“Boy, you really understand our son/daughter!” This is a phrase we hear a lot from parents that come to Brain Fit Academy. Very often, we hear words like that during (or after) the screening.
You may be wondering…just what is the “screening”?
You see, once a family has contacted Brain Fit about our services, the first thing that happens is that a phone call is put in to the family. The purpose of the phone call is to listen to the concerns, explain a little bit about what we do at Brain Fit, and to answer any initial questions that the family may have.
Next, if the family has decided that they are interested in working with us, we work on scheduling the screening. The screening is a chance for us to meet the parents and child, “screen” the child for any retained primitive reflexes and other potential difficulties that might be holding the child back, as well as give us a good indication as to whether the child is a good match for our program. And- when I say child, remember we see teens and adults too- but the screenings for teens may look a little different than for kids, and adults don’t need to go through a screening process at all.
Since COVID-19, our screenings have taken place in two parts. The first part takes place online through Zoom. We meet with the parents for about an hour to discuss the paperwork that the parents filled in and sent back after the initial phone call. The paperwork gives us information about the child’s developmental history, as well as the pregnancy- see my previous post titled “What was the Pregnancy Like?“. This first meeting gives us a chance to have a conversation about the child, as well as start the education process for the parents. The cool thing that’s happened since COVID and doing this first part of the screening on Zoom? It’s made it much more accessible for both parents to attend- which is such a beautiful thing!
After the zoom screening, we schedule the second part of the screening, which is done in-person. Since we are a movement based program, one of the important things we need to do is evaluate the motor (movement) patterns of the client. So that of course, is most easily done face-to-face.
The in-person part of the screening is done in true Brain Fit style- experiential!! It often starts off with a game of balloon volleyball- but don’t worry, even in that first game, the client is already being evaluated. We are pretty good at noticing unintegrated Primitive Reflexes- after all we see them everywhere (see prior post titled “I See Them Everywhere) so we start our evaluation the minute a client walks in the door!
I mentioned that the screening is experiential. Well, also in true Brain Fit style, it also includes visuals. We love using visuals and during the screening is no exception. We have visuals that allow the child to choose the next part of the screening that we will do. This empowers the child with choices and also helps them to feel more like they are part of the process- instead of just being “told what to do”. It also helps the child to know what’s coming next. Sometimes, we get kids that might feel a little apprehensive about certain parts of the screening- such as when they see “writing” or “coordination”. Having a say in when those (potentially more difficult) tasks are completed can put a worried mind at ease! Eventually, we get through all the pieces of the screening anyway, and the order of the tasks isn’t our focus.
The other thing that happens during a screening is more parent education. As I mentioned in a previous blog post titled Parents are Partners, parents are a big part of Brain Fit. Many parents attend the sessions with their children, and the coaches give ongoing education about what we are doing- and why. But at the screening, both in the Zoom screening and the in-person screening, parents are introduced to many of the Brain Fit concepts and their (as well as the child’s) education begins. Parents are also given handouts (as well as links to online webinars we’ve created) sometime during the screening process. These are meant to supplement the direct education from the coaches or Pam, and provide important, basic information about foundational concepts used during Brain Fit sessions.
So there. That’s a very basic outline of what the screening process is all about.
I will tell you that the screening is generally fun for kids, although they might leave a little tired because we are working them, even though it might not feel like work per se.
And like I said- we often have parents who comment about how we really understand their child. They comment on how we can explain the “unexplained“, and (I dare say) they leave the screening with a renewed sense of hope.
The screening. It may sound a little intimidating, but really?
Really- it’s just the start of a new, beautiful journey that we go on with our Brain Fit Families.