Emergent Properties of the Connected Brain

In today’s podcast, I talk with Dr. Val Brown co-founder of the Zengar institute and one of the world’s leading experts in Neurofeedback. His work has significantly advanced the field of neurofeedback and his work transformed what we know today as Neuroptimal®, the only non-linear neurofeedback system you can do at home.

 In this podcast we talk about:

  • Recent research discussing how parts of the brain work together 
  • What is brain turbulence? (and how neurofeedback can help)
  • How neurofeedback taps into your specific potential to increase flexibility and resilience


Miriam Bellamy: Hi, Dr. Brown. I am Miriam Bellamy. I am a licensed marriage and family therapist. I’m the mom who started this group. I’ve been in practice for almost 25 years. I discovered neurofeedback about six years ago for myself and my family. It was so transformative. I started whole family neurofeedback and I started this group and so one of the benefits of being a neurofeedback mom, Is that you get access, direct access to some of the world’s leading experts on lots of topics like parenting child development and that kind of thing, and neurofeedback. And today we have one of the world’s leading experts on neurofeedback, Dr.

Valin Brown. He is the co-founder of Zengar Institute along with his wife, Dr. Sue Brown. For many years he was featured as a keynote speaker nationally and internationally at conferences in the fields of neurofeedback and child psychology. He developed and published the five phase model of neurofeedback which was the first and still the only approach to clinical neurofeedback that integrated multiple protocols into a single comprehensive approach. With his background in mathematics, physics computer programming and research, he was able to co-develop, again, with his wife, Dr. Sue Brown, the period three approach, which has ultimately developed into non-linear or what’s known as neuro optimal neurofeedback.

We talk a lot about that in the group. So a lot of you I know, have heard about that. So welcome Dr. Brown. Val, appreciate you being here again with us .

Dr. Val Brown: Thank you. I, I definitely enjoy these kinds of talks, especially when, when we get to go sort of back and forth the way that you and I have because yeah, it just makes it more access.

You know? Yes. Yeah. And that’s really important to

Miriam Bellamy: me, and that’s part of my job, is translating the really complex things you’ll say so that moms can understand, you know, how do we help our kids? Right? So as we go please feel free to put your little likes or post comments down below. I’ll be able to monitor those.

And as those come in, I know we have several neuro optimal folks who are watching this evening. So hopefully they’ll pop in some questions as. So we wanted to talk about this article that came out. I’ve got it printed here in November, 2020 two’s issue of science. It’s called the Emergent Properties of the Connected Brain.

And it’s really calling into question, this idea that. You know, a vision is located here, or hearing is here, and it’s this idea that, that the brain function is localized. And so I want you to comment first. So brain function isn’t localized, right? It’s about this interconnectivity the hole is greater than the sum of the parts.

So can you, can you talk more about that? Go ahead. Yes.

Dr. Val Brown: It, it’s, it’s not an either or question. Hmm. It’s because, yeah, there, there are different regions. If you. To the brain, but just because there are this, these differential regions, doesn’t mean that they do anything on their own. So you, you say something like, well, vision is here, or hearing is there, or, you know, that’s not entirely true.

It’s, it’s all interconnected and it makes much more sense to think overall of how the brain functions in terms of lu’s typology of processes, which was three levels of process. The, the primary process are the absolute dedicated locations. and those are fairly well hidden inside so that they’re kind of the most protected, if you will.

They’re also the oldest. A pretty good example of that is smell. So smell is bilaterally directly connected. So that it motorically as well, so that as soon as you smell something awful that is potentially noxious or toxic, you move back from. , that’s a lived response. That’s just part of the operating system, and it’s at a very primitive level, which makes sense.

You wouldn’t want to have a biological organism that would be predisposed to approach things that are potentially toxic, right? Very little of the brain is organized that way, very, very. Oh, interesting. Even things that we think of, as, you know, the speech center or the speech is a very complex process that involves not just receptive, but also expressive and imaginative profitability’s or functions or you know, aspects.

And without all of those things, human speech devolves into just sounds so, To try to say, well, speech is here. No, that’s not true. And there, there are a lot of ways you can see that. One is if that location gets damaged to a large degree, other regions will take over they still will keep, they’ll keep that process alive. So it doesn’t really make sense to say, well, it’s localized. No, it’s how it’s organized. Primary process is the, the smallest of the processes, if you will, It’s the most localized. It’s, it’s the most, it’s, if it gets damaged, you may completely lose that ability. Okay. If it gets damaged badly enough, possible.

