When Regression Strikes


“When you do something for someone else, don’t call attention to yourself. You’ve seen them in action, I’m sure—‘playactors’ I call them—treating prayer meeting and street corner alike as a stage, acting compassionate as long as someone is watching, playing to the crowds. They get applause, true, but that’s all they get. When you help someone out, don’t think about how it looks. Just do it—quietly and unobtrusively. That is the way your God, who conceived you in love, working behind the scenes, helps you out.” – Matthew 6:2-4 MSG

This is me at a pretty cool photo shoot for postpartum doula life a few weeks back. Before I realized we would be homeschooling, I thought I would just be working with and writing for moms. But alas, God had other plans. Homeschool being one.

​Homeschooling a special needs child gives you hundreds of opportunities practice small acts of kindness with great love in the dark. When nobody is looking, we’re tidying the tornado that rips through our world again and again and again. Sometimes with words. Sometimes with a squeeze. And sometimes by avoiding eye contact – because, like a dominant doberman, my daughter will aggress with too much social stimulation.

I’m so glad that I get to share this with you, dear one. Because if you are not currently raising a doberman yourself, then you get the blessing and opportunity of seeing inside our world. Which will organically make you more cognizant and (perhaps) more compassionate toward world’s you haven’t personally experienced.

If we haven’t met, welcome to my second post around the Brain Balance journey and our homeschool adventure. Why both at the same time, you might ask? Because the more we add to our life (with Wild) the more we must subtract. For her well-being… and ours!

Now back to the scoop on Brain Balance.
In my last post I didn’t quite describe what Brain Balance is. So today, I will. According to the book Disconnected Kids (a book written all about the Brain Balance program), it says this: ​

Each year, an estimated 1.5 million children-one out of every six-are diagnosed with autism, Asperger’s syndrome, ADHD, dyslexia, and obsessive compulsive disorder. Dr. Robert Melillo brings a fundamentally new understanding to the cause of these conditions with his revolutionary Brain Balance Program(tm). It has achieved real, fully documented results that have dramatically improved the quality of life for children and their families in every aspect: behavioral, emotional, academic, and social. ​

For all the families out there who have no idea what half of this language means (me raising my hand four years ago, before our diagnosis with Bliss aka Wild), it’s saying that Dr. Melilo took the time to explore how the brain functions in cases of challenging kids.

Challenging kids meaning that the world isn’t made for them. And it’s incredibly hard for them to function in it, at times… or always as in our case.

Which leads us to why we started Brain Balance.

Honestly, we’ve tried it all. Naturopathy. Homeopathy. Occupational therapy. Talk therapy. Exposure response therapy (ERT). Chiropractics. Nutrition. Probiotics and gut healing. Therapeutic baking (if there is such a thing). Yoga. Meditation. Mindfulness. Art therapy. And probably a dozen other modalities including Energy Healing (and yes, I’m a Christian!). Exhausted by a child that ravages our world, we have relentlessly pursued stability for her. Healing if it’s God’s plan (I believe it is). And safety for us.

Earlier this week, I described what Brain Balance has been doing for our girl… the regression we’re experiencing; and the hope we have in what is up ahead. I’ll share exactly what I did with our family and friends, for full transparency:

Just a few days ago, Ry told me he just wanted it all to end. He was referring to the madness. The regression we’re experiencing as his sister’s brain pathways heal…

In the adventure toward creating true “brain balance,” Bliss has reverted to behaviors we haven’t seen since three. Sudden rage. Compulsions. Fears. Frustrations. Impulse control is slight; and risk aversion non-existent. She’s running away from me in public… and yet, cornering me in the bathroom to help her resolve her angst.

This is ALL normal. It’s typical for this type of intervention. It’s hard none-the-less.

So today, I made sure this boy was heard. Witnessed and seen.

And also, I made it clear that this is NOT normal. The yelling. The destruction. Most other kids are not going through this. I confided in my precious boy that I believe he’s extra special because – really – why else would Papa trust him to be such a huge part of her life?


My joy-boy starts third grade tomorrow.

My heart is happy handing him over.

He will be heard, witnessed, and seen daily.

He will change lives with what he has heard, witnessed, and seen. I believe it. Do you?

My Papa can make beauty from ashes. Every time I look around, I am reminded of this.

What I pray what you can sense in these words above is that we have hope. We have hope for our entire family. And we have hope in God, most of all. Even after an early and sick baby, CFS/ME, cancer, and all the chaos in between including Wild’s diagnosis with OCD and SPD, I have no doubts that my God is a good, good Father.

If what we’re going through is for no greater purpose than to direct others toward Him, it’s worth it.

Also, I’d like for it to be easier (wink – I’m human so of course I have my own desires!). But I am willing to go the course to make Him known.

So, what Brain Balance wins have we had thus far? Increased visual perception (we can say hurry and she notices her environment and does exactly that… hurry) and new-this-week, independent play! She’s struggled immensely with this over the years.

I’ll end here today. What questions do you have for us? Where are you on your wild path? Mother or other, do you still have hope? What does that look like to you?

We’re cheering you on! Now. Yesterday. Tomorrow. Always.

Published by Jennifer Magnano

Inspired by a woman's transition into and transformation in motherhood, Jennifer is passionate about acceptance, inclusion, growth, and inter-generational mental health. Over the last decade, she has encouraged masses of mothers around the world through her writing, yoga instruction, and as an Ayurvedic postpartum doula. As a candid storyteller, Jennifer's muse is "shared-experience" with mothers and families who face diverse life challenges. She is a melanoma survivor, a chronic disease "thriver" and special needs parent. Residing in Arizona with her husband Scott, they raise two miracle kids, a future therapy dog named Mya, all the edible plants, and hundreds of worms on a perfectly imperfect, tiny piece of desert land.

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