Dr. Robert Melillo is one of the most respected specialists in childhood neurological disorders worldwide. His areas of expertise include autism spectrum disorder, PDD/NOS, ADD/ADHD, OCD, dyslexia, Asperger’s syndrome, as well as other behavioral and learning disorders.
Dr. Melillo has been in clinical practice for 25 years and is a best-selling author, his cutting-edge research led to the creation of Brain Balance Achievement Centers. These after-school learning centers use a program that consists of brain training, physical exercises, and dietary advice to help children with developmental and learning disabilities.
Arjan happens to be a long-time friend of Dr. Melillo, as he was once one of Arjan’s professors. I have personally met him once when he taught a course in Barcelona.
Dr. Melillo’s research focuses on brain “imbalances”. In autism, for instance, the brain’s two hemispheres are at an imbalance: put simply, one side of the brain is “weaker” than the other.
By stimulation of the weaker side with so-called reflex inhibition exercises, Dr. Melillo aims to strengthen certain connections in the weaker side of the brain.
Many of the children he sees still have certain primitive reflexes. Primitive reflexes, discussed later in this chapter, are reflexes babies have when they are born. An example is the Babinski reflex: when you stimulate a baby’s foot with a blunt instrument, the toes go up, while in a toddler the toes go down. Reflexes like this are normally suppressed by the development of the frontal lobes as a child gets older.
Interestingly, I saw some primitive reflexes reappear after my stroke. To get rid of these, you can do the aforementioned reflex inhibition exercises.
A Harvard-affiliated study recently showed interesting preliminary results with the hemisphere specific exercises that Dr. Melillo uses for children with a neurodevelopmental disorder; brain function significantly changes in several aspects doing so.
If you remember the message that I posted for the Two Years Post-Stroke Anniversary, I mentioned that I was struggling with spasticity in my arm. Arjan designed an exercise plan for me, which I followed, and within ten months of doing those exercises every day, my spasticity was reduced by 50%!
We call these exercises ‘basic neuromotor exercises’ -- and they consist of pre-crawling, reflex inhibition exercises, and other exercises put together in a specific sequence.
Basically, it is making movements like a baby again. I’ve been doing these exercises for almost a year now, and it works!
The Brain.rehab centers (first center is opening in the summer 2019 is Zutphen, Holland) will feature these exercises, as well as integrative therapies including laser, vibration, music, smell, movement, touch and QEEG activity measurement. Moreover, there will be a lab that collects biometric data, including postural stability, ocular motor control and gate-performance (how well you walk).
We can’t wait to open the first Brain.rehab center! And thanks to Dr. Rob Melillo for an awesome interview in New York!
Ps. We will upload this interview on YouTube under our brain.rehab channel, as soon as we are finished editing it.
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