Transformation is defined as the act or process of changing in form, appearance, nature, or character.
The following stories are about real clients of Falcone Institute. Their names have been changed to respect their privacy.
From Depression to Personal Empowerment
Brian, a 16 year-old high school sophomore, came to Falcone Institute feeling depressed and hopeless. He felt overwhelmed with the demands of school and athletics and unprepared to deal with stressors within his family. In addition to failing in school, Brian's parents were more fearful that he would turn to drugs and alcohol and engage in other self-destructive behaviors to deal with his feelings of sadness and overwhelm.
Learning and academic achievement never came easy to Brian; however, he was able to manage his learning issues in elementary and middle school. High school has been an even greater challenge for Brian given the increased workload and hectic schedule of after-school sports. Brian struggled to keep his head above water during his freshman year, but now questioned whether or not he could or wanted to stay afloat this year. He felt lost and out-of-place both socially and academically. At home, Brian's siblings had all moved away for college, leaving him feeling alone in a house that experienced frequent conflict and stressors. Brian felt angry and trapped.
Brian wanted to feel good about himself. He wanted to get back on track with school and pass his classes. He also wanted to learn how to deal with challenging emotions and uncomfortable feelings with his friends and family. Brian's parents wanted him to be safe and make healthy choices for himself. They wanted their son to be happy and successful both personally and academically.
Falcone Institute conducted a learning assessment with Brian to determine that his learning challenges were due to difficulties with language comprehension. Also, after exploring and understanding family history, Falcone Institute recognized a sibling pattern of depression and withdrawal. Brian was beginning to repeat the attitude and behaviors modeled by his older siblings rather than allowing his true self to shine.
Over the past 4 months, we have helped Brian develop greater awareness and control over his emotions and perceptions. We have addressed Brian's negative core beliefs, transforming his mind and body to internalize greater self-esteem and personal empowerment. We taught Brian specific learning skills for language comprehension to help him follow through and succeed with his academic responsibilities. We worked with Brian's parents and siblings to create clear boundaries and foster positive conflict resolution within the home.
Brian is now feeling good about himself and confident he can learn and succeed. Brian passed his first semester courses and now feels more prepared and comfortable in school. Brian is clean from drugs and alcohol and is finding happiness once again playing his guitar and spending time with his family and friends.
From Academic Difficulties to Independent Success
Josh, a 12 year old in the 6th grade, was failing his classes and acting out in the classroom. Josh's parents were concerned because he didn't have academic and behavioral problems in elementary school.
Josh was considered a good student in elementary school. In general, he was well-behaved and motivated. Now in middle school, Josh had to adjust to a new school and new students. Josh was labeled as inattentive, lazy, and uncaring by some of his teachers. Josh's parents had also been called in by the school due to reports of disruptive behavior. Josh's parents reported that they had to sit with him every night to help him complete his homework otherwise it would take him too long to finish. Josh was tested for attention issues and given medication; however, he stated that it made him feel “weird.”
Josh wanted school to be easier and fun without having to take his medication. He wanted to be able to make friends and get good grades. Josh also wanted homework to be easier and faster. Josh's parents knew he was a smart kid and wanted to understand why he was struggling in school and what could be done about it. They wanted to him to become an independent student who could succeed on his own.
Falcone Institute reviewed previous testing and conducted a learning assessment with Josh to determine that he had difficulty making sense of complex, abstract language. Josh's learning issue became evident as the academic material in middle school progressively became more challenging and abstract. Falcone Institute understood that Josh's learning issue would demonstrate as inattention and apathy in class since he was having difficulty following along and keeping up. Falcone Institute also discovered that Josh was being bullied at school, which contributed to his school anxiety and disruptive behaviors.
During a 9 month program, Josh learned and performed specific skills and methods for establishing and managing his emotional well-being. Josh learned how to take greater responsibility for his attitude and actions. Josh learned cognitive skills for improved abstract comprehension and expression, both in speaking and writing, at and above grade level. Josh's parents developed a better understanding of Josh's learning needs. They learned skills and methods for helping empower Josh as an independent learner at home.