Secondary process is, is sort of what integrates or organizes primary process among many other things. That’s not all it does. So it’s not just a hierarchy, but it’s increasing levels of integration and interactivity. So perception is much more secondary and even tertiary than primary. So when we perceive visually, We’re not only perceiving, we’re remembering, and we’re imagining all at the same time.

We can’t separate those out really. Now, yes, you can. You can constrain the person, you can constrain the visual apparatus. You can do a variety of things to try to isolate down to component skills or processes, but you gotta do a lot to make that happen. What do you

Miriam Bellamy: mean? What do you, what do you mean constrain the individual?

What are you.

Dr. Val Brown: Well, it, it, the, this whole left brain, right brain thing is just off. It’s just wrong. And it comes from a misreading of Gaga’s studies done in the sixties. He had a, a cohort of patients who had intractable seizures. Something like an average of seven a. And they had tried everything and nothing worked.

So the thought was, what was happening was too much crosstalk. The the brain is organized so that above a structure known as the corpus callosum it’s is separable into different physical regions and actually into four quadrants. But the primary distinction tends to be left, right? That’s the sort of the first, most fundamental one. So the thought was, well, let’s sever the corpus callosum, which is that last layer that interconnects was the thinking, and maybe that will diminish. the amount of the seizing activity because seizing activity emerges in the context of cross-connect difficulties of various kinds. It didn’t have a sophisticated imaging back then, so they, they couldn’t really tell how that all proliferated.

Well, that worked. That did work it did decrease the number of seizures that they were experiencing, but it had an interesting side. Which was, you could localize the, the left half of each of the visual regions of processing. So each of the eyes, their, their left focus, if you will, focus that way and split that off from the right side focus.

And if you did that by putting somebody in the chair and you had their head held in place and they had a special set of,

you know, goggles kind of things on . or like what you see at the optometrist in order to make this happen depending what you, which you showed first, either to the left or to the right visual field, if you put up an ambiguous perceptual stimulus, like the word yellow, written in green letters depending which, which visual field saw it first. The person would say, oh, that’s yellow or they’d say, oh, that screen, that’s green. Okay right? So everybody went, oh my God, look at that. You know, one side’s language and one sided, you know, and just, you know, and men are from Mars and women are from Venus, and you know, all, and there’s the intuitive side and there’s the no, no, because the most, from my perspective, the most important part of that experiment was what happened.

So you show somebody to their visual field that processes language. So they’re, they’re reading and they say, oh, that’s yellow. And then they get puzzled and they go, no, wait a minute. No, that’s, that’s green because it integrates the right half, even though there’s no visual access for the right half and so then it goes, oh, it’s the word yellow, written in green.

Miriam Bellamy: So that speaks to this organization that we’re talking about, that that is the exactly what determines the functionality of the brain. And of the person. That’s exactly

Dr. Val Brown: right. Yeah. Okay. And of the person. That’s exactly right. So for, you know, I, I’m always intrigued when these kind of studies come out.

It’s . , oh, now we know it’s all interconnection. No, we knew that a long time ago, or at least. A bunch of us did. Yes. You know, , but you know, now, now there’s a new discovery, you know, pretty soon it’ll be, Hey, gravity works, you know?

Miriam Bellamy: But the importance of an article like this is that it, it begins to get to the broader community.

Dr. Val Brown: Correct. Okay. It’s, it, yeah. As, as I believe it was Ernst Mock observed once you said science progresses. by a a, a burial each, each time. Burial at a time is what progresses it, you know? And unfortunately, I think that’s largely true. Okay. It’s overstated because the internet’s really helped a lot in that regard, okay? Because you know, now this article. has, you know, easily been dispersed all over the planet. . to those who are interested in it, including here we are. Right, right, right. And, and we’re looking at it and it, it’s not the same as back in the day. , you know, a hundred years ago, whatever, when it was all in-person conferences and what you printed in a, in a book, which hopefully people read, and then they went to the next conference and then you could discuss it and you could are you know, now it’s oh, look at that. Look at what they’re doing. Holy cow. Right. Let me, let me do it. . Oh yeah. If I do this, wow, I see the same thing. Yeah. You know, so it, that’s exactly right. It’s, it’s helping to loosen that stranglehold of this old paradigm that, yeah, no, no, no.

