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Disconnected Kids: The Groundbreaking Brain Balance Program for Children with Autism, ADHD, Dyslexia, and Other Neurological Disorders Paperback – March 3, 2015
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"Disconnected Kids offers a visionary new approach for helping many children with brain-based problems. These valuable clinical insights add much to our tool kit for caring. "
—Daniel Goleman, Emotional Intelligence
"Dr. Melillo's thesis and proposed intervention give hope to all affected parties (children, parents and clinicians) that neurobehavioral disorders of childhood can be eradicated one day in the near future by relying primarily on behavioral and cognitive treatments."
"I found the book to be very interesting and informative, including case studies of children he claims have been cured of some of these disorders, as well as checklists of ways to identify whether or not your child may have a brain deficiency or delay and what side of the brain may be involved. It does seem to bring a ray of hope, as many of us have come to believe that there is no cure for disorders like autism."
"I HIGHLY recommend reading this book! It was very enlightening to me. I do believe that his philosophy on these disorders is accurate and his approach to helping them is valid."
About the Author
Dr. Robert Melillo, the creator of Brain Balance Program™, is an internationally known chiropractic neurologist, professor, researcher, and expert in childhood neurological disorders. He has been in private practice since 1985 and opened his first Brain Balance Center™ on Long Island, New York, in 1998. There are now 66 centers across the country, with more opening ocerseas in the coming year. His study, “Autism Spectrum Disorder as a Functional Disconnection Syndrome – a Model for Rehabilitation” will be published in The International Journal of Neuroscience later this year.
Dr. Melillo is president of the Foundation for Cognitive Neuroscience and executive director of the F.R. Carrick Institute for Clinical Ergonomics, Rehabilitation and Applied Neurosciences, a non-profit university-based brain research center dedicated to researching methods and products to assist victims of brain injury, chronic pain, and other neurological and neuro-behavioral challenges. He lives in Rockville Centre, New York, with his wife and three children.
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Top Customer Reviews
This book follows a standard format of providing vignettes that encourage the reader (for better or worse) to point into the page and say, "yeap, that's my kid!", followed by a stream of periodically-included similar ones, all with happy outcomes, to motivate the reader to keep reading by creating reserved hopefulness. The book provides substantial anecdotal and statistical background on the importance of the problem that it is addressing, as well as scopes out pretty well what behaviors, age groups, etc., are included. It provides ample checklists and assessment techniques to narrow down the problem to be solved, and finally, it provides very detailed therapeutic procedures for parent and practitioner to use with the subject. Having read many books in a similar format, I have to admit I breezed through this one in a couple of hours, but I do see myself going back to it once I try to apply its techniques to my particular case.
In my case, I am trying to help a young family member who has a range of behavioral issues that don't fit neatly into standard DSM definitions, or into Dr. Melillo's taxonomy. I'm not a medical or psychological practitioner and have no training in the area. I have half the common sense of my wife, but a reasonable amount of patience. That probably makes me similar to any dad who's reading this review right now. I read these kinds of books with increasing skepticism, but any knowledge is useful, and this book may be more useful than most.
Pro's/what I like about this book:
1-Dr. Melillo explains that his methods are clinically proven to be successful on statistically large groups of subjects. This is very compelling, as many books (and approaches) in the help-thy-child genre cannot claim this.
2-The diagnostic checklists are very detailed.
3-The diagnostics are not limited to checklist, but also include the assessment of a large range of physiological reactions and observations (hearing, eyes, right/left-handedness). This makes sense to me.
4-I detected nothing in my two hour reading of the book that seemed like it could do any harm. The therapies may be helpful in their intended ways (reduce the disconnectedness, which is the premise of the book), but also at least in other ways such as: helping the subject feel more cared for or better understood, building self-confidence, and building trust and relationships between subject and parent or practitioner.
5-The therapies proposed by Dr. Melillo would appear to be have been very successful for many people; Dr. Melillo has defined a disorder in his own terms (I believe) and a treatment approach outside the DSM-V framework. Such innovation is much needed. I agree with him that the recent epidemic in behavior challenges facing children is being dealt with in outdated ways--at least in academic circles if not in clinical circles. In my case the top-rated local public school system just never "got" the challenges facing our child, and their cluelessness is a big risk that Dr. Melillo has put his finger on.
4-Having so many techniques at hand, as described in the book, is great. They're easy to try out and implement consistently if they seem to work.
Cons/the reasons I am skeptical whether this book will help in my particular case, or for many other readers:
1-These diagnoses and methods probably work best for the archetypical (most extreme) manifestations of autism, Asperger's, etc. However, many of us are facing situations that are 'on the spectrum' (or perhaps 'spectra') of multiple disorders, and this book probably isn't going to help me diagnose, put a name to, scope, and address the ambiguous and confusing issues that we are facing. This is not the fault of the book, but I do get the feeling from Dr. Melillo that he has a hammer, and now everything looks like a nail. Many of the markers for disconnected kids apply also to kids suffering from borderline personality disorder (which, admittedly, is diagnosed at a later age than the ages he seems to be targeting), and I think he could have spent more time describing what's NOT in the scope of his defined syndrome, rather than just what's in. Many symptoms, --explosiveness or anxiety for example--would appear to be consistent with disconnectedness, but also consistent with other diagnoses (e.g.,Borderline personality disorder). I didn't see 'borderline personality disorder', 'schizophrenia', 'dialectical behavior therapy' (just to name a few terms) in the appendix. So, it's easy to read the book and say 'this is meant for my child!' when it may not be. As noted earlier, the therapies describe in the book probably don't create any problems, but they might distract you from identifying the real issues at hand.
2-In a similar vein, the diagnostic checklists don't provide any weighting. Any human will exhibit behaviors that correspond to the markers listed in the many checklists provided in the book. However, I'm sure some of these markers are more significant than others, particularly if in combination with others. So I think the many pages of diagnostic tools does create a risk of lulling a new reader (one who doesn't already have 10-20 similar books on his/her shelf already) into thinking this diagnostic provides a definitive analysis. Dr. Melillo reminds the reader to get the help of a trained diagnostician and treatment specialist. And I guess I'd much rather have all the diagnostic tools at hand than not, but at the end of the day, But I'm skeptical what insight they provide to those of us dealing with ambiguous cases. As I noted earlier, if you have a child who is definitely autistic or definitely has Asperger's, the therapies presented in this book may be much more effective than for a less pronounced case.
3-the vignettes may give some readers a false sense of hope...both in thinking that it actually matches the reader's child, and that the results will be equally probable; these vignettes have been hand-picked to tell a success story in a simple way, and there's a risk that they give the reader false hope.
I feel it has started to help just with SOME of the 'exercises' and only some of the dietary changes. I can imagine it might do even more, as I start to incorporate even more... I have reduced TV and increased physical activity.. which like I said seems to just make sense,... you owe it to your child to at least look into this book.