Just over 3 months ago my daughter Sarah* (15) completed a course of neurofeedback training at Brain Care in Tweed heads. It has been completely life changing ! And I feel like I need to share a bit of her story.
Leading up to this over the past 2 years, Sarah*’s life had severly deteriorated. She had developed epilepsy and had to be on strong anti epileptic drugs to try and stop the extended and sometimes multiple tonic clonic seizures she was suffering that more often than not ended up with her in hospital for days at a time.
The trauma of the seizures and the impact of the diagnosis, along with the terrible side effects of the medication such as severe tiredness, total lack of motivation, very sad, very frustrated and angry to the point of rage, anxiety, feeling totally anti social when she had been the most social kid around before. At the last appointment we had with the neurologist before we underwent neurofeedback, they wanted to put her on another medication along with the original one, presenting a whole range of even more side effects.
To say this totally affected not only Sarah* but our whole family unit is an understatement, we were absolutely at our wits end.
Then under the guidance of Nerida Saunders at Brain Care Sarah* undertook her neuro feedback training and even after the first few sessions we could see noticeable differences in our girl. The training itself was easy and enjoyable for Sarah* in a very friendly, caring, safe and relaxed environment. (She was actually sad when it finished)
Since completing the training Sarah* has not had one single tonic clonic seizure !!!!!!!!!!!!!
And even if that was the only outcome then that would have been enough for us but there have been so many other amazing changes in her too. Such as-
-Less anxiety & stress
-Happier to go and involve herself in school
-Enjoying life more
-More pride in herself and more interested in self care such as diet
-Being able to think ahead and experience feelings of excitement
-Smiling more, laughing more and having such a better quality of life.
I cannot put into words how grateful we are for the training and I couldn’t recommend it highly enough. It has changed Sarah*’s life so much and our whole families life for the better.
*name changed for privacy
Brock is a 12-year-old boy who loves mechanics, cars and his pet guinea pigs.
His smile can, and often does, light up a room.
This hasn’t always been the case though.
At 3 years old, Brock was diagnosed with ASD. As a toddler, Brock accessed therapy services through HCWA funding. He was able to enrol in a mainstream school and with a high level of support, he was doing well at school. He experienced sensory, social and emotional difficulties and continued to see speech and OT therapists to try to help him develop strategies to improve his regulation and communication.
At 8 years of age, Brock regressed and was also further diagnosed with ADHD, Major Depressive Mood Disorder and OCD. He was at risk of not being able to continue at his mainstream school as they had said they could no longer support his needs. He was engaging in serious self-harm and violent behaviours and it was very difficult for his family to safely take him out in the community. His regular therapies were not having any success in helping him.
The family was at breaking point. Brock could not be left alone in the home and his mother could not work as Brock was not able to attend school for extended periods of time. His older sister was suffering as a result of the extreme dysfunction that Brock was experiencing, she was often the target of his violent behaviours and was feeling excluded from her parents due to the constant attention that Brock required simply to keep him safe. The relationships within the family unit were under immense strain, it was an incredibly difficult time for the whole family.
In the effort to find some relief; Brock’s mum began to research alternative, evidence based therapies that would be able to help Brock overcome his severe emotional, behavioural and sensory dysregulation.
She discovered the Brain Care clinic in Tweed Heads. After consulting with the Clinical Director at the clinic, Brock undertook an intensive therapy block at Brain Care.
Brock made significant progress after the first intensive block and as a result was able to continue at his school. There were still a multitude of concerns and Brock required further access to supports and therapies to continue to address the difficulties he was experiencing.
The financial cost to the family was something that stood in the way of Brock being able to continue accessing these life-changing therapies. However, in 2017 Brock was able to join the NDIS which allowed for him to continue accessing the clinic for further, much needed therapy.
In Brock’s NDIS planning meeting, Brock’s goals were to be able to access therapies and supports that would assist him in building his capacity to regulate his emotions, communicate, overcome anxiety and to relate better to changing circumstances.
Using his NDIS funding, Brock has continued to access therapy services at Brain Care.
Brock has had a number of assessments to show what areas of his brain were not functioning at their optimum. The results of these assessments and the goals set out in Brock’s NDIS plan then guided the clinicians to be able to set the therapy protocols and plans that are individualised and specific to Brock. The therapies used have helped minimise the effects of unhelpful brain patterns and to stimulate and shape the brain towards more desirable, more regulated performance. The therapy is fun and engaging and Brock really enjoys the experience. Which is a huge relief!
