K. Garvin, Parent (Hopedale, MA)
My daughter was struggling in school. The school evaluated her several times but could not deduce what was wrong, only that something was. We suspect that she has problems concentrating and gets easily overwhelmed, shutting down when she feels frustrated. I have known Joan for a decade, and have always admired her positive energy, work ethic and devotion. When a mutual friend gave glowing reports of her daughter's progress in school after Joan's tutelage, I approached Joan to find out if Brain Gym could help us. Joan is extremely passionate about her work and the progress of her students. Her enthusiasm is contagious; my daughter looks forward to her after-school Brain Gym sessions because they seem like play, not work. The goal is to teach tools for overcoming blocks to learning such as boredom, frustration, distractions, confusion, nervousness, feeling stuck, and the desire to quit. The strategy is to offer a menu of simple ways to bring focus back to the present task, and means to move forward past these blocks. Success comes from practicing while playing and laughing, in an environment of fun, to ingrain these options so that they are second nature. After a number of sessions with Joan, my daughter's school papers started coming home with better grades. She also started noticing and commenting on things in her environment more so than before. I asked her about how she felt before a certain test that she had done well on, and whether it was different than the panic she usually felt. Her response was that she used a new strategy, and was able to calm herself enough to focus on the content of the test instead of the pressure of the test. This new confidence gives us both hope.