29 May 2017
As told to Sara Leah Green
“Avi has trouble focusing, even after moving his desk to the front of the classroom he still needs to be told instructions repeatedly.” I knew Avi’s teacher was talking, but I had heard it all before. In fact, every year Avi’s teachers would complain about his focusing issues.
It began in kindergarten. Avi experienced difficulty following directions and needed the teacher to directly ask him several times to perform a task. We thought it was just taking him a little bit of time to get used to a classroom setting, as we hadn’t please change line to ‘sent him to preschool. Years went by and although Avi continued to live in his own world, we just attributed it to ‘spaciness’. By fourth grade however, it was becoming a problem and interfering with his grades. One day I received a call from Avi’s teacher, “Mrs. Scheiner I’m so sorry to have to suggest this, but I think it may be time to have Avi evaluated. He might be suffering from a Language Processing Disorder, or maybe even ADD.” I was distraught, but ever the responsible parent I booked him an evaluation with a well-known speech therapist.
After the evaluation, the speech therapist explained that she doubted language was the problem. She recommended we take him to a psychologist and see about an ADD diagnosis. “Then Avi can start taking medication which is sure to help him,” said the speech therapist, unknowingly shattering my heart into a million pieces. I called a child psychologist who has been a friend of the family for years. Hearing my shaking voice he said, “Mrs. Scheiner before we start looking into prescribing medication, I would recommend visiting an audiologist.”
I’ll never forget that fateful morning, when we finally received a plausible diagnosis for Avi’s lack of focus and unresponsiveness. After spending over an hour with Avi, the audiologist motioned for me to enter his office. Avi had failed the testing, he explained, his hearing was perfect but the processing between his left ear and left brain was almost non-existent. He had problems deciphering words spoken to him when there were background noises. He couldn’t differentiate between two similar sounds played to him either. Finally, an explanation for years of torment, Avi’s problem was an Auditory Processing Disorder.
I called his teacher straight away. “I’m actually familiar with the disorder,” Avi’s teacher explained. “In fact, my neighbor’s daughter was diagnosed with the very same thing. She went through the Neurolinks program in Brooklyn and no longer suffers from auditory processing problems. I would recommend giving them a call.”
That was when Avi’s life turned around; we booked him an evaluation and signed him up for the program. “Avi’s focusing skills are very weak,” said Yehudis Klein, Director of Neurolinks Brooklyn. “So he has difficulty staying on task, is easily distracted, and suffers from poor eye control. Adding to that Avi struggles with something we call motor match, meaning that his body and brain find it difficult to respond within a given timeframe. Avi’s inability to focus and keep up with the pace of life will lead to even greater problems later in life if not treated properly. The good news is that poor focus doesn’t have to be a permanent condition. The Neurolinks program uses exercises to target and improve the affected areas of the brain minimizing and even erasing these problems.”
After six months and an intense homework and daily exercise regiment, Avi is officially cured of Auditory Process Disorder. Walk into his classroom now and you’d never recognize the child who six months ago was a literal disaster. It’s really quite amazing that Neurolinks was able to provide a cure for Avi’s problems, when we thought he’d be suffering his entire life.