Potential' Program Offers Hope
by Barbara Rolek, North West Indiana Times, December 30,
For more articles like this
Alex Harvey is a
little preoccupied and logical to the point of irritation.
A typical gifted child.
In truth, the 10-year-old Munster boy has Asperger's disorder.
Many cases of this syndrome go undiagnosed because it is assumed
that a child with a high IQ is bound to act differently.
According to the American Psychiatric Association, Asperger's is
one of five disorders that fit under the umbrella of Pervasive
Developmental Disorders (PDDs). Others include autistic
disorder, childhood disintegrative disorder and Rett's disorder.
While the association classifies Asperger's as a separate
disorder from autism, many professionals still consider it to be
a less severe form of autism.
"People with PDDs have an imbalance in the brain; they missed a
step in their development and some connections are incomplete.
Through examination, we determine which side of the brain is
damaged and begin to build connections between the neurons,"
said Dr. Dalynn Brummett, a board-certified chiropractic
neurologist who practices in Highland and Valparaiso.
Brummett has introduced a new therapy to Northwest Indiana,
called the Unlimited Potentials Program, for people of all ages
and a spectrum of diseases, including PDDs, attention deficit
hyperactivity disorder, stroke, Tourette's, multiple sclerosis,
Parkinson's disease, behavioral disorders and brain trauma.
"Unlimited Potentials is a drugless therapy that creates
permanent change in the brain," Brummett said.
Therapy usually consists of two to three one-hour sessions that
include chiropractic adjustments, light, sound and aroma
stimuli, use of the Interactive Metronome -- a computer-based
tool that addresses attention, learning and cognitive problems
-- and musculoskeletal, balance and aerobic exercises.
Alex Harvey is one of her patients.
At an early age, Sandra Harvey noticed he lacked reciprocal
conversation. When he was stressed, he would spin, walk on
tiptoes, tap, sing or hum. He was eccentric and spoke like a
"The other kids got annoyed and thought he was just weird," she
Harvey knew it was something else. Because her 15-year-old son
also has Asperger's, she knew the signs. Her 17-year-old
daughter does not have a PDD.
Alex has been on Brummett's program for the last two months and
Harvey said she sees a noticeable difference. Alex also is
seeing a change.
"Kids at school like me more. I'm better at volleyball and
basketball, I'm sleeping better and I'm behaving better at home
now," said Alex, who is a fifth-grader at Eads Elementary School
Diana Van Gundy first noticed something going on with her son,
Emmett, when he was about 3.
"He played side-by-side other kids, but he didn't interact with
them," the Dyer woman said.
She began talking to special education agencies and had her son
tested, but he wasn't fully diagnosed with Asperger's until he
"Emmett had fears about everything -- having his hair cut, going
to the dentist, going to school and leaving me. The weird thing
about Asperger's, it's so subtle. People think they're a little
odd, like little professors, but that's all," Van Gundy said.
"I didn't want to medicate him because that's just treating a
symptom, not a condition, and there are too many side effects,"
Van Gundy has two younger children, 6 and 4. Emmett is now 8,
attends occupational and speech therapy and has recently started
the Unlimited Potential program.
"It's incredible that despite all the things Asperger's children
have to deal with, they can go on to achieve great things," Van
Harvey and Van Gundy formed a support group to help other
parents who are going through what can be a devastating
experience for the entire family.
"Asperger's has changed our personalities forever. I am not the
same person I was 10 years ago," Harvey said. "But Alex has come
a long way, and the best is yet to come."
There are many myths about PDDs. Contrary to popular belief,
many adults and children do make eye contact, show affection,
smile, laugh and demonstrate a variety of other emotions, it
just may be less or different from a non-PDD child. Children do
not outgrow PDDs, but symptoms may lessen as the child develops
and receives treatment.
"After all these years of research, it's still not clear what
causes PDDs," Brummett said.
Theories exist linking heredity, genetics and medical problems.
There appears to be a pattern of PDDs in many families, and some
children are born with a predisposition but the trigger has not
"It is important for people to realize that PDDs are not caused
by bad parenting. They are not mental illness, nor are they bad
behavior on the part of the child," Brummett said.
"Most of all, there is hope," she said.
back to the top ~
back to Breaking News
~ back to