This is where that function is, so we gotta train that part or, you know, whatever in order to get the, the function. You never learned that way when you were growing up you didn’t learn to speak language just through that speech center. You didn’t learn to walk and navigate in the world by just, you know, the motive.

It, and it’s all integrative stuff nobody teaches you when you’re young, when you’re a child and you learn because you can, you have the capability. Nobody teaches you to walk. . , they help you, they support you while you explore the limit that’s the difference. And, and that’s a fundamental core of what it is to be a human being.

It’s a fundamental core of what it is to be a, an incarnate mammal or being on this planet. It’s, it’s this self-learning self. organizing, self reorganizing, growing capability.

Miriam Bellamy: . where the whole, again, is greater than the sum of the parts. So I want you to talk about the tertiary level brain function that we’re talking, that you’re sort of leading to.

Sure. But I also sort of wanna put a little plug in for people. We we’re gonna, my next question for Val is gonna be around this idea of what the heck does this have to do with tur? Which is a concept, which is a concept that we deal with in nonlinear. Neurofeedback, right?

Dr. Val Brown: Yeah. Yes. Well, I, so I, I’ve been known, I’ve been known to cause turbulence.

Miriam Bellamy: It’s true. Yes. You have

Dr. Val Brown: tertiary process is an example of tertiary process is, is something more akin to what we think of as memory. So it’s integrating secondary process. Kinds of, of functions or events. So, you know, if you, if you see someone who is starting to have early onset, so it’s early in the phase of dementia kind of process they will start to lose the ability to do many steps in a sequence.

So you’ll say, okay go to the kitchen open the cupboard there and pull out that box of cornflakes and tell me, you know, how full is it? Cuz I’m going to the grocery store. Well, they’ll get to the kitchen, they’ll open the door, the, the pantry door. They’ll think, oh, was it the corn flakes? because that step has now become fuzzy.

Okay. You know, a lot of us have gotten to that age where we go into the room and it’s like, why did I come in here?  That’s, that’s an example of it. That’s an example. Tertiary process, you know, three step directions. For instance is a good example of that. Okay. And I can see

Miriam Bellamy: that really being a big deal when it comes to a marriage , which I’ve worked with most right emotional process, right? Yeah, exactly wait, I’m supposed to listen.

Dr. Val Brown: I’m supposed to listen. Yeah. Okay. Thanks for, thanks for warning me. Yeah and this is, you know, it’s, we, we forget the value. of the very little connection things that we do. I, as you probably know cuz you, you’ve known me for a while and known of me for a while, there, there are a couple things that kind of bug me and you know, or are.

Topics that are associated with me, and, and so I’m just gonna throw this one out here cuz I, it, it’s kind of relevant, but it’s probably for a whole other time. Okay. . Okay. Okay. I, I know, I know the, I know the concept of attachment is a big thing now and about having secure attachment and et cetera, et cetera. I really dislike the use of that word. Me too. Because attachment has, attachment has a 2,500 year use history in the Buddhist community. It’s not about attaching, it’s about connecting.

Miriam Bellamy: That’s right. A friend of mine Hal Runkle, who’s an author and I’ve had him in, in the group before, oh yes. He says the, the opposite of attach is connection, and it’s just so, such a simple way to say this profound thing. Yes, we are obsessed with attachment, but man, it’s leading us in the wrong direction. Yes. Go ahead, .

Dr. Val Brown: And, and the connection, the, the, the point of bringing up connection is it’s all the little things that connection it’s how they like their coffee or you know, that they prefer tea or they have a certain mug that they really like with their tea and so you put the tea in the mug and you take a tongue. Yeah. Because you know Yeah. You know, yeah. Being asked and bringing it is great and going, oh, it’s four o’clock, I should do tea.

That’s great too. But it’s kind of like, oh, would you, would you like some tea right now? You know? I’m just wondering. It might be, it might be nice, you know? So it’s, it’s those little things. Yeah. And that’s why I’m bringing that up. You know, the Okay. The difference between the little things that are connecting and that really firmly concretize that relationship with others, especially, you know, our significant others. It’s very easy. to forget those in pursuit of, okay. You know? Oh, that’s right. I’m supposed to go to the store and I’m supposed to get these five things and then I’m supposed to come home and then I have to make dinner and I have to you know?

