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I am concerned about programs like Brain Gym and Bal-A-Vis-X, which claim to be beneficial for children with learning disabilities, ADHD, behavioral disorders, and a whole host of other problems. These programs are being implemented in schools without a shred of controlled research to document such claims. Can anything be done to stop them?

I share your concern. The definition of a “controversial therapy” is either that: (1) there is no evidence to support the concept; (2) there is clear evidence to show that the concept does not work; or, (3) the concept is being used for financial gain before there is research to validate that the concept is correct. I believe that the programs you refer to fit definitions 1 and 3.

The problem is that if a parent has a child with a disability, he or she is vulnerable to anyone who says they can help or fix their child. Such parents are at risk for spending time and money and for putting their child through programs that will not accomplish what is stated. The organizations will not change. The best hope is to educate parents and to remind them, “the buyer beware.”

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