have a booth at theGeorgia Walk for Autism on May 3 at Atlantic Station.

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