When Ross reached Grade 0, age 4 turning 5 that year in November, his teacher called me in and suggested that he needs to be assessed as he cannot do simple things like holding a pencil, follow instructions, sitting still at story time etc. One thing that I will never forget was when the class was asked to make a mosaic coaster for Mother’s Day. Ross simply squirted the glue onto his piece of wood, dropped the tiles in a pile in the middle and that was his effort in making a coaster – this after the teacher explained to him exactly how he should make it. All his drawings was literally scribbles all over the paper, nothing made sense. Everything was coloured in once single colour with no detail – just scribbling all over the page. She was also concerned about his speech as you could not hear / understand what he is saying. He could not explain himself, did not know what certain things were called (although he had been told a number of times) and the only one to understand him was his older sister who would speak for him when we did not know what he was trying to say.
I made an appointment to have him assessed, the cost then was R2,800. I was not 100% convinced that it is the right thing to do, after all, he is only 4 years old!! Good grief, are they not supposed to just play at that age?? I was also concerned that I will pay that kind of money for a piece of paper telling me he will need OT, speech therapy, eye tests etc. Each of which will come with their own assessment fees before the actual work will start. He was still a little boy – I am very much aware that he has shortcomings but I was not convinced that it was the right age to start with all the treatment and assessments. A week before the appointment the office called to confirm the appointment as they have someone else who would like the appointment if we cannot make it. Without hesitation I cancelled the appointment. My thoughts where that he is an end of the year baby, born in November, therefore for all practical reasons, he is about 10 months younger than his class mates. The kids born in January the same year as he would by November be sitting, crawling, pulling themselves up, feeding themselves, starting to say a word or two, and he would be a brand new new-born baby unable to do anything for himself. So I decided that his Grade R year would be the year I will see to all the assessments etc. and hopefully, with a bit of luck, the assessments will confirm that he can stay behind and repeat Grade R.
In his Grade 0 year I took him to have his hearing tested. The lady told me he is deaf, showed me her little machine and there was a flat line over the screen, confirming he is deaf…well, I battled to swallow that one because he could turn around and look at me when I called him, respond when spoken to etc. Never the less she revered us to a specialist and I took the appointment. He confirmed that there is no problem with his hearing what so ever he can hear perfectly, if anything it could be his tonsils and adenoids that are giving him trouble with his speech as they are enlarged. So we opted to have them all removed. Once they were out, his speech improved within a month to such an extent that you can hear what he was saying and today his speech is 100% without having had to go for speech therapy.
Grade R came and I contacted a school phycologist who confirmed that Ross will need occupation therapy and that he would recommend that Ross repeat Grade R due to his birthday being November and him being a boy. Needless to say I was relieved about that! I made an appointment with an Occupational Therapist, she assessed him and confirmed that he is a couple of months to a year behind what he should be at that stage. She gave me a home program which I followed and she saw him once every couple of weeks. At the end of the year he made good progress but I knew that he would not be ready for Grade 1 and was happy knowing that he will repeat Grade R. During the first and second term in Grade R (the second time round) he made great improvement and he understood much better but something was still amiss.
I researched Neuro-feedback Therapy during 2014 (his Grade 0 year) but there were no-one in East London who offered the program. Before the end of the second term I thought to find out about it again and there it was! Brain Gain was in East London! I immediately contacted Jessica and we arrange for an assessment for both my kids for the following Saturday. Both kids had to have 15 sessions and we decided to start immediately, 3 sessions a week. I was amazed how much Ross improved in just the day-to-day stuff. Previously he would come back from school not able to tell me what they did that day, what is happening that week (even though he was told that there will be an outing that Friday or that they are having a cake sale at school) or remember to take his show-and-tell every Friday. You could blew me over when he woke up on a Friday morning telling me that he need to wear his uniform because it is Friday. He will came back from school asking me to Google something that they were talking about in class that day. He can recall exactly what he did that day, who he played with, what they played etc.
When I ask him questions, I can see his is actually thinking, paging through the files in his head finding the right names or words. It is incredible to see that, in the past he would simply have said “I don’t know.” In the past the front door key or gate remote will always be missing with him taking it and putting it somewhere and no one can find it, you would ask him about it but he would be totally oblivious that there even was a key for the door! Then his friend and the friend’s 2year old sister came to visit. Upon leaving, we realised the front door key is gone. When asked about the keys he could recall that he locked the door because his friend’s 2year old sister wanted to go outside and he was scared she will get hurt because it was getting dark, he then locked the door and hide the key in his room. He managed to tell me all this in detail, fetch the key in his room and unlock the door! Best of all he remembered where he put the keys! When colouring in, he now use all the colours, defining the picture like it should be. Building puzzle, copying pictures, making patters etc. all seems to come easy to him. He counts everything and anything, so his counting improved as well! He follows instructions and can remember more than 3 instructions at a time – this is incredible to us! More than this, he used to wet his bed 4-5 times a week.
During his Brain Gain therapy I noticed an improvement and he now might have an accident once a week or once in 10 days – if that! I think that this, for any mother who battle with wet beds, will be worth every sent spend on Brian Gain! In the past he will sleep like a log, he will not wake up for anything. I notice the one night he got up twice to go to the toilet – something obviously is now “working” the way it should, telling him when he needs to go. Ross is much more alert, aware of his surroundings, able to recall information, remember names and places. When he tells me anything, his sentences are fuller, he is using more descriptive words and can express himself much better. I am interested to see his rapport at the end of the term and I am excited for him to start Grade 1 next year because I know he is now ready for it!
Rachel, his sister, is in Grade 2, she done the Brain Gain therapy with him. She struggled with maths and reading. It is not bad, but her teacher mentioned in her rapport that she will need to pay attention to it. I saw her teacher 2 weeks after Rachel completed the Brain Gain therapy and she said that Rachel is doing so well we do not need to worry. I am eagerly awaiting her rapport and will give you feedback on it as soon as I have the results. I will without a doubt suggest Brain Gain for every child. Not just those who struggle but also those who are gifted – they will only benefit! My husband also started Brain Gain therapy – he is on chronic epilepsy medication which makes him feel “fuzzy” and forgetful.
He done about 10 sessions and although he has a longer road ahead of him, he feels better already and we will give feedback once he completed his sessions.