Yeah. And it’s well, how did you forget to bring the. , you know, how’d you forget to bring the cream home? Well I should have put it in my list.

Miriam Bellamy: That sounds like adhd actually, to me. Well, there you go. You go get groceries and you leave them at the store. I know .

Dr. Val Brown: Yeah. You leave him at the store. That’s, and then you go back and you forget why you went back. Yeah. So now

Miriam Bellamy: that’s dementia right there. .

Dr. Val Brown: Yeah. That’s dementia. That’s right.

Miriam Bellamy: So this tertiary level’s tertiary, another level of being able to organize so that you can function, integrate?

Dr. Val Brown: Okay. Okay. And it’s things like, oh, tomorrow I’m gonna go to, you know, To my child’s school and talk to the teacher. That’s right. Okay. Let, let me call and make sure that’s still on.

You know, you, it, it’s all these levels of organization and, and interconnecting if you will, or even interpenetrating of things. So the memories all come together. Okay. And the anticipations all come together.

Miriam Bellamy: The hole becomes much greater than the sum of the parts . So, exactly. Let’s talk about turbulence then.

First I want you to, cuz some people don’t know what that is, what is turbulence, and then what does this understanding of the brain have to do with turbulence? .

Dr. Val Brown: Yeah. And neurofeedback,

Miriam Bellamy: I think most link that in there too. and

Dr. Val Brown: Neurofeedback. think most people have probably flown on a plane if they haven’t.

They’ve, they’ve been driven in a car, they’ve ridden on a bus or whatever and none of those conveys are perfectly there’s always some, some bumpiness, if you will as you’re moving along. Sometimes more, sometimes less. Depends on the time of day, depends on the weather, depends on the variety of things. Those bumpiness is, if you will, that’s turbulence. So you, when you’re on the plane, you want the plane to be straight and level is the it’s never actually a hundred percent straightened level. It’s always moving a little bit. And depending on how sensitized you are to that, it will feel more or less turbulent.

Miriam Bellamy: Hmm. So, so that’s interesting. So there’s turbulence and then there’s the sensitivity to the turbulence, which becomes part of the turbulence. Is that correct

Dr. Val Brown: for you as experience? Yes, exactly. So the kinds of things that the, the navy fighter pilots do, the top guns most all of us would be redecorating the inside of the cockpit because we’d be so responsive to that turbulence.

Yeah. But for them, it’s fun I mean, it’s work, it’s hard work. It’s you know, all of that, don’t get me wrong. Right. But they thrive on it, but enjoy it. Yeah. Right. They thrive on that. That’s right. So, you know, is, is there an absolute level of turbulence? Yeah. We can measure how much the, the plane is shaking.

We can measure how much things are shaking around in a cockpit or, you know, whatever but it also matters how turbulent that is being experience. Okay. The more resilience you have as an individual in general, just speaking sort of general psychological functioning, the more turbulence around you, you can withstand for longer.

Okay. The more you can change in response to that turbulence, did you experience to that evolve? scenario around you and all the little changes in it the more you can adaptively respond to it, that’s flexibility. Okay. What we call disorder is not actually disorderly. It’s highly ordered.

So what we’re really trying to do is help reestablish the healthy levels of disorderliness that’s the resilience and flexibility. So that instead of when your spouse forgets the cream from the store, instead of going, ah, how many times do I have to tell you? Which doesn’t really help, you know, it’s not like magically the cream gets produced then, you know.

Right. and if they say, oh yeah, sorry, I forgot. Let me go get something. No, no. It’s too late now.

Right, right. Well that’s great. Okay. It’s too late now. Well then why’d you bring it up, ? It really is too late. What’s, you know, so

Miriam Bellamy: what’s, what’s the disorderly that would be. more beneficial or resilient the better would

Dr. Val Brown: be. Yeah. To say things like, oh, okay, so how are we gonna enjoy our afternoon coffee right now?

Oh, you know what? We have milk and we have some tea. Let’s have tea with milk let’s do something different. Another, another way, you know, Sue has all these wonderful little. You know, hey, she’s, she’s British, so what can you say? And one of them, one of them actually involves tea.

