I wanted to share the following testimony from Bella’s grandmother. They begin each session with Bella’s Prayer:
“Open my eyes to see,
Open my ears to hear,
Open my mouth to speak words,
Open my mind to understand everything.
I love you Jesus.
In the name of the Father and the Son, the Holy Spirit, Amen. “My granddaughter Bella is 7 years old and was diagnosed with Classic/Moderate ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) and Global Developmental Delay, just prior to her 3rd birthday.Bella had many basic interventions during her preschool years. Speech, Occupation and ABA(Applied Behavioral Analysis) therapies, and made some progress.
However, she quickly plateaued and then seemed to regress, falling behind her typical peers in cognitive,social and physical development.
In 2015, my brother, sister in-law, Judy and their daughter, Anna (who has Down’s Syndrome) moved to Ohio, where we also reside. Before I proceed further, I would like to share testimony on the work of God as it is the driving force behind our life’s purpose.
I have great faith,trust and reliance in God, and believe He hears and answers our prayers. I wrote a prayer for Bella in November 2012 and I would like to share a part of it as follows: “I accept your will, your timing Lord in all things,yet I do continue day after day to seek your mercy and grace for this healing. Tell me Lord, what You desire of me and I will do it.”
Exactly 3 years later, Judy brought me this answer. Judy had a friend who shared about Carol Brown and Equipping Minds Cognitive Therapy, and decided to try the program for her daughter, Anna. After 8 weeks of Anna and Carol doing EM (Equipping Minds) via Skype, Judy noticed improvement in Anna’s processing, speed of reading and comprehension skills. Judy called me and asked if she could bring some “games” to try with Bella. Thanksgiving Day 2015, Bella had her first exposure and lesson through Spot It and Blink. It was incredibly challenging for Bella, but I immediatelyrecognized it’s value and more importantly, I could learn to do this cognitive therapy with Bella at home! Much gratitude to Judy for being instrumental in ‘being’ that conduit of answered prayer.
It has been 15 months since initiating EM. Bella has made great strides and yet has much work ahead of her. She currently attends full time kindergarten with a personal aide. In October 2016, Bella met Carol Brown for the first time at her residence in Kentucky. I shared with Carol that I no longer had those 2-3 hour morning sessions with Bella that we had prior to her attending full time school. I grew frustrated attempting to do what took 2-3 hours to do, in 60 minutes! Carol alleviated my doubts and frustration by honing in on specific exercises, games and layering multiple cognitive skills onto one worksheet. She also introduced us to Sound Therapy.
Bella has now reached over 200 hours of listening time with Sound Therapy as of February 2017. At the beginning of the school year, August 2016, Bella was tested for her reading skills and scored 394, an “emergent reader.” In Early December, she scored 723, a “transitional reader.” Can I prove that EM therapy and the addition of Sound Therapy is linked to this increase in reading skills? I cannot. However, I have no doubt both made an impact.
Bella has become more attentive. I also see an improved spatial awareness, a need for fewer breaks and noticeable improvement of auditory response and processing. Physically I have noticed an improvement of her willingness to imitate which I believe is a sign that mirror neurons are engaging.
All days are not equal during our sessions. There are days when Bella is easily frustrated, cries even before we begin, cannot sit still, may not feel well but cannot verbalize how she is feeling.
Bella’s family and I have learned that she can learn, she can improve, and what she can’t do today, she has hope to do in the future. The worst thing anyone could do for a child, special need or typical developing, is to limit their future because of the struggles and limitations seen today. Children are resilient and eager to learn, the limitations of the brain as it applies to plasticity is amazing, and immeasurable. And it is for this following reason, I do not give up on hope and persevere with Equipping Minds. Although Bella has some speech, her self initiated responses are very limited.
Recently, after getting Bella and her brother at the bus stop and fastened into their car seats, Bella spontaneously said, “Beppe, where is Mommy?” I thought I didn’t hear right, turned around and asked “what did you say?” She replied, “where is Mommy?” I repeated her words out loud, confirming for myself that I truly heard her correctly. Then she asked, “Is she in the house?” I explained Mommy was at work, but would be coming home soon. This conversation ended with her asking, “can I have an apple?” For a typical 7 year old such communication would be nothing extraordinary. In Bella’s case, it was a revelation.
