Brain Solutions
The Developmental Re-education Centre


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South Africa Report

Brain Solutions aims to improve the abilities and quality of life of children with intellectual and physical disabilities.

We look at the whole child and not just his/her most obvious disability as we have found that a child’s health, physical abilities and intellectual abilities are often intricately linked. Once a child has been assessed, the parents or carers of the child are taught a programme of therapy for their child, to be carried out daily at home. The child is reassessed regularly and adjustments are made to the child’s programme of therapy as the child progresses.

Learning to read is fun and helps develop speech


We are Helen and Mike Downey. We originally trained as veterinary surgeons in South Africa.

However in 1969 our second son, Aidan, was born with Rubinstein Tabyi Syndrome. Our search for answers to his many problems led us first to the United Kingdom and eventually to the United States. In the United States, it was explained to us that Aidan’s intellectual, physical and physiological problems were all related and that to improve his abilities, we needed to work on all these areas. We were given a multisensory stimulation programme of therapy which we had to carry out daily. Within a few months Aidan’s understanding and co-ordination had improved dramatically as well as his chewing and health. We were so impressed that we sold our veterinary practice in Wales and went to study neurodevelopmental rehabilitation in Philadelphia.

We returned to the United Kingdom in 1979 and together with a colleague, Anne Halsted, who had had a similar experience as us with her daughter Catherine and who was also trained in Philadelphia, we created the St Briavels Centre for Child Development.

During the following years, we saw some 1500 children with a wide range of disabilities from over 30 countries. However in April 2003 we left the St Briavels Centre to allow us more freedom to develop areas of particular interest to us.

Thus Brain Solutions was formed.

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