Josh completed the 6th grade with all A's and B's. The school bullying stopped, and Josh was able to make and keep new friends. Josh is feeling good about himself and happy that he is no longer required to take his medication for attention. Josh is now able to accurately complete his school work on his own in a timely manner. Josh's parents understand him better and are pleased to see him happy and successful. Josh is currently enjoying the 7th grade and maintaining honor roll status.
From Family Conflicts to Family Dynamics
Megan, a 15 year old high school freshman, was struggling academically and acting out emotionally at home. Her parents, Linda and Mark, returned to Falcone Institute seeking help for Megan, their youngest of three daughters. Eight years ago, the oldest daughter, Kristen, participated in a program to strengthen her reading and spelling skills. Over a span of three years, Falcone Institute worked with Kristen to help her successfully transition into high school, while helping the parents understand their child’s unique learning style and needs.
This time, Megan began demonstrating similar learning needs. Her sister Erin, the middle child, excelled in school and sports. Megan received reading help at her elementary school; however, she began to struggle and fall behind in middle school. Megan, a naturally bright girl, entered high school feeling defeated and angry. She frequently dealt with her challenging emotions by fighting with her sister Erin and parents or withdrawing to be alone. Around this same time, Kristen moved away to college and Linda and Mark, were beginning to fight and grow distant from each other.
Megan wanted to feel less stressed about school and home life. She wanted to be able to read and write more easily and quickly. Megan wanted her parents to stop comparing her to her sister, and she wanted her parents to get along again. Linda and Mark wanted Megan to succeed academically and feel good about herself. They agreed to put their differences aside for the best interest of Megan and their family.
Falcone Institute was quite familiar with the learning needs prevalent in this family. Falcone Institute assessed that Megan truly never corrected her reading challenges through the school system, particularly for complex, multisyllable words found in middle school and high school material. Megan’s feelings of stupidity and incompetence caused her to feel insecure and angry. Megan would become defensive and combative towards her sister Erin, as she felt less than her sister. Megan was also feeling overwhelmed with the stress of dealing with her parent’s frequent fighting, which impacted her focus and motivation in school. Kristen, Megan’s buffer for personal and family stress, was no longer around for immediate emotional support causing Megan to feel alone and misunderstood.
Over the past 6 months at Falcone Institute, Megan participated in an intensive reading therapy and writing program to address her learning needs. Megan also learned specific skills and methods for emotional awareness and emotional management to help her increase her self-esteem and personal empowerment when dealing with school stressors and family dynamics. Falcone Institute provided parental counseling to increase their understanding of Megan’s individuality and needs, while fostering a collaborative approach to parenting. Falcone Institute also performed home visits with the entire family to strengthen sibling bonds and create a supportive, nurturing family environment based on respect for individual talents and personalities.
Megan quickly developed and integrated her reading skills gaining greater confidence and pleasure from her reading fluency. Megan states that she no longer shakes from panic and embarrassment when having to read out loud in her classes. Megan’s writing skills have also improved, and she is now in Honors English. Megan also happily reports that her family is getting along much better as well. Despite occasionally having family annoyances and disagreements, Megan’s parents say that they are all now managing the situations in more positive, productive ways. With lower academic pressure, Megan has also embraced her artistic talents and is finding great joy through painting and dance.
From Neurological Impairment to Performance
Connor, an 8 year old living with Cerebral Palsy, experienced limited body control and learning challenges due to the impact of his neurological disorder. Connor's parents were afraid that their son would be unable to keep up with his peers academically and socially.