Thank you, from the depths of my soul, Equipping Minds founder, Dr. Carol Brown. You have been instrumental in ways known and yet unknown, in delivering hope to many children and adults, special needs or typical who have hurdles and struggles to overcome.”I plead with you, never, ever give up on hope, never doubt, never tire and never become discouraged.” ~ St John Paul ll Rita (Bella’s Grandmother, a.k.a. ‘Beppe’ which is Dutch for grandmother)
We have seen tremendous improvement in Hayden’s cognition since we began. Even though we had previously worked on his primitive reflexes, we made that a part of our daily work again and I’m glad we did! One of the biggest improvements we have seen from that is in his eye contact: previously when he would speak to you, he would look at you but he wasn’t actually looking you in the eye; it was like he was looking just beyond you. I believe that was due to his fight-or-flight response being on all the time. The starfish exercise has helped him be able to actually look eyeball-to-eyeball and it’s really exciting to see! The sound therapy has also been huge: his sleeping at night has drastically improved (we have been able to cut down on his need for melatonin to get to sleep by 75%) and his math sense has greatly increased. He went from “4 + 4 is 44” to adding 4-digit numbers on paper, regrouping, and without the need for manipulatives! He still attends speech therapy once a week, but I’m still not noticing improvement with his speech. In addition, he’s been seeing an occupational therapist once a week that he began around the same time as we began Equipping Minds. That has resulted in significant improvement! I feel like the combo has resulted in much greater and quicker improvement than even I expected (his therapist is shocked at the speed of his progress)! I believe the Equipping Minds program put his brain, and therefore body, in a place where he could receive information and actually do something with it. He can now tie his shoes and jump rope, and his executive functioning has increased by leaps and bounds! We are seeing the frequency of his meltdowns dissipate and his planning ability take shape. It’s like my soul has finally exhaled and taken a deep breath to see him accomplish things that were previously locked up inside.
It was interesting for me to note that he sustained a mild concussion about six weeks ago and, as to be expected, we saw a lot of regression in most areas. Of course this was demoralizing as we had just put in a solid two months of brain training and had literally in just the week before the concussion begun to see significant improvement. After allowing his brain and body to rest for about two weeks, we picked back up with the brain training, though more sporadically (it’s summer, after all!). In about two weeks he was back to about 80% of where he was pre-concussion. That to say, I was encouraged that he hadn’t totally lost his gains and also relieved that I knew how to help him.So I would say we put in a solid 8-10 weeks, concussion happened and we took a two week break, then we kind of worked on it again for about two weeks, and since then we’ve gone into summer mode. Because we’re finished with our formal schooling for the year, my goal is to build brain training into our new morning routine. Previously we did our work in the evening with dad, but of course when you’re outside getting things done nobody wants to stop for primitive reflex exercises! We definitely plan to continue on; I believe there are even greater gains for him to make and frankly my brain could use a boost too! The work you are doing is incredibly useful and beneficial and I’ve referred several people to check it out. You have allowed his brain to unlock and do the things I’ve always known he was capable of doing, and I’m so grateful for that. Thank you Carol!! Daphne
“The most exciting part for me, as a parent (and a professional), is to see how my daughter’s confidence is soaring! She is not afraid to try things now that before were just too overwhelming to her. Self-confidence is critical to a child’s success not just in school but also in life.” Allison
Carol is a passionate, creative and inspiring educator! She is driven by a deep desire to help others and a belief that everyone can enhance their ability to learn. Her work is grounded in research and years of experience. Equipping Minds is unique and innovative – the cognitive development curriculum is flexible, fun, and engaging, while working the brain. The games and activities build upon each other and the adaptions/modifications are endless! This not only makes each day new and exciting, it makes the program usable by all ability levels and ages.
The face-to-face component of Equipping Minds differentiates it from many other brain-training programs. Learning is a process, and when done in the context of a nurturing relationship, where a person feels safe, acknowledged and supported, amazing things can and do happen.Enhancing learning and thinking skills can only occur when built upon what is already known — Carol is an expert at discovering what someone can do, meeting them where they are, and then taking them to the next level. So instead of frustration, students of all ages experience success.
My daughter began working with Carol just 12 weeks ago and already I am seeing improvement with her attention, working and long-term memory as well as comprehension. Yet, the most exciting part for me, as a parent (and a professional), is to see how my daughter’s confidence is soaring! She is not afraid to try things now that before were just too overwhelming to her. Self-confidence is critical to a child’s success not just in school but also in life. Thank you Carol for helping Mallory realize she can do many things!Keep up the amazing work that you are doing to help improve the lives of so many people. With much gratitude,
Allison Borden, Ed.D.
Our Son’s Story
Many of you have probably read my credentials or have heard that over the last 30 years my journey has expanded from being a therapist working with children and their families to being a teacher and administrator in classical Christian schools, as well as a few years in homeschooling. Now, I have the privilege of working with students, families, and schools through Equipping Minds to provide hope.
