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End the overwhelm.

Get a head start with my researched and field tested tool kit so that your child can thrive too.

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podcast

018: Robert Melillo – Functional Disconnection: What it is and how addressing the imbalanced brain is foundational to recovery.

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One of the most respected specialists in childhood neurological disorders in America, Dr. Robert Melillo has been helping children overcome learning disabilities for over 20 years. His areas of expertise include: autism spectrum disorders, PDD/NOS, ADD/ADHD, OCD, dyslexia, Asperger’s, Tourette’s, bipolar disorder, and other mental, attention, behavioral and learning disorders. He is also and expert in diet, nutrition and neuroimmune disorders in children and adults.

As a clinician for 25 years, a university professor, brain researcher, best selling author, radio and TV host, his cutting-edge research and success with over a thousand children in his private program are what led to the creation of Brain Balance Achievement Centers. Brain Balance Centers are cutting edge supplemental learning centers catering only to children with various learning disabilities. Brain Balance Centers use a multi-modal, hemispheric curriculum focused on addressing the primary issue in most learning disabilities and behavioral disorders which is known as a functional disconnection. Since he introduced this concept, functional disconnection has become one the leading theories in the world related to Autism, ADHD, Dyslexia and more. This work is leading the way toward understanding the underlying nature of these disorders and their causes.

In 2004, Dr. Melillo published Neurobehavioral Disorders of Childhood: An Evolutionary Perspective, a working theory textbook on developmental disabilities. This book continues to be utilized on both a graduate and undergraduate level in Universities around the world, it has been translated into Korean and Chinese. However, it was Dr. Melillo’s best-selling 2009 book, Disconnected Kids that catapulted him to national prominence. Greeted with overwhelming positive response, the thesis of that book serves as the foundation for the work being done at Brain Balance Centers around the country. Dr. Melillo’s leadership in the field, as well as his personal dedication to the creation of a drug-free multi-modal educational program for children with ADD/ADHD, dyslexia, Asperger’s, and autism spectrum disorders, have made him one of the most sought-after speakers on the subject today, both in the U.S. and abroad. Disconnected Kids has been translated into Chinese, Korean and Hebrew and there are French and Italian versions being completed now. He just completed the second edition of Disconnected Kids, which will be released in March of 2015.

His optimistic and straight-forward approach to overcoming childhood disorders has given hope to countless families throughout the world. His follow up book Reconnected Kids was released in 2011 and has also met with great success and has also been a best seller. This book was an inspirational book, which also helped parents to understand and address behavioral issues in their child using cutting edge brain science. His most recent and third book published by Penguin is a book simply entitled Autism, but it is another groundbreaking publication that takes on some very controversial topics. This book which was released in January 2013 addresses the causes of autism and whether in fact we are witnessing an epidemic and most importantly what are the environmental factors and genetic issues that increase the risk of a couple having a child with autism. He also has put together a cutting edge “preconception” program that he describes in the book to help to possibly prevent Autism and ADHD in a baby. He has a specialized practice in New York City where he works with children, and adults with ADHD and other neurological conditions. He is also working and conducting research on children with PANS, Pediatric acute neurological syndrome and PANDAS, which are neurological and immunological conditions that are poorly understood.

The latest book that Dr Melillo is working on is a Diet and Nutrition Book directed towards Kids and families with special needs, this book will also feature other authors, such as Grammy Award winner Zac Brown as well as other well-known chefs and authors, who will provide unique insight and recipes for this book. This book is also expected to be released in 2015.

As well as working with the Brain Balance Centers, Dr. Melillo is currently working with a group of international research labs as well teaching as a post graduate professor. He has been teaching his theories and techniques to health professionals around the world and has taught over 7000 professionals in several different countries and continents over the past 20 years. He continues to teach over 1000 hours a year to health care professionals, teachers, researchers and parent groups. He is also serving as a curriculum consultant to Grammy Award winning musical artist Zac Brown, of the Zac Brown Band, who is creating his own special camp, Camp Southern Ground for neurotypical children as well as children with disabilities and their families. Dr Melillo has also appeared in dozens of television interviews and appearances including “The Doctors Show” on CBS and he has frequently appeared on Fox News and NBC, as an expert commentator, he has also done several hundred radio and TV interviews, nationally and internationally.

In 2013 Dr Melillo started hosting a weekly national radio blog show called The Brain Balance Radio Show which highlights each week a different Brain Balance Centers and the communities they serve, he also has interviewed many of the parents and kids who have been through the Brain Balance Program and have personally related their incredible stories of hope and success. In 2014 Dr Melillo and his wife Carolyn also started a cable TV show called The Dr Rob Show, it is a health, entertainment and lifestyle show directed toward the special needs community, it has been met with critical acclaim and achieved great success in a short period of time.