Connor, a bright and happy boy, spent most of his time limited to his wheelchair and reliant upon constant attention and assistance from his parents and personal aides. Due to the neurological effects of Cerebral Palsy, Connor was unable to perform many of the physical movements most people take for granted, including standing and walking. Connor had difficulty moving his mouth and tongue, which made speaking and communicating with others quite challenging. Connor also experienced frequent and uncontrollable muscle spasms mainly with his arms and legs. Connor had to endure multiple surgeries over the years to facilitate proper body development and growth. Connor relied upon personal aides at school to wheel him around the classroom and playground as well as to write for him since he had very limited control of his arms and hands. Connor's parents did everything they could to care for him and create as normal a childhood as possible for him.
Connor wanted to be like all of the other kids his age. He wanted to have control over his body so that he could walk and play with his friends. Connor's parents wanted him to grow and develop both physically and cognitively. They wanted Connor to develop greater physical control and independence. They knew he was a smart boy, and they wanted to see him learn and keep up academically with his peers.
Before reviewing testing and medical reports, Falcone Institute met with Connor and his family to conduct an informal assessment to get to know his thoughts, feelings, and personality. It was evident from the first meeting that Connor was intelligent and full of life. Falcone Institute understood that Connor's limited movement impacted his cognitive development, particularly in terms of language processing and memory. Falcone Institute determined that as Connor developed body awareness and muscle control he would become a more independent learner and experience greater normalcy at school and at home.
Over the past year, Connor has participated in an individualized program designed to address his physical and learning needs. Connor participates in a holistic program that integrates mind and body to facilitate his neurological, emotional, and cognitive development. Falcone Institute has also worked closely with Connor's parents, personal aides, and teachers to educate and empower them with skills and methods to facilitate his personal development at home and at school.
Connor is currently enjoying the fourth grade with his peers. Connor is meeting and exceeding grade level expectations. Connor now independently pushes himself in his wheelchair and is able to walk with some support. Connor has improved his speech articulation, which has helped him become more social and involved with others. Connor's parents are so proud of his personal growth and are excited to watch and support him as he continues to develop. When Connor used to perform actions for the first time, such as voluntarily blinking, he would frequently say that he couldn't believe it. Connor has surpassed many of his personal expectations and now believes whole-heartedly in himself and his goals.
From Adult ADHD to Personal Success
Millie came to Falcone Institute at the age of 22. She had difficulty maintaining meaningful relationships, organizing her life, and making healthy choices. Since childhood, she struggled with ADHD (difficulty with attention, concentration and focus) as well as difficulty tolerating frustration, which caused her to "give up" rather than persist until she accomplished her goal. Additionally Millie had difficulty with language processing, which culminated in lifelong learning struggles. Instead of problem solving, Millie would become angry and aggressive when she encountered obstacles, seeing herself as being victimized by an unfair person or situation.
Millie had underlying attachment, adoption, foster parent and early childhood developmental issues as well as personal safety issues as a result of early and ongoing childhood trauma. Contributing to her situation, her biological mother lived on the streets was a life long drug addict suffering from mood disorders and had the mental ability of a twelve-year-old. Millie was taken from her birth mother at three, and placed in foster care for two years before being adopted by a family with two older biological male siblings when she was five.
Millie wanted to feel successful. She wanted to be less reactive. She wanted to learn how to learn. She wanted to go to a trade school and perhaps college someday.
Falcone Institute determined that although Millie was intellectually bright, and artistically gifted with superior non-verbal ability, she was hampered by early childhood trauma, low-average verbal abilities and inattention tendencies. Falcone Institute concluded that Millie suffered from a language processing deficiency complicated by trauma. The interrelationship between her childhood trauma and depressed language development diminished her ability to process classroom language, maintain healthy relationships and excel at learning.
Over a six month period, Millie underwent a 20 hour per week intense emotional and cognitive language processing program which focused on the interrelationship between several major areas of deficit: emotional difficulties, attention difficulties, social difficulties and language processing difficulties. Through these specific focuses, Falcone Institute helped Millie to develop and enhance her academic, social, familial and personal skills.
In the two years that followed, Millie demonstrated an ability to establish and achieve goals, communicate with decreased reactivity, anxiety, anger and confusion while securing and maintaining a full time job and meaningful personal relationships.