It’s, it’s one of my favorite Sue stories, but the expression I was thinking of right then was keep on keeping on. Now that doesn’t mean no matter what, you just keep doing the same damn thing it means. . , just keep going, you know, stay the course. Don’t, just cuz it’s a little bumpy doesn’t mean you jump off the ship right? Keep on keeping on so, you know, yeah. Te teed doesn’t hurt. Yes. Let’s put it down. Well.

Miriam Bellamy: and then there’s a whole other level of turbulence, I’ll say, right? When we’re talking about you know, a marriage that’s in trouble, right? Or when you’ve got extraordinary amount of stress with the kids. What does, you know, resilience and flexibility mean then? And, and so now link this to to feedback.

Dr. Val Brown: Yeah. Because what happens is, one, one way to think about it is what we, what we call disorder right? Dis disordered behavior that is, we don’t like it, right? And, and a disorder is really something we just don’t like.

That’s, that’s really what it comes to. We dislike it. That’s what makes it a disorder.

Miriam Bellamy: So that’s super profound. Yeah. So if somebody’s listening to this, just take some deep breaths take some deep breaths. Cuz I, I think that’s, you really have to step back and sort of see the forest for the trees to take that.

Dr. Val Brown: I used, go ahead. I used to do a lot of work with families with angry adolescents. Okay. That’s, it was something that I got called in a lot and I remember one day I was meeting this family. It was really just a an only son who was adolescent and the, the parents. And I was actually doing a, a live intervention with.

To kind of demonstrate some stuff. Mm. And when I did those, I’d say, I don’t want to know anything except names and genders. That’s all I want to know. You know, I don’t want to, I don’t want to hear history. I don’t want to hear what’s been going on. I don’t care what’s brought them in. I don’t want to hear any of that.

Yeah. Because it’s either right now in the room or it’s just a belief. Right. Okay. And so I remember I sat and it was, you know, I kind of said, well, you know, here we are. You know, how, how can I help? Do you think, what do you, what do you think I could do that could be helpful? And they said, well, he never listens to us.

I went, oh. So I turned to him and I said, so I guess it was your idea to come here today, huh? And he went, are you kidding me? No. And I went, oh well, how’d they get you to listen to ’em? They said I’d be grounded till I was 30. I didn’t come. Oh, okay. So he turned back to and said, so you do know how to get him to listen to you?

Yeah. But we shouldn’t have to, ought to do that. Well, that’s an interesting belief I’m not saying you should have to do that. I don’t think there’s a should. Right. The question is, here’s where you are. What do you want to do now? Right. Because you know, the short, the short version is what you’re doing ain’t working.

We wanna try something different. Yeah,

Miriam Bellamy: yeah. It’s not, it’s, to me, the way I sort of talk about that is it’s not the problems we’re facing or that we’ve created even. It’s what are we gonna, how are we going to respond to them now? Yes.

Dr. Val Brown: What do we do now? Here we are. Here we are. What do we do now? Yeah.

Right. You know, the turbulence of disorderliness. . disordered behavior, not effective behavior can be because the behavior isn’t effective. It could be because the intent behind the behavior isn’t appropriate for the situation or the skills at hand. You know, it’s, it’s, it’s not one or the. , right? Again, it’s the organization. It’s the entire context. So when you’re looking at, at the brain and neurofeedback, the question is all the resources are there resilience and flexibility? Are there, here is the health? Yes. Okay. Yes. It’s intrinsic or you, you couldn’t have learned to walk. Yeah. You couldn’t have learned to talk.

You couldn’t have learned to read. Right. There’s all kinds of things that you just being. Means resilience and flexibility and the ability to learn. Is there however compromised it may have been?

Miriam Bellamy: Right. That’s what I was about to say cuz I, we’ve started working with adolescents with severe brain injury and no longer functional in many ways.

And it’s amazing to watch the ways that their brains can still function and improve. Exactly.

Dr. Val Brown: Yes, it’s amazing. Yeah. So the question then becomes not how dysfunctional are they? Right. How damaged are they? But how creative, how adaptive can you be in facilitating their transformation? You know there’s two ways of looking at a certain phenomena.

Somebody shows up at a building and they’re in a wheelchair and they can’t get into the building. Well, the old school way is saying, well, they’re disabled. They can’t get into the building. A more comprehensive way is saying the building wasn’t designed to accommodate all the possible people who might show up to use it.

