Brain development center to open in Columbia

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COLUMBIA - The Brain Balance Center of Columbia is preparing to open its doors to the public on Tuesday. Staff members and coaches are training to prepare for the center's grand opening.

Columbia is the newest addition to the list of over 80 Brain Balance Achievement Center locations.

The nationwide organization specializes in treating a vast number of attention, learning, processing and behavioral disorders in children without using medication. The center also works with children who have Asperger's and pervasive development disorder-not otherwise specified, or PDD-NOS.

"We help children who have these issues but that's not what we are limited to," Center Director Krista Jones said. "We help any child that is having issues socially and academically. We work with families to not just deal with the symptoms but with the cause of these issues."

Carolyn and Todd Pridemore, who own the Columbia location, said they wanted to open a center in Columbia after the facility located in Overland Park, Kan. played an instrumental role in treating their son, Andrew.

However, Pridemore said convincing the national organization to expand to Columbia was not easy.

"We had to fight to get it to Columbia," Pridemore said. "They told us they typically did not open centers in towns as small as this one. We told them it was fine, but we would not open a location anywhere else."

The organization eventually decided Columbia would be a good location and allowed the couple to move forward.

"I am overwhelmed by how many people have come to me who see the need for a non-medicinal approach to this issue," Pridemore said. "It's such a passion of ours to help those that need the help."

There has been in increase in concern over the medicinal treatment of children with mental disorders, particularly those with ADHD. ADHD ranks next to anxiety and depression as the most common mental disorders found in children according to health site MedicineNet.com.

A study updated in mid-July by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention shows 5.9 million, or 9.5 percent of, children in the U.S. between the ages of three and 17 had been diagnosed with ADHD. This study also revealed 13.5 percent of boys and 5.4 percent of girls in this age group were diagnosed with the disorder.

In Missouri, a national parent survey in 2011 showed 9.8 percent of children in the state between the ages of four and 17 had been diagnosed with ADHD.

Missouri is in the middle range of the national scale.

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