Part Three: A Left Brain, Right Brain Disconnect
When I began my practice over eight years ago, a mom of a special needs child strongly recommended that I read the book Disconnected Kids by Dr.Robert Melillo, a world-renowned chiropractic neurologist, professor, and researcher in childhood neurological disorders. The groundbreaking ideas which Dr. Melillo shared became one of the pillars of my practice. Instead of viewing each neurological disorder in isolation, I began to look for the tie that binds. It has revolutionized my approach in working with special needs children.
Baby’s first smile! Grabbing and shaking hand toys. Babbling chains of consonants (bah-bah-bah). Crawling. And, walking. These are a few of the all important – milestones. With eager anticipation, parents as well as pediatricians await their arrival. Why? . . . because the proper timing of milestones signifies normal brain development.
The timing mechanism of the human brain is a marvel! The development of the left and right hemispheres is a splendid example. As we have learned previously, brain function is dependent on the balance between the left and right hemispheres. Ironically, however, the brain does not grow in a balanced way. The right brain’s development commences when the baby is in the womb and continues for the first few years. The left brain is growing, too, but not as actively. According to Dr. Melillo, “Around age two, growth switches mostly to the left brain. From then on, development switches back and forth between left and right until about the age of ten when the brain reaches its adult size.” To date, scientists have not definitively established what causes a brain’s growth to go haywire - leading to learning, behavioral, and social disorders. Nonetheless, scientists do know that the skewed wiring of the left and right hemispheres occurs most often before birth and during the first two years of life, impacting right brain development.
How does an out-of-kilter brain behave? How does this phenomenon manifest itself in a child? The list is long! A child who is affected can manifest some or all of the following symptoms: poor body awareness; poor gross and fine motor skills; persistence of primitive reflexes; poor eye coordination; poor social skills; abnormal emotional reactions; compromised immune system; rapid heartbeat; food sensitivities; poor digestion; learning difficulties; and sensory processing issues affecting vision, hearing, touch, smell, and taste.
All is not lost. The brain is eager to self-correct, which it can do, if given the proper stimulation.
(Part four in this series will address possible causes of brain disconnect)