by Allie Pesch
Drs. Megan and Brice Jackson of Connections Chiropractic in Crozet have recently expanded their children’s therapy center. The newly launched Connections Achievement and Therapy Center offers non-drug options for children suffering from a variety of disorders. Joining the staff are Marsha Robertson, an occupation therapist, and Edward Hootstein, a special education specialist with a PhD in education, who will perform academic testing and cognitive therapy.
Connections, which is located in the Shoppes at Clover Lawn, across from Harris Teeter on 250, offers individualized treatment programs for the improvement of conditions such as ADD, AD/HD, Asperger’s, autism, dylexia, learning disabilities, and other related disorders. According to Megan, therapy director of the Achievement and Therapy Center, the Connections philosophy is that these “neurocognitive, neurodevelopmental, and neurobehavioral disorders have multiple causes that differ for each individual. While drug treatments can be effective in reducing the immediate symptoms, they do not address the underlying cause.”
The expansion of their children’s therapy center, previously known as the Connections Center for Children, has allowed Connections to offer “one-stop,” drug-free therapy for families seeking multiple services for their children. In addition to various physical and sensory therapies, Connections’s “Fitness for the Developing Brain” program offers nutritional testing, academic testing, functional assessments and therapies, and behavioral interventions under one roof.
For example, Megan recently became a certified practitioner for Interactive Metronome®, a computer-based technology that enhances motor planning, sequencing and timing in adults and children. Interactive Metronome® can improve speech, communication, coordination and learning—performance-based skills that depend on the ability to plan and sequence actions and ideas. The Interactive Metronome® involves the principles of the traditional musical metronome, combined with the precision of a personal computer to create engaging interactive training exercises. The program uses head phones along with hand and foot sensors to coordinate movements to computer-generated musical beats. Like training wheels on a bicycle, a patented auditory guidance system progressively challenges participants to improve their motor planning, sequencing and rhythmic timing performance.
“We knew we’d see remarkable changes in motor planning skills,” says Megan. “but we didn’t know that parents would report such profound behavioral changes as well. It speaks to the brain’s ability to thrive when it has balanced, coordinated function.”
The age range for a typical patient is four to fourteen years, although Megan says they have helped younger and older children and teens. Patients are treated in 12-week sessions and then reassessed. For example, a child with mild AD/HD may need to be seen only for one session, three times a week, while a more severe case could take three 12-week sessions. Patients come in for periodic adjustments after their treatment is complete.
Megan and Brice are both graduates of Life University, a chiropractic college in Atlanta, Georgia. The couple became particularly interested in functional neurology when Megan was working at Brain Balance Achievement Center in Atlanta, and their own child was diagnosed with a mild developmental disorder (a combination of ODD, sensory-integration and auditory processing). “Seeing the great results in our own son and the success of all the children at Brain Balance inspired us to share these therapies,” Megan said.
Brice and Megan, who have three children, moved to western Albemarle in June 2008 and opened Connections Chiropractic that fall. Megan, who also teaches modern dance, jazz, and ballet classes at Old Crozet School Arts, is currently completing a certificate program in autism spectrum disorders online through James Madison University, which she will finish this May.
Connections Achievement and Therapy Center offers a free information session weekly. Call 434-823-2199 for more information.