In the time that Brock has been accessing the therapies at Brain Care there have been remarkable changes. Brock is no longer a violent child. He is better able to communicate his emotions in a way that is safe for himself and his family. He is less rigid in his thoughts and expectations. With support from his family Brock is able to implement strategies that help him to better manage his behavioural and emotional responses.
Brock’s family is repairing and healing. His relationship with his sister beginning to blossom. The family are confident that even though there are still some significant issues to address, that Brock will continue to improve and will, with the support of his therapists and the NDIS, continue to make positive gains towards his goals.
Brock’s journey is one of putting all the pieces of the puzzle together one by one. Incorporating emotional, behavioural, cognitive, neurological and sensory aspects so that we have a clearer map of where he is at and where we need to steer his future therapies and goals in order to gain optimum results for him.
Thanks to the ongoing support from the NDIS and Brock’s therapists, Brock has the opportunity to continue to develop appropriate and safe strategies that will help him to reach his goals, to become more independent and to participate in social activities with his peers and his family.
I have been with Brain care from way back when it was called Solstice mind matters, and I’ll say this; Dr Saunders, Rustam and everyone at the clinic saved my life. I have savant autism- Aspergers- and without dr Saunders and the therapy I went through I would still be hiding under tables, having horrible meltdowns, and not being able to function in general, or even attend school, or university, or achieve my dreams. I haven’t yet achieved my dreams, but Dr Saunders was one of the first and the very few in my life who’ve always believed in me, and taught me that despite my being autistic, I am capable of doing anything I want in life. With her therapy, Im able to see things clearly, deal with social situations, and am able to “pass” socially when need be. I’m also able to better express myself than I had before, where everything in my head was a pure blur of sound and song and sight. I want to thank Dr Saunders for that, as everyone else at Brain care. Because without them, I think I wouldn’t even be here today.
Thank you. From the bottom of my heart.
Five stars and beyond for this clinic, and it’s board of dedicated, talented, incredibly passionate doctors and beings
John is a ten year old boy who catches the bus every morning to the local primary school where he is enrolled in Year 4. He enjoys STEM activities, art and Maths in class, and loves playing handball during break times. He also plays in the local soccer competition every Saturday morning, participates in swimming squad every Monday afternoon and does gymnastics two afternoons each week. He has also been diagnosed with Autism since he was five.
During this time, John and his family have been on quite a journey across two day care centres and three schools. John struggled with the stimulation surrounding him in these settings and frequently became very aggressive – hitting, biting, scratching and kicking teachers and other students. His parents came to fear the sound of their phones ringing and became regulars at meetings convened in order to address John’s behaviours. Mid way through John’s Year 1, his parents withdrew him from his school, where his placement had become untenable.
Since his diagnosis, John’s parents had used Government funding to access a paediatrician, Aspect Outreach services, speech therapy and behavioural therapy, all of which had very limited impact. Indeed, John’s aggressive behaviour escalated at home to the point where his parents had to resort to medication due the extreme nature of John’s physical aggression. Thankfully, John’s parents were able to enrol him in a nearby Aspect Special education class. The amazing teachers at this school did a wonderful job in managing John’s behaviour – the aggressive incidents became less frequent and John’s learning began to improve. John’s parents were able to ease him off his medication. However, the concerning behaviours were “stiil there” – John, his teachers and his parents were simply learning to manage them more effectively.
In 2017, using NDIS funding, John began working with the staff at Braincare. He was tested for specific deficiencies in his brain’s functioning and then began an evidence based treatment revolving around psychology and neurotherapy which was able to target identified areas of concern in his brain’s functioning. John’s treatment has been ongoing since that time, and has produced dramatic and life changing results for john and his family. John is much more in control of his emotions, is able to reflect on challenging circumstances where things have gone wrong and has not demonstrated a “red zone meltdown” for over two years. While John still struggles to form friendships, he is achieving success at school and in the community, and his parents overall consider his behaviour to be no better or worse than any other ten year old boy’s behaviour.
John will always benefit from support, but this support will be far less intrusive than what it might have been. John’s parents have no doubt that the amazing work being done by Braincare has been a key player in John’s story.