Occupational therapist Danielle Nelson has recently opened Brain Bright Therapy Clinic at 5412 Monroe St., Suite 1. Nick Thomas of Miller Danberry was the listing agent for the space and negotiated the lease on behalf of building owner Tom Helberg of Bellevue Investors Co.

“I have been working on my business plan for some time and recently began looking for the right spot to house my business,” Nelson noted. I knew this space would be perfect when I first found it,” she remembered. “This is a great location with high visibility and traffic. While it’s a retail space, the interior is perfectly suited for my needs,” she pointed out. “It is comfortable and homey, yet professional,” she noted.

Nelson, a Western Michigan graduate, spent her first three years as an occupational therapist helping young children. “I loved working with them but realized there was a need for services for older children,” she said. “I knew I needed to do more so I served as an independent contractor working around the country. This was a great experience and I learned so much in my field.”

Finally, Nelson joined WMU classmate who had become a functional neurologist and studied and trained with him for three years acquiring a myriad of knowledge and skills to augment her training.
“I feel as if I have taken my passion for OT to a whole new level,” she offered.

Nelson has parlayed this wealth of experience into a protocol to help children and adults who may have a brain dysfunction causing any number of disorders from ADHD to autism and other sensory issues. She works with adults recovering from strokes or those with Parkinson’s disease or balance issues. “In Chicago, I worked with a teenager who had sensory issues and could not read. With therapy, she now reads, is studying for her SATs and plans to be a pilot all because she was able to strengthen the part of her brain that exhibited weakness with specifically designed exercises. Other autistic clients have developed social skills they were lacking and ADHD clients learn to focus. I even had a client who joined my program to work on improving her tennis game,” Nelson reported.

“Brain Bright came to be because I was looking for how best to use my skills,” she said. “And, finally, last January, I began to put my plan into action,” she said. “I feel there is certainly a need for this service.”

Nelson offers a free consultation for prospective clients to see if she can be a good fit and can help. “My goal is to help families by treating the root causes of what is going on. The brain is, after all, a muscle. It can be strengthened and changed. I want to create options for my clients. After the consultation, Nelson does an initial evaluation using standardized assessment tools and other programs. From there, she develops specific exercises for each individual and meets clients where they are. Some of those exercises include riding the stationary bike to increase heart rate; light therapy, a variety of eye exercises core strengthening exercises to stimulate the back of the brain; primary reflex exercises, and those exercises for balance and coordination.

The Brain Bright therapy programs usually run for three months with visits to the clinic three to five times a week. Clients are given home assignments to augment the clinical exercises. During the second month, visits to the office are decreased and by the third month clinic visits are decreased to once per month.