Dr Melillo along with his partner Lisa Erhard created and produced Brain Balance Music, it is specifically designed hemispheric based music. There is no other music of its kind and it has been utilized by many health and education professionals, as well as the Brain Balance Centers to help improve brain function and balance in both children and adults.

Dr. Melillo is an affiliate professor of rehabilitation sciences at Nazareth Academic Institute and a senior research fellow with the National Institute for Brain and Rehabilitation Sciences and he is a post graduate professor of Childhood Developmental Disabilities. He holds a master’s degree in neuroscience, a master’s degree in clinical rehabilitation neuropsychology, and is completing his doctorate in the same subjects. He holds a doctorate in chiropractic, a Diplomate in Neurology, Fellowship American College of Functional Neurology, Fellowship American Board Childhood Developmental Disabilities, and is the executive director of the National Institute For Brain and Rehabilitation Sciences and The Children’s Autism Hope Project. He is also president emeritus of the International Association of Functional Neurology and Rehabilitation and the co-editor-in-chief of the professional journal Functional Neurology, Rehabilitation and Ergonomics. He has published numerous scientific papers and contributed chapters to 10 professional books. He has also made hundreds of conference presentations.

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Why Movement Therapies Help

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I spoke recently to Adeena Pelberg, holistic educator, about her experience with movement therapies for children with Autism, ADHD, Sensory Processing disorder and other neurodevelopmental disorders. Make sure you catch the whole podcast episode to hear from her why movement therapies help our kids by addressing the underlying dysfunction in their brains.

Her story began twenty years ago when her husband suffered a spontaneous brain hemorrhage followed by a traumatic brain injury and paralysis due to a fall down a flight of concrete stairs. When the surgeons finally operated on his brain, they left a hole that was visible on MRI.

Adeena was a schoolteacher at the time but quit to become her husband’s caretaker. She worked with him as he relearned all his basic functions, things like how to dress, how to bathe, how to tie his shoes, and how to do two simple tasks at the same time. During this time, Adeena became passionate about training him. She realized that if a grown man with a hole in his brain could go from being unable to do anything for himself to relearning how to properly function in the world, then so might children who she had worked with in the past, who suffer from developmental delays. They just needed the right training.

Listen to the full podcast to learn more about Adeena’s work with children using movement therapies like Masgutova Neurosensorimotor Reflex Integration (MNRI) and Rhythmic Movement Training (RMTi).

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How Susan Levin Recovered Her Autistic Son With The Son-Rise Program

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I recently interviewed Susan Levin, mother of 14-year old Ben, who received an autism diagnosis at the age of five. Ben’s story is inspiring and revolves around the Son-Rise Program, a parent-led program that is helping to recover children on the autism spectrum. In today’s article and podcast 007 learn how Susan recovered her son from autism through the Son-Rise program alongside biomedical, and social development therapies.

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How Neurofeedback Can Help Your Child

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Last week we talked about functional neurology and how it’s important to address brain function directly in conjunction with our efforts to address the brain indirectly with biomedical treatments and nutrition. Neurofeedback is one functional neurologic therapy that can help your child with a neurodevelopmental disorder like autism, ADHD, or sensory processing disorders.

I had the opportunity to interview a neurofeedback expert, John Mekrut, owner of The Balanced Brain Neurofeedback Training Center and a father of a daughter with multiple neurodevelopmental challenges, on the My Child Will Thrive Podcast Episode 006.  Listen to the podcast for his full story and insights about the use of neurofeedback.  This article outlines the basics about neurofeedback options you can investigate for your child.

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How Functional Neurology Can Help Your Child

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Children with neurodevelopmental disorders like autism, ADHD, sensory processing disorder, learning disabilities, and other related conditions often face a number of challenges for which there are an even larger number of therapies. Functional neurology is one therapy that works directly with the nervous system, helping to retrain the brain and peripheral nervous system to function appropriately. Functional neurology is the perfect complement to biomedical treatment.

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How Retained Primitive Reflexes May Affect Your Child

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Two weeks ago I introduced the concept of neuroplasticity and why it is the beacon of hope for recovery for our children. The brain’s ability to regenerate gives me hope that our children can recover. Today I want to dive deeper into how the brain’s neuroplasticity plays a role in the symptoms we see in our children from day to day and How Retained Primitive Reflexes May Affect Your Child. 

Did you know that we are all born with reflexes that are essential to our early survival but that must be lost in order for our brain to develop properly? For example, an infant’s palmar reflex allows the child’s palm to grasp anything that is placed in the palm, but this reflex must be lost in order for the pincer grip to develop, which allows the child to develop fine motor skills of the hands. When primitive reflexes are retained, the development of postural reflexes, which require midbrain involvement and signify the maturing of the central nervous system (CNS), is negatively impacted. As a result, proper development is affected.

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