How can we, how can we facilitate that? You know, can we put up some ramp? , can we, you know, what can we do? Because okay, they’re disabled, they can’t get in there. Well, the building is disabled too. Just as much essential. Okay. Right. You know, it’s, it’s, it’s the difference between, you know, you look at the glass with the water and you know, the classic thing.

Is it half full? Is it half, you know, empty? And you know, you get a systems engineer and they’d say, well, the problem is you have too much glass. , but the, the, the realistic view is that the glass is always a hundred percent full. 50% of it is water, 50% is air, but it’s always a hundred percent full.

Right. Okay. So the turbulence in the brain, you know, the, it’s, it’s a very interesting thing because you, you, you look at phenomena like seizure, particularly grandma and I’m not sure I understand it. It looks like it’s very disordered. Disordered disorderly, disorganized. Actually, it becomes hyper organized.

Interesting. It becomes so organized that it can’t do anything else.

Miriam Bellamy: Reifies? Yes. Is

Dr. Val Brown: that okay? It’s a very small. Range of behavior that it’s capable of at that point. Okay. And if you don’t do the right things and it progresses further, they will die. But Okay. You know, if you, if you so interesting it, it’s, it’s a better, I think it’s a more useful way if you come to things as a transformative agent or an agent of change in agent of transformation to look at what can be.

To facilitate the return of function instead of just looking at deficit, you know, so the brain injured children and adolescents that you were talking about. Yeah. You can talk about the injury and that’s pretty clear. . and, okay. Yeah. But the question is, what, what can you, what can you do with that?

What can you do to help?

Miriam Bellamy: So we actually just had a, I used do a. We had a question come in, but go ahead. No, I want you to share.

Dr. Val Brown: Yeah. I used to, I used to do a lot of work in hospitals at, at various points in my career and I remember one time I was walking through a rehab unit. . and I saw this one gentleman in there, older guy, and he was just giving everybody fits.

He was just screaming and yelling and ah, this is nonsense and nah, forget it. And as I walked past, I saw he had a ranger tat. . . from World War ii. Wow. And so as I walked by, I just slowed down for a moment and I said, Rangers lead the way. And I just kept going. . came back about 10 minutes later this guy was up, organizing everybody else, getting them motivated. Okay. And it’s I could have looked at him and said, what a pain this guy is. I saw something there that I knew was a resource at some point and maybe now it could still be a resource. It just had to be tapped. Okay.

Miriam Bellamy: And that’s a lot of what neurofeedback does, particularly, I think, neuro optimal. But this question came in exactly right. Yeah. This question came in and says which I love. Are you saying everyone’s brain has the same level of capacity to be resilient even in crisis situ.

Dr. Val Brown: I think there are a lot of presuppositions in that questioning. Okay. And I’d like to know, I’d like to know what the question behind the question is.

Miriam Bellamy: Okay. So if you’re listening , say a little bit, say a little bit more. Who asked that question? Yeah, so, so let’s go back to the neurofeedback piece if we can then Sure, sure, sure.

Of how neuro optimals, right. So Neuroptimal isn’t, trying to fix something.

Dr. Val Brown: No. No. We don’t, we don’t fix anything except pets and plumbing. You know, , it’s and, and you know, the consensus on fixing some pets is sometimes it’s better to keep them indoors for all kinds of reasons, you know, but I hear that’s, that’s a whole different.

Yes. Yeah, the fix idea is a real problem because it decontextualizes what’s going on you know, I think a lot of kids got labeled various things. ADD or ADHD because the school system wasn’t figured out for them, wasn’t, wasn’t that conducive for. now. Yeah. It’s a challenge.

I get that. I’m not saying, oh, every school system should, and every classroom should be perfect for every kid, no matter. That’s, that’s an idealization. . , you know, and, and can we ever get there? Oh, it probably would be wonderful. At least I like to think it would be if, if we could, will we ever get there?

Probably not. Does that mean they’re gonna. some that don’t get the kinds of supports that they could most optimally use. Well, yeah, it does. Unfortunately, you know, what does, what does,

Miriam Bellamy: go ahead. I was gonna say, I think your point about context, and this is a, this is a Bowen kind of a concept, is that every behavior .

so we’re talking about O C D, adhd whatever, depression. These are all adaptations. That’s right. They’re adapting to the context that they’re dealing with. We might not like it, like you were saying earlier, but their adaptations, right. They fit, go

Dr. Val Brown: ahead. And the context adapts to that emergent behavior also.

