This week, I’ve been sharing my journey with Brain Sprints as I worked with my daughter and my husband through a NeuroDevelopmental approach to some of their learning struggles. This isn't a sponsored post, just us sharing our experience so that others can get help as we did!
So far I’ve shared how we stumbled across the NeuroDevelopmental approach and the physical and mental exercises assigned to us to strengthen the developmental foundation and speed up their processors. Tomorrow I'm sharing practical ways that we implemented the plan.
Today I want to focus on the third approach to healing through Brain Sprints: spiritual growth.
The Power of A Multi-faceted Approach
I love that Brain Sprints makes a plan for a human. I mean, they look at a person from many perspectives and work out the struggles from multiple angles. If someone is discouraged with reading, it’s not just an issue of needing more time with their phonograms. It might be a vision issue or a processing issue. Maybe they skipped a developmental step, or their brain isn’t quite organized so the information that gets stored can never be found again.
As my daughter was reading through this (because I get her approval to share all of her journeys), she remembered how Dr. Jan was so purposeful in what she pointed out and what she left alone. While Audrey demonstrated her handwriting, Dr. Jan overlooked silly spelling errors because she knew those would be corrected in time. She put Audrey at ease by seeing her as a whole person and not just the sum of her failures.
While the physical movements shore up one’s foundation, and the mental activities speed up the processor, perfectionism could keep someone from making progress.
There’s No Room For Perfectionism
One of the sweetest things that I noticed in both my daughter and my husband’s first assessments was how Dr. Jan lovingly shared her own struggle with perfectionism. When you’ve struggled with feeling “less-than” for a long period of your life, it’s easy to think that perfection is the solution.
Dr. Jan knows this tendency, and humbly shares her own struggle with perfectionism. It’s from this place of understanding that she gently counseled both my daughter and then my husband to let go of trying to be perfect. There was only One perfect person: Jesus. Therefore we can rest in His perfection.
This was such a wonderful way to start our journey, because it wasn’t going to be easy, and we were definitely not going to work our NeuroDevelopmental plan perfectly.
Replacing Negative Self-Talk with Truth
The NeuroDevelopmental approach is all about creating new pathways. Among the activities involved to create and heal these neuropathways was an “I Am” list.
Essentially, the goal was to repeat God’s truth about who you are to yourself. It’s fairly easy to slip into “Eeyore-ish” thinking, so this was a very powerful exercise. Without knowing it, you can build a habit of repeating things that seemed true to you, but are, at their root, lies. My husband expressed that at times what he was saying to himself sounded very humble:
“It’s okay - my goal was just too high. I knew I wouldn’t be able to really achieve it.”
“I’m still working on it. I just don’t feel satisfied with what I’ve done.”
“I wish I hadn’t started this project. Surely someone else is more qualified.”
When you’re faced with a list of areas to work on, it can be discouraging. It’s easy to slip into a mindset that is defensive and critical. This leads to stress and then short fuses in response to correction.
Listening to Yourself Speak Truth
When you consistently repeat these truths to yourself a couple of times a day, they start to sink in. My husband actually had to record himself reading his “I Am” list and listen to himself saying them. He can attest that hearing them in his own voice was powerful—especially when you’re listening to this list twice a day at least 4-5 days a week.
My husband shares his thoughts on this simple exercise:
I didn’t realize how negative my thinking had become. I had heard everything on the “I Am” list before, but hearing it like this was different. Hearing something like, “I am loved,” or “I am wonderfully made,” or “I am complete in Christ” once in a while didn’t have the same impact as it did with the frequency and intensity assigned in my NeuroDevelopmental plan. As I listened with faith, the lies began to not only surface but get replaced.
It is so much easier to discern a lie. My tendency was to feed lies about my identity. I believed many of those things were true - inevitable certainties that blocked the path truth was meant to travel. The truths in the “I Am” list slowly broke away the negative baggage in my mind. And it is so freeing. To a perfectionist, truth is scary because it generally gets translated into a message about your failure.
Brain Training to Be Positive
My daughter’s assignment was a bit different. She listened to the “Be Positive” CD, and while sometimes it felt childish, the different voices of men and women mixed in with kids' voices were a sweet reminder of the truth about how unique of a creation she really is.
This audio track led reminded us of the Seeds Family Worship songs we listened to when she was little, and the power of memorizing scripture.
It is so interesting how when you hide God’s Word in your heart, it comes back exactly when you need it. There were so many times when it felt like nothing was changing and the work we were doing was fruitless. With these activities assigned in the plan, you realize the blessing of having a personalized plan designed for a human made in the image of God. So good.
Submitting Your Emotions to the Lord
In this process, we really learned the power of submitting our emotions to the Lord. Often, I would find my daughter in her room writing songs to express her feelings to the Lord. One of my favorites shows her reliance on the Lord in her fear, in her longing to be whole, and in her wandering to find a home:
I Will Rejoice
Say to those with fearful hearts
Be strong; do not fear; your God will come.
Say to those with longing hearts
Hold on; hang tight; 'cause the sun will come
Say to those with wandering hearts
Come home; He will guide you back to where the sun's from
The wilderness will rejoice and blossom
Seeing the glory of the Lord
Spectacular incredible Creator
Wonderful defending Father
Beautiful amazing Christ
I will rejoice
In the way, you come for me
In the way, you bring me peace
I will sing out
Calling out your name
Inviting you in from guest to host
In essence, she’s saying that she will let God be the Lord of her life. It’s easy to have expectations in how you want things to turn out, but God’s way is best. And when He becomes the host of the party, it’s going to be good.
A Little Help From Essential Oils
While this was not assigned in our plan, I believe our journey would not have been the same without the help we received from essential oils. We read through Releasing Emotional Patterns with Essential Oils and noticed many parallels to the NeuroDevelopmental approach.
While we didn’t follow this book as closely as we followed our INP, it did help us become more aware of the impact of our negative emotions and work them out through the frequent replacement of lies with God’s truth while breathing in essential oils that stimulate the neuropathways associated with those emotions.
Essentially, we were reminded of the importance of creating a positive learning environment that is centered around the Lord. Like the priests in the Old Testament, our job as parents is to keep the lamp burning—keep the presence of the Lord in the center of our homes.
Tomorrow I will be sharing with you how I kept my materials organized, worked our activities into our regular schedule, and kept everyone motivated to keep working!
If you think your child could benefit from a NeuroDevelopmental plan, you can schedule a free 15-minute consultation. This was very helpful for me in deciding how I could help Audrey in her journey.
Betsy Strauss is an unexpected homeschooler, mother of three, who is in a relationship with a sweet man for life. She loves reading books, drinking coffee, and learning anything with her kids.