Business

Eagle business tackles children’s learning, behavioral disorders

Sensory motion coach Crystal Black helps a pair of brothers through sensory-motor training at Brain Balance Achievement Centers in Eagle. The center is a new business that helps children with learning and behavioral difficulties.
Sensory motion coach Crystal Black helps a pair of brothers through sensory-motor training at Brain Balance Achievement Centers in Eagle. The center is a new business that helps children with learning and behavioral difficulties. kgreen@idahostatesman.com

Dawna and Ray Booth were looking for a way to help one of their seven grandchildren with her neurological issues when they learned about a national business called Brain Balance Achievement Centers. One of the centers in Utah - there are two - was "helping children with Asperger's achieve their full potential," Dawna says.

After visiting three centers outside of Idaho and meeting their directors and clients, the Booths "decided we must bring the business to Idaho," she says.

The couple opened a franchise in June called Brain Balance Achievement Centers of Eagle.

Ray Booth is a licensed clinical psychologist and former director of the outpatient mental health center at Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center. Dawna Booth has a degree in child development.

The center works with children age 4 to 18 who have learning and behavioral disorders. Staff members work with children on academic, social and behavioral potential using a "drug-free, whole-child approach," Dawna Booth says. They exercise sensory-motor, coordination and balance and cognitive abilities through activities for posture, timing and rhythm, spatial orientation, listening comprehension and written and oral expression.

The center has "coaches" who are certified teachers or educated in exercise physiology.

"Our desire is to help children recover from these distressing issues," she says.

Q: What makes your business unique and sets it apart from your competition?

A: We are the only Brain Balance Center in the Northwest [and] the program is unique in the United States. In a Brain Balance Achievement Centers outcome study among children with ADHD, 81 percent of children who enrolled in the program no longer fit the criteria for ADHD.

Sixty percent of the children studied demonstrated a minimum of a two grade-level increase in various academic measures. An additional approximately 35 percent of the children studied demonstrated a four grade-level increase or better, on average, based on academic achievement testing after 12 weeks.

Q: What challenges have you faced, and how have you met them?

A: It was initially difficult to find financing in this tough economic climate. But a local bank [Banner Bank] that we had worked with previously was helpful and prompt in securing an SBA [Small Business Administration] loan for us. Other than that, it seems our steps have been guided along the way.

Q: What do you hope to achieve in three to five years?

A: We hope to become the go-to center in [the Boise area] for parents who are seeking an alternative approach to medicine when trying to help their children who are struggling with learning and behavioral disorders. We would also like to open a second center in the Treasure Valley to make it an easier drive for busy parents.

Audrey Dutton: 377-6448

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