Okay. It’s not just a one-way street, it’s, it’s as the Paoli family group used to talk about it, circular caus. , it goes around the entire group, the entire, you know, cohort, the entire environment. It’s interactive you know, will, will kids who are seen as a d d be angry or so on Will? Yeah. What are the, of the choices are they gonna have at certain points?

Right? . particularly if they really are gifted internally. But the way the system is set up for other good reasons, many times they can’t show that, you know, they can’t demonstrate what they’re capable. I’m, I’m thinking of some twins that I had the ability, I, I had the real honor to evaluate many, many years ago.

And these two twins the, the first one. Who was born of the, the twin pair suffered an an toxic event during the birth, which is, which lack of oxygen. Lack of oxygen, the second one did not. . just sort of the way things happened. And the, the second one, which. Arguably was the one who had the higher probability of suffering the anoxic event, or the effects of it came out actually with an exceptionally high IQ and creative ability. Hmm. The firstborn was wheelchair bound, completely. Could not speak hard it was very few gestures of control, et cetera, et cetera. And of course it had been seen as utterly incapable of much of anything. Well, through traditional testing, of course it’s going to, you’re gonna see the limits, and that’s not, that’s not bad, that’s not wrong.

This, it’s just not the whole story, it’s just, it’s, yeah, it’s not the whole story. Yeah. I did a lot of non-verbal kinds of, and non-visual kinds of things. with her and, and with her sister and at the end

you’ve now a number of years later, it’s, it’s very impactful. I was able to tell the family and them present that, in my opinion, they were both equally capable and they were both equally intelligent. It’s just she was. . Okay. In a non, a not useful body that couldn’t respond well and we needed to do the best we could to get adaptive technologies in place.

And little tear that came down from her. Oh my Yes. Wow. It’s the first time anyone outside of her family had, wow. At least as far as I knew. Really seen what was trapped in there. And imagine how awful that must have been. Yeah. So yeah, if we can help them, if we can adapt, use technology to help go for it.

Absolutely. Let’s make this happen. Yeah. You know? So what’s, what’s neurofeedback doing? Does everybody have the same capabilities, everybody at the same level of intelligence or whatever, as these twins were? I have no idea, and I don’t really care. What matters to me is helping each person return to their Their own.

Okay. Intrinsic, optimal, whatever that is. Okay. And it doesn’t make a lot of sense to. in the beginning to try to tell somebody, Hey, well, you’ll never be able to do this sometimes. Okay, fair enough. But that should be the really rare exception. Yeah. I mean, there was a kid who I understand who just climbed OC Capitan using only his arms because he was, he was paralyzed below the waist or something like that.

I apologize. I ed the details a little bit wrong, but. . I think most people looking at him would say, oh, he’ll never do that he did. Wow. Yeah. Took a long time you know, but he did, and I’m not saying everybody should do that. I’m just saying let’s not put up artificial barriers because we have a belief that the damage is so bad that they can’t possibly do X, Y, or Z.

Miriam Bellamy: . .

Yeah. I think, and I think that’s what neuro. for me has been about is, is what am I capable of? What is Miriam capable of? You know, what is my daughter Ella capable of? What is my daughter Hannah capable of? You know, exactly what’s the best way to set up the environment, just like learning to walk, right.

I can’t teach ’em to be empowered young, but I can set up an environment, you know? And they are, by the way, , I’m still working on

Dr. Val Brown: I’ll, I’ll bet they are. Yes. as they should

Miriam Bellamy: be. Yes. Yes they are. Yeah. Well, thank you so much for being with us and sharing so openly. Excuse me. Yeah, it’s it’s been a pleasure to be with you again.

Dr. Val Brown: It’s been great and I’m, I’m always happy to do these kind of things. I know I. ramble at times and go various, various places that were not anticipated. . I apologize if we didn’t answer all that many questions, but, well, we’ll get to them at some point. No, you,

Miriam Bellamy: The question that came in, I thought was Yeah, the, I loved how you answered it.

So, yeah. So, moms, if you have questions for me about you know, what does neurofeedback look like? Is it safe? Is it really hard and complicated to do things like that? Please don’t hesitate to reach out. You can just find me in the group and pretty darn responsive. So, Thank you everybody listening tonight with us and we’ll look forward to seeing y’all again.