However, what you may not know is that I have sat where you may be sitting now, desperately wanting to hear hope for my son, Clayton, who was struggling. That journey began abruptly when his entrance into this world was traumatic. We watched God breathe for him for the first 13 hours before the trauma team arrived and transported him to the neonatal unit–an hour and a half down the mountain. We were in rehabilitation therapy from the get go, and the next 7 years would be filled with evaluations, speech therapy, and many tears. Continue reading by clicking this link: http://equippingminds.com/our-story/
The following is an email I received this week from a parent. Her son, Craig, did our cognitive development program this summer. We focused on working memory, processing, comprehension, and critical thinking.
The new year has started off very well. We have seen some immediate results from our hard work this summer. I wanted to share. Handwriting – wow, much improved – although this was not a goal – this is a sign to me that there are true changes that have taken place. Reading questions and answering – now this is HUGE. He completed this assignment on his own at school. This is amazing to us – he couldn’t do this last year. Maybe 50%, never completed, and understanding of questions zero. Just fabulous!!! We cannot thank you enough – you have been life savers! He’s talking, happy, and excited about all the work we are doing. Priceless!
Jennifer – improved her work performance
Jennifer is a friendly 29 year old woman who started at Equipping Minds just six short weeks ago and is already experiencing dramatic changes in her life. When Jennifer first joined us she questioned how “playing brain games” would help her in her job. She has greatly increased her work performance and has noticed that her reading comprehension is vastly improved! Her work entails engaging the public in a courteous and positive way, while at the same time processing the customer’s order in a timely manner, which is recorded and evaluated with a percentage score. Her score has increased from an 80% up to 100% already, and it earned her a congratulations from her boss! She’s also noticed that “I remember what I’ve read a whole lot easier”.
In a recent note from Jennifer she said,”Wanted to share with you all at Equipping Minds how excited I am to have received such a great score at work this evening! Thank you all for your work with me!” Of course we replied to her,”Jennifer, YOU did all the work! Congratulations!”
Way to go, Jennifer! We are proud of you!
The Social Success Story of Rose Meurer: Cognitive Skills Impact Social Skills
Cognitive skills are not all about academics-it’s a valuable life skill!
Recently I wrote and shared about the academic success that my daughter Rose Meurer has had with the help of Equipping Minds of Kentucky. If you recall from the last letter that Rose has Down Syndrome. In this letter I would like to share with you how the work with Carol has also translated into success in every day life. Fourth grade was a tough year. Rose was having some behavior problems and was generally very frustrated at school. She would often “shut down” by folding her hands across her chest, putting her head down and refusing to do anything further.
All that changed after we started working with Carol. Carol suggested using the phrase “I see Rose……” and she uses that phase in the teaching of the cognitive skills. Connecting a visual frame work to everyday life. For example – if I would say to Rose, “Rose, I need you to stop what you are doing and come here to set the table” I would get no response. I changed that to “I see Rose getting up, turning off the tv, and coming to mom. What does Rose see?” Rose would say with excitement “I see Rose getting up, shuting off the tv and coming to mom!” Sometimes I would say – “I see Rose making a good choice, I see her putting down her toy and getting her shoes from the closet.” If Rose didn’t respond I would say. “I see Rose making a bad choice, she wont put down her toy and get her shoes. I would like to see Rose make a good choice.What does Rose see?” More often than not she would say “I see Rose making a good choice!” This sounds simple but that simple phrase eliminated a whole lot of behavioral issues.
It would be very frustrating to me to ask Rose- “How was your day?” and in response I would get “I don’t know.” I would ask her more specifically – “Did you work on math today?” The response would be “I don’t know.” When we changed that to “What would I see Rose doing today at school?” I would hear; “You would see Rose walk into school, then into the gym. Then I would go to my first class of Math.” Soon I was getting all kinds of information about her day! It was amazing. One of my favorite exercises we did with Carol was working on memory skills through the 10 categories developed by Aristotle. We would look at a picture and Carol would ask her 10 questions – what do you see, how many are there, what color is it etc. Then cover the picture and ask Rose the same questions. Soon she was remembering details on complex scenes. Soon after when I would ask Rose to tell me about something we would get all kinds of details. For example, we would play “make a verbal story.” Rose would usually say something quite simple when it was her turn to add a sentence to the story. For example – “There was a bear.” That quickly changed to ” there was one, big, brown bear standing in the woods and he was mad.”
Rose participates in dance. She started to improve in her ability to remember dance routines and now is competing locally with a solo dance routine. Rose started to thrive at school. Learning was becoming easier. She could remember her 3 digit lunch number. There were less behavior issues. When middle school started I was so worried about the whole locker combination issue. She had it memorized by the end of the day! Even the principal was amazed that she got it! In class the students were using their library card to access an online learning module. A few weeks into the course Rose lost her library card. I was a little annoyed with her and she said “don’t worry mom I know the number!” It is xxx xxxx xxx. I did locate the card later that day and sure enough she had the whole number memorized!
