Carol Brown found herself faced with a new struggle when her second son, Clayton, was determined to have a learning disability.
Clayton went through evaluations, speech therapy and a multitude of struggles.
Brown has experience in education as a certified school counselor, special educational specialist, along with a bachelor’s degree in rehabilitation counseling and a master’s degree in social services. However, despite her knowledge and in-depth reading on possible diagnoses, she says she “couldn’t find Clayton in those books.”
Eventually, the family crossed paths with an educator who noted that there was much more inside Clayton wanting to get out, prompting him to be accepted at a school in North Carolina where the family was living at the time.
Although he began to succeed in school, it was still laborious for him, Brown noted. It was around this time that she attended the Georgia Dyslexia Conference and “heard Clayton’s struggles described perfectly.”
Clayton attended a learning center, which helped him make vast improvements in the span of eight weeks.
Over time, Brown helped start a school in Atlanta, was a principal at a private school in Lyon, France, where she worked with children of government officials, mostly INTERPOL, from around the world, and led a school in Washington, D.C., where she worked with children of many American government officials.
While her son was succeeding in school, participating in drama productions, including improv performances, and on the mock trial team, he still struggled with processing speed, being unable to process the information that teachers were giving him as quickly as needed.
So, back to the books Brown went, researching neuroscience, cognitive therapy and brain training. She and her husband, Kyle, who is also an educator, went through cognitive development training. Clayton also underwent cognitive skill training, which helped increase his processing speed and working memory.
Throughout their research, the Browns began to realize that, while there was much research on cognitive development therapy, sensory-motor development therapy, sound therapy, vision therapy, vestibular therapy and neuro-development therapy, there were few, if any, people putting it all together.
Having trained with people she refers to as “cutting edge” in their fields, Brown originally began learning all of this to help Clayton, but it morphed into helping the students at the schools she led and eventually, to helping anyone she could.
The Browns created the Academic Success Center of Kentucky [now Equpping Minds] and began working with individuals of all age levels and learning types, from students to executives.
After Brown’s parents retired to the central Kentucky region, she and her husband migrated to Danville, where Kyle, an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church of America, also preaches.
After presenting at a Danville-Boyle County Chamber of Commerce meeting, they were approached by a local commercial property owner who encouraged them to consider setting up an office space.
It’s been a blessing, Brown says, being able to set up in an office, at 359 S. Fourth St., Building E Suite 2, where they have been for more than a year. During the summers, the place is visited by interns and students daily. Even during the school year, the Browns are visited by individuals such as Claire Mynear and her mom, Jennifer, from Nicholasville. Claire is 21 and was told she would never be able to reach a high potential.
“I knew what Claire’s issues were. I knew what her intellectual challenges were. But all along, we knew that she was capable of more than what we were seeing,” Jennifer Mynear said.
They decided to try the Browns about a year and a half ago and finally found what they had been looking for all along.
Claire’s progress has been drastic, her mom said.
“She is amazing us everyday,” said Carol Brown. “Now, she has dreams.”
Claire also participates in a program through the University of Kentucky, which enables her to enroll in classes at Bluegrass Community and Technical College, something they had been told would likely not happen.
The difference, Mynear said, is that so many educators focus on I.Q. and Piaget’s belief that it is non-changing. The Browns have a different perspective, following the research from Reuven Feuerstein, that intelligence is not fixed.
“The brain continues to form and develop,” Carol Brown said.
She also works, via Skype, with students from across the country, and has been contacted by educators and parents from San Francisco, Atlanta and Canada.
Brown also has taken many of the exercises conducted at the center, along with condensed versions of the research, and published a book.
She finds herself amazed at the responses.
“It’s been such a blessing. God has shown us favor,” she said, smiling. “I’m just a mom that was obsessed once upon a time.”
However, for those she has helped, it is more than that.
“It’s amazing,” Jennifer Mynear said of her daughter’s progress. “The goal is for her to be the best that she can possibly be.”
*In August of 2011, Clayton began his studies at Boyce College in Louisville and is pursuing a degree in counseling. While he has to worker harder than many students to simply pass his classes, we were amazed that he had a 3.65 for the spring of 2013- 4 A’s and a B+. He has also interned for our center during the summers of 2012 and 2013. On July 28th,2013 he was the guest preacher at Grace Presbyterian Church in Danville, Ky. You can listen to his sermon on the church website. Yes,language processing disorders in receptive and expressive language can be overcome!