Mrs. Stern had been a remedial teacher for years. She knew all the signs of a struggling student, and she was certain that her daughter, Chany, was presenting signs of a processing disorder. Chany started experiencing physical delays when she was just a baby. She took a long time to crawl and walk. She didn’t speak a word when other children her age were conversing fluently. When Chany was two and a half years-old, she started receiving physical and occupational therapies, but it didn’t seem to help much. “I realized something else must be wrong. I suspected that she wasn’t processing properly, as her output was very delayed,” recalls Mrs. Stern.
When it came time for school, the Sterns had Chany evaluated and determined that a special preschool, catering to children with auditory processing issues, would be a good fit. Chany did well at school, the therapists on staff worked with her on a daily basis, but there was little improvement. “She was still struggling,” says Mrs. Stern, “despite how hard she tried. Her give and take of conversation was minimal, she didn’t know how to interact with her classmates and she had trouble following instructions.”
When it came time for grade school, Chany was too delayed to go to a mainstream school. Instead she attended a remedial program, with smaller class sizes and extra support staff in the classroom. “It was interesting for me,” recounts Mrs. Stern, “I had been a remedial teacher for so long, but there were things I never thought about too much. As the parent of a child who was struggling I realized that there was little in the way of support for children with processing issues. There seemed to be minimal resources and I was at a loss as to how to support her.”
As Chany got older, she fell further and further behind academically. “I had heard of Neurolinks, I’d seen the ads and had even referred students, but I actually didn’t know anyone who had participated.” explains Mrs. Stern. “And although I thought that the Neurolinks might help, I was definitely not ready to invest the time needed to complete the program.” As time went by, and Chany’s progress remained stagnant, Mrs. Stern had a change of heart. She started to think about Neurolinks more seriously, as it seemed to be the only program that focused on curing underlying issues rather than just treating them. “A student of mine was participating in a remedial computer program, and I considered enrolling Chany as well. However after a couple of months his progress did not justify the effort and time invested.” As Neurolinks seemed like the only logical option, Mrs. Stern decided to sign up with one of her co-workers for a Zoom introductory session. Mrs. Stern was impressed with Yehudis Klein, the Director of Neurolinks, appreciated the way she explained how the brain works, how we process the world around us, and how Neurolinks helps those with processing disorders. Mrs. Stern started to believe that Neurolinks was what she had been looking for, and scheduled an evaluation for her daughter. Chany did poorly on her evaluation, making her the perfect candidate for the program.
The summer was fast approaching and Mrs. Stern wanted Chany to jump straight in and not waste a minute. If there was a small chance that Chany would no longer need therapy and tutoring, and that she would be able to attend a mainstream school, it was worth all the time and effort. Yehudis explained that in Chany’s case the program would take a little longer, but they would definitely start seeing improvement after a couple of weeks.
Chany attended a weekly session at the Neurolinks office in Williamsburg, and worked with her mother at home five times a week. Although it was difficult, Chany was diligent and happy to do the exercises as soon as she started seeing results. “After just a month of the program,” exclaims Mrs. Stern, “we celebrated my husband’s birthday with a little party at home. All the kids were excited and jumping about, singing birthday songs. Suddenly Chany piped up that she would like to tell everyone a story, we couldn’t believe our ears. Chany was never able to retain details to a story, she couldn’t tell you the who, what, where and when of any event that she experienced. It was unbelievable, but almost too good to be true. My husband and I decided it must be simply that she was growing up, Neurolinks could not have proven that effective so quickly.”
As time went by, Chany showed even more progress and improvement. “Zissy, the Neurolinks instructor who worked with her one-on-one, was so patient and understanding. And Yehudis was a pleasure to deal with, she had no problem answering all my questions,” says Mrs. Stern. “Our whole family became involved. Every time Chany reached a milestone, all her siblings would cheer her on and celebrate with her. “
Chany is now seven years-old and has just finished the program. It was a long ten months, but it paid off as she is a changed child. Chany now understands social cues and is self-aware, she understands what is appropriate behavior and what is not. Chany’s grades have improved tremendously, as have her social skills. “It’s as if the world around her is new,” explains Mrs. Stern. “She has started hearing sounds that she never noticed before, the quiet outside, the birds chirping. Seeing her success has helped Chany feel so much more at peace with herself, and it definitely helps that she knows how to communicate better.” Chany has improved so much that a couple of months back her older sister decided she wanted to do the program too. Her situation is a little different to Chany, as she was diagnosed with ADHD a couple of years back and is medicated. It’s been a couple of months since she started Neurolinks and she has also seen considerable improvement. “My older daughter is doing the program at the Boro Park location, and she is using a different instructor, Mimi.” says Mrs. Stern. “I wanted the two girls to have separate experiences, I didn’t want my older daughter in Chany’s shadow. Regardless of the location or instructor, it has been a huge investment of time and money, but I know it will pay off for many years to come.”