Recently we were registering for a procedure at the hospital. The registration clerk asked my phone number and Rose said – 859-797-4770. I said – ok smarty – what is it backwards and she was able to do that without error! Rose can now remember to tell me about events at school. She can follow 3 step commands usually without too much trouble. She is remembering to turn in her homework. She remembers when she has a test. She is getting A’s and B’s at school with little modification (She gets 2 – 3 choices instead of 4 on multiple choice tests).
Rose is able to express herself in a more meaningful way. Most interesting to me, because this past year we have been working on logic and abstract thinking, Rose is starting to understand sarcasm! When she does get it she can come back with a quick response and we all laugh. She enjoys watching more complex movies as she can follow the plot. She is enjoying reading for pleasure. Rose remembers all her passwords for her computer and ipad. She can do things on her ipad that I have no idea how to do. She also has figured how to change volume settings and things of that nature on our cell phones on her own. When faced with a problem Rose is better able now to reason thru it giving possible logical options on how to proceed. Overall she is thriving in school and in real life. Cognitive skills is not all about doing well on academics – it’s a valuable life skill! If your child is struggling – call Carol and have your child evaluated. You won’t be sorry. Give your child the skills they need to succeed!
A Louisville Teacher
“I had the opportunity to attend a session presented by Carol Brown at an educational workshop last September at the Marriot in Louisville, KY. She presented a topic titled “The Evidence is in… IQ can be changed”. I am a teacher in Louisville, KY and Mrs. Brown’s presentation totally changed my outlook on education. I have implemented many of the techniques I learned about from Mrs. Brown in our school. ”
Regan’s Story – Elementary School
Equipping Minds was the program that was finally successful for my daughter. In 2nd grade she was identified as having both an auditory and visual processing deficiency. And that was after attending a six-week intensive onsite learning center and countless online computer therapies since late Kindergarten. We knew she was a smart young lady (don’t all parents think that), but there always seemed to be a disconnect or a lag when she was doing school work.
After reaching out to Carol when Regan was in 4th grade, we made the trip to Kentucky (we live in Virginia) for an assessment and a few days of intensive one-on-one work.That trip provided the Equipping Minds staff with enough information about Regan to plan her program. The following week we started working with them via a free online video-conference tool. All we needed to do was buy a few items (inexpensive card games mostly) and a webcam that could be easily moved from the top of the computer to closer to the Equipping Minds workbook.
The training sessions were fun and moved quickly from game-to-game so Regan didn’t have a chance to get frustrated. Even through the computer, the Equipping Minds staff were able to read my daughter and adjust the training as needed. They knew when to push a little and when to back off and move on.
Bottom line, prior to working with Equipping Minds (May) Regan was about a year-and-a-half behind her grade in reading and about a year in math. By the time school started in the fall (entering 5th grade) she was at grade level in math but still being pulled out for Language Arts. In November, based on her testing to just below grade level reading, she was moved into the main classroom for Language Arts! She still has some small classroom work with her spelling, but we are beyond thrilled with her progress.
Equipping Minds is the program that put everything together – cognitive/processing training, sound therapy, reflex exercises – that was successful in breaking through my daughters’ learning challenges. My experience of nearly six years of using various programs/therapies to help my daughter boils down to Equipping Minds…they get it, have the tools, intuition and love for what they do to make a difference in a child’s life.
Grant’s Story – Elementary School Student
“How difficult is the moment when, as a parent, you realize that your child learns differently or struggles to learn? I remember the course of how we discovered our son’s visual processing issues, I recall the frustration of seeing him work diligently to learn what others learn so easily, I sadly watched him in tears attempting to memorize a new spelling list.
Working with Carol has brought much needed placidity to our family. As parents, we are thrilled to have a better understanding of our son’s challenges, how to help him, and are delighted and humbled by his progress. And, to see him gain confidence, to see him eager and excited to learn again, is beyond measure.
As much as we might wish for a “magical” cure to his processing issues, an overnight remedy to make the struggles disappear, we know that is not possible. Changing the way his brain processes information will take much time and effort. That being said, I cannot imagine embarking on this journey with anyone but Carol. Her knowledge of the subject matter and her compassion and love for her students is unmatched. Carol’s influence on our son’s life, her encouragement, experience, and support are changing that way our son learns and grows as a person. We are most blessed.”
