Susan (JT’s mum: 12 year old boy)
“Our son is almost 12 years old in grade 6 and has struggled with learning deficits his whole life. When he was very young, before kindy, he would become extremely frustrated very quickly and we knew something was going on, we just didn’t know what. Now on reflection it all makes sense.
We would constantly misunderstand each other and as a result we had a frustrated toddler who acted out with anger. He began prep in 2010 and was such a hard worker. However hard he tried he was struggling with the basics. We thought it would just take some extra time and soon would just ‘click’ for him. At the end of term 1, we had parent teacher interview and discussed an ILP (individual learning plan) to start in term 2. It was a help. It allowed him to get by, just.
He soon began to hate reading and would avoid homework at all costs. This continued into grade 3, when 3/4 way through his teacher noticed him squinting at the board and regularly leaving his seat to get closer. She suggested an eye test and further test his auditory and visual processing.
We immediately booked him an appointment in the hopes that these results would explain what had been holding him back thus far. His sight was perfect; 20/20 vision- awesome. The “further test” showed an auditory and visual processing delay. Definition of auditory processing delay- unable to process what is being heard like other children because their ears and brain do not fully co-ordinate. Visual processing delay – a hindered ability to make sense of information taken in through the eyes, affects how information is interpreted or processed by the brain. They are learning deficits and now that we had a name for them we could get him the help that he requires, so we thought.
We booked in for sight therapy as recommended. This consisted of a 45 min session once a week, with an instructor playing various games, for 10 weeks and homework every other day. Did I mention he avoided homework at all costs? We didn’t notice any changes during or after the 10 weeks. It just wasn’t what was going to help our son.
We then started looking for something else to get our son the help he so desperately needed. Sometime past and he fell further behind at school and his frustrations of daily life increased.
Now halfway through grade 4, we found a promising therapy that consisted of listening to specific music through specialised headphones for 1hr a day for 14 days. The point was to stimulate the ear through vibrations, allowing new pathways to build from them to the brain. It was $1200 for the 1st round and $800 for any subsequent rounds there after if required. It was a lot of money, yet our son needed something and if this was it, it would have been well worth it. We noticed some small behavioural improvements, which was great and that alone was worth it. These changes were short lived. We did go a 2nd round and no improvements were noticed in behaviour or school work.
More time had past and he was finishing up grade 5. He was still very much struggling in his school work and at home. We had some rough times with our son and as he struggled, we as a family struggled.
His behaviour now was extremely overwhelming and at times I felt defeated, like I had nothing left to give. Although I felt like this, I was not going to give up on him. Shortly after, I heard an ad on the radio. “Does your child struggle with reading?” “Yes” I replied back to the radio. A few questions followed and it was a ‘yes’ for all of them.
I looked up Steps To Miles and after reading every possible bit of information I could lay my eyes on, I became very hopeful and somewhat excited. Excited for our son, for our family, excited at the possibilities my son may now have, that he would not have if we were unable to address his learning deficits and now.
It was lovely to meet with Deepti and really discuss what the program entailed and if it would help our son. He sat the initial test and as expected he scored quite low in the long-term memory, visual processing and auditory processing sections.
I was amazed and pleased with the test. Not only does it tell you problem areas, it also tells you the severity of them, allowing Deepti to focus specifically on these.
Yes, it was heartbreaking at the realization of the severity of his learning deficits and how long he has had to live with them; yet on the flip side, it was exciting to know that now he could receive the help he needed. It was a significant amount of money, however if this was what was going to free our son from these learning deficits or even dull them, it would be absolutely worth it and more.
We went home and I read a book that Deepti had lent me specifically about BrainRx. I then went on to watch YouTube videos. I then read books about neuroplasticity and anything else that would come up in Google. Fun, interactive games, 1-on-1 coaching and intensity, were all words used to describe the program. I couldn’t find 1 negative or reason not to give our son possibly the most important opportunity of his life, because this could be a life changer.
Our son’s training consisted of a 1 hr session per day, 5 days a week for 3 months and during school holidays it would be a 2hr session daily. Also 1 hr away for our home and the return trip.
Our son started his 1st session Tuesday, 14th March 2017. He loved it. I watched him and Deepti, very quickly, build a great relationship. We came upto half way through and we had noticed some really big changes in our son’s behaviour and over all demeanour. He had become a lot more relaxed and engaged in conversations. He seemed able to follow the flow of the conversation, partake in it and understand all of what was being said. He seemed at ease. He said he couldn’t say specifically what was different, he could just feel it. His relationship with his brother, who is 16mths younger than him, blossomed. It was as though they now understood each other. It was beautiful to witness. Trips in the car were no longer consumed with us telling him off for what ever reason. Everyone was respecting each others space and I couldn’t help but smile. Yes, they do still argue but at a more bearable level.
I had a parent teacher interview to discuss if there were any changes as far as the classroom was concerned. He has always been a hard worker and tried his very best and she knew this but something about him was different in a good way. He was now elaborating in his written pieces. She made comment about how at the beginning of the year he would have written where the Anzacs had landed and then moved onto something else. All of his written work would be like this. Like dot point. No flow in the story. Now he had written where the Anzacs had landed, why they landed there on that date and why at that time. They self check their written pieces and mark in red any spelling or grammar mistakes. Our son could not see any errors usually. He just couldn’t pick them out. Now he had red pen everywhere. Some may think that’s not a good thing, all of these mistakes but it’s the exact opposite. The point is to be able to recognise a spelling or grammar error. This was huge progress. She also mentioned his confidence had increased, which was exciting. He no longer looked at his feet and stumbled through his oral presentation. He looked straight at all of his peers and delivered his poster with confidence. WOW.
His rugby game has improved too. From having a 2-5sec delay in his reaction to now having no noticeable delay at all. Being able to visually process what is going on around him has lead to some great runs and tackles and passes.
We are unbelievably so proud of what our son has achieved in the last 3 months. His hard work and dedication and his want to help address and overcome his learning deficits just leaves me in awe of him. He has proven to himself and shown us that what ever he puts his mind to he can achieve.
It is heartbreaking, yet true, to say that this time last year we didn’t know and were concerned for our son’s future. Everything has now changed and for the better. I see a bright and beautiful future for our son. One where he can accomplish anything he sets his mind to.
We are so thankful to Deepti for all of the hard work she has done with our son, her encouragement and understanding has been amazing. Although Deepti would say “don’t thank me. It’s my job”, without people like Deepti, with their passion and dedication to their job, our children would spend their lifetime struggling. Steps To Miles has been a life changer for us and for that we will also be forever grateful.
Thank you so very much Deepti.”
Location: Cranbourne, Melbourne