Did you know it is possible to directly affect brain function? At Shelterwood, we have developed the only program in the country that is actively utilizing the latest in brain research to create a unique treatment plan. A program we have partnered with is called Brain Balance, and young people are transforming their lives because of the program.

Brain Balance is an innovative program that increases brain function by improving sensory motor, cognitive, and nutrition. By having improved brain function, teenagers are able to improve socially, emotionally and academically  Its role is to develop a brain that is teachable.

When a teenager arrives at Shelterwood, they participate in an assessment. This assessment allows the treatment team to establish the teen’s brain age vs. their chronological age. When there are under developments in the brain, often the teenager will function below their chronological age in social-emotional functions or academics. We often serve teens that are gifted in certain areas as well. However, if there is an imbalance in skills, then usually there is an imbalance in the brain, which can then cause a disconnect. Once the assessment is completed, our team develops a customized program to improve any underdevelopments found that could be impacting the teen’s ability to learn.

The program consists of three weekly, one-hour sessions during the time a young person is at Shelterwood. Over the course of these sessions, we work on improving sensory-motor and cognitive functions. If there are undervelopments in the brain, it can impact the way a teen receives information through the way they hear, see, smell, or feel their body. Your sensory input impacts the way you process the world around you. This can impact learning. Also, within the sessions, Brain Balance works on improving motor functions and coordination as this is the foundation for processing in the brain. Finally, Brain Balance works on academic weaknesses found in the assessment. Brain Balance is an adjunct program at Shelterwood, so parents must elect to have their student take part in the program — but the Brain Balance assessment is free of charge to all Shelterwood students, and the team reviews findings with parents, so they are well-equipped to decide if the program will benefit their teen. If your teen has been in tutoring or in counseling for years, and you don’t feel like they are making significant improvements, then Brain Balance may be the missing link.

Brain Balance works by doing exactly what it’s named after — balancing the two sides of the brain. The brain has two distinct hemispheres — right and left — and these hemispheres are unique in what they do and how they connect. Brain Balance, therefore, is designed to isolate the stronger hemisphere of the brain and increase function in the brain’s weaker hemisphere. Since most students arrive to Shelterwood with an imbalance in skills and gifts, Brain Balance helps them work on their weaknesses to bring those areas into balance with their strengths.

While other programs may teach coping mechanisms and strategies to mitigate symptoms, Brain Balance addresses neurological gaps. Shelterwood has had great success with teens by seeing the reduction in symptoms of anxiety, depression, addiction, self-hatred and low motivation through Brain Balance. It has also been proven to help teens with mild spectrum disorders and neuro-behavioral disorders such as students diagnosed with ADD-ADHD, Dyslexia, and Learning Disabilities.

Brain Balance not only works with teens struggling with social and emotional challenges but addresses academic challenges as well. With the support of an accredited school and a team of therapists who specialize in a variety of therapeutic modalities, balance is attainable. This can lead to better educational results, and sometimes allow a student to progress as much as three or four grade levels with the plan Shelterwood develops for your teen.

Shelterwood staff has noticed night and day differences in teens who have engaged in the Brain Balance Program. It has set them up for more successful clinical therapy, increased academic capacity and helped students feel emotionally and academically stronger. When many young people enter Shelterwood unable to think much past that day or week, Brain Balance has paved the path for many teens to begin thinking about and planning for their future.