~ Grant: 9 years old ~
Carla – Homeschooling Mom
“The workshop was phenomenal, and I’m so glad I was able to attend. I’m excited to get started tomorrow morning with my son.”
A 4th Grader’s Dad
“Wow, because of Equipping Minds I am free, I am free at last! I was spending 2 1/2 to 3 hours every day with my daughter doing her homework after school. Now after just 3 months of being under the tutelage of Kyle and Carol Brown she has become confident and competitive in the classroom and in her own abilities to succeed. Believe me, when I say leave it to the professional. Don’t let an auto mechanic do your taxes. Allow the Equipping Minds team to train the young minds for the future.”
The Coach’s Daughter
“When soccer became more complicated, she talked about quitting and was hesitant when she did play. The first thing we (and other parents) noticed was how much better she began playing after her time with Carol. She now has become more aggressive and confident in her game.”
Update from Middle School Student’s Dad
A middle school student was getting good grades but was spending hours on homework and not retaining the information.
“More importantly, she has not panicked over the amount (sometimes it has been a load) of homework and has not been to her tutor so far, just sits down and does it. We help some, but the main thing I see is when studying something it stays in her brain. Before, it felt like everything just bounced off. Thanks for everything!”
A Proud Mom
“Our daughter with Down Syndrome has just completed a 12 week brain training program program with Carol which has been life altering! She has more than doubled her working memory, her processing speed has increased, and her speech and articulation has improved. She is able to do things now that were NEVER thought possible. She is now doing basic addition without a calculator which some said would never happen.This program should be implemented with all students and adults who want to sharpen their own mental capabilities.”
A High Schooler’s Mom
“Getting good grades was not the problem. However, we sensed frustration with completing homework and saw issues with processing speed and retention of information over time. The pre-test confirmed those suspicions and revealed a marked deficit in visual processing. The brain training showed remarkable improvements in all areas and we have seen that translated into efficiency in assignment completion and better overall final testing results. The improvements in overall cognitive skills were remarkable. We feel we have equipped our child for academic success!”
Beautiful End to Lyme Disease Journey
I remember when our son, Greyson, was first diagnosed with Lyme disease. We had no idea he would face so many cognitive challenges. Even after a successful treatment for Lyme, when the infection was no longer present, he was left with several cognitive issues. We were told he would benefit from cognitive therapy, but I wasn’t sure where to find it. We had already seen therapists at a children’s hospital and had been to a local counseling center, but nothing seemed to work. That’s when we found you at Equipping Minds. By this point I was skeptical that anything would work, but I was bolstered by your enthusiasm at our first evaluation. You said you were confident that you could help our son.
At his lowest point during his 10th grade year, Greyson could only handle two subjects a day. Math and English would take him all day long–from 9:00 in the morning until 10:00 at night. He would be so frustrated and feel so tortured trying to make his brain work. I was beginning to be afraid that he would face this for life. You put us on a daily regimen of worksheets, cognitive card games, primitive reflex exercises, and sound therapy. I didn’t understand how all of this was going to heal his brain, but the important thing is that it did. You had done the research, and you had seen it work. We worked worked with your cognitive training program over the summer, and then the next school year started. I thought I could begin to see a difference and even had comments from friends about how he “seemed better.”
It wasn’t until I timed his schoolwork that I realized the significant change: what used to take him hours to finish he was now completing in minutes! We were using a home school curriculum that allowed a student an hour to complete each assignment. I set the timer, and Greyson would report to me: 13 minutes for one subject, 25 minutes for another, 40 minutes for the next, and 55 minutes for one that should have been 1 1/2 hours. Not only was he completing the assigned work, but he was completing it FAST! You could tell that a weight had been lifted from his shoulders as he walked around singing and smiling. I would call it a miracle, as it feels like one. I know now that this therapy is what needs to happen when neural connections in the brain are not integrated. Your research has found the solution. I want everyone to know that there is hope, there is help, and there is an answer. Your child does not have to suffer.
Thank you for a beautiful end to our Lyme journey. God bless you and your family at Equipping Minds.
Mission to the World Romania
At a time when I felt completely overwhelmed and isolated, Equipping Minds came along and provided us with help and encouragement via Skype. They took the time to help me understand their workbook so I could implement the games and activities at home. They seemed to understand our children’s individual needs and struggles and would even read Scripture and pray with one of them when he was having a bad day. God has used Kyle and Carol to give me hope where the educational needs of our children are concerned. For families living overseas and for the church in general, Equipping Minds is a tremendous resource, helping parents feel confident in their calling, and giving children courage and confidence as they improve their skills, literally equipping their minds for life and service in the Lord.
Shannon (and Derek) Ebbers
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