Brain development center opens in Columbia

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COLUMBIA - Brain Balance, a brain development center for children, opened its doors in Columbia Tuesday morning.

Carolyn and Todd Pridemore, the owners of Columbia's Brain Balance Achievement Center, worked for months with officials from Brain Balance's national headquarters to approve the location in Columbia.

This came after concerns that Mid-Missouri wasn't big enough to want a facility in the area, because most of the other 80 locations are located in urban areas.

"We told them all the reasons Columbia was the perfect place to open, and they finally saw it," said Carolyn Pridemore.  "It's been neat because every corporate person who has come to visit, and we've had four in the last couple of weeks, has fallen in love with Columbia, Missouri."

Brain Balance has 36 students enrolled that are waiting for an assessment and will undergo sensory motor training, stimulation and cognitive activities with nutritional and dietary guidelines.

After these assessments are complete, the parents will be presented with a full report and show exactly why they are seeing the behaviors that their child is showing and go from there to work toward a goal.

With Sylvan Learning Center being next door, Pridemore believes the two businesses will work together to provide comprehensive help for families.

"Some kids need homework help, and Sylvan is the perfect place to go for that.  What we do, is if there's some sort of neurological reason that the child is struggling, we can help support that too."

The center also works with children who have Aspergers and pervasive development disorder-not otherwise specified, or PDD-NOS.

The Pridemore's realized they wanted to start a brain development center last December, after traveling to Overland Park, Kan. three days a week for their son, Andrew, who was diagnosed with APD, ADHD and Asperger syndrome.

After several sessions, Andrew progressed socially and academically, which made the Pridemore's believe other families with these same issues needed to have the opportunities their son was given.

"We felt like we've been given this gift, and then it turned into a burden because we knew so many people like us that needed that gift," Pridemore said. "So we contacted corporate Brain Balance and asked for location in Columbia."

After lobbying company officials in California, the location was approved to start up a center.

"I know there's hope for these kids and for families like ours."

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention conducted a survey in July that shows nearly 10 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.

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

For more information on how to enroll your child in the program, visit the Brain Balance Center of Columbia's website, here.