Balancing the Brain

Ned Hallowell
Ned Hallowell
Dr. Robert Melillo
Dr. Robert Melillo

We talk with Dr. Robert Melillo about DISCONNECTED KIDS: The Groundbreaking Brain Balance Program for Children with Autism, ADHD, Dyslexia, and Other Neurological Disorders. And Ned Hallowell tells us how adults with ADD can compensate for their weaknesses and celebrate their strengths in this 2006 archived interview.

Learning disabilities, autism, ADD, and other neurodevelopmental disorders are skyrocketing in children, with an estimated 1.5 million more children diagnosed each year. The cause is controversial: some say, these disorders are just getting diagnosed more than in the past; others say diagnosis is being pushed by drug companies wanting to sell more of their products; and still others point to the hectic pace of modern life and understaffed schools to say that society’s out of whack, not kids.

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But those who suffer the burdens of these disorders say they’re real–whether they’re parents who see their kids struggling to make friends and make sense of their schoolwork or adults who leave a long trail of lost jobs and failed relationships. All this in spite of often being very bright, creative and open-hearted.

Drugs can help–but they can also have dangerous side effects, including cardiac problems, psychiatric disorders and seizures. There are even emerging signs that some of them can cause the chromosomal damage that is a precursor to cancer. Many parents of children with neurodevelopmental disorders–as well as adults who have them–are looking for alternative or complementary treatments.

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Dr. Robert Melillo is a chiropractic neurologist who’s developed a system for treating these disorders using exercises to train the brain. He says the problem lies in a failure of both sides of the brain to smoothly communicate with each other–and that his approach can strengthen areas of the brain that are weakest. He lays out his method in a new book, [amazon-product text=”DISCONNECTED KIDS: The Groundbreaking Brain Balance Program for Children with Autism, ADHD, Dyslexia, and Other Neurological Disorders” type=”text”]039953475X[/amazon-product].

One approach to ADD, Asperger’s and other neurobehavioral conditions like them is to see them as  disorders based on the relative strength or weakness of the two sides of the brain. Another way is to look at how different people behave–their symptoms. That’s the approach taken by ADD expert Ned Hallowell. He also thinks ADD isn’t so much a disorder as a difference–a different style of brain functioning, with strengths and weaknesses. Hallowell is the author of several acclaimed books aimed at helping adults with ADD find ways to compensate for their weaknesses and celebrate their strengths.

Among other books, he wrote the groundbreaking Driven by Distraction. I spoke with him in 2006 about his book DELIVERED FROM DISTRACTION. His latest, SUPERPARENTING FOR ADD, came out in 2008.


About Francesca Rheannon

Francesca Rheannon is an award-winning independent radio producer. In addition to hosting Writer's Voice, she's a freelance reporter for National Public Radio and its affiliates. Recipient of the prestigious Nancy Dickerson Whitehead Award for reporting on substance abuse issues for her news series, VOICES OF HIV, produced for 88.5 WFCR public radio in western Massachusetts. She is also finishing a book on Provence (PROVINCE OF THE HEART) and working on a memoir of her father, THE ARGONAUTS.