Understanding Children With Functional Disconnection Syndrome

Dr. Robert Melillo

Relative to body size, the human brain is one of the largest among all living species. But it is not just unique in size; it is also unique in structure. The  human brain is so sophisticated and equipped to do so many functions that specific duties reside either on the right or on the left. This means that each side does half the job of the whole. But in order to function, the brain must work as a whole. There is no other brain in the living universe that is built quite this way. In order for the human brain to function as a whole, the left and right hemispheres must be in constant communication. This element especially comes in to play when you are considering individuals with Functional Disconnection Syndrome, also known as FDS.

In order to communicate effectively, the two sides must be able to keep up with each other—they must be in synchronization. They must be in perfect rhythm, perfect harmony, and perfect timing, just like a couple on Dancing with the Stars.In addition to being in sync, the brain’s timing mechanism must also be fast enough to keep up with the flow of information. The more the brain  develops, the faster the speed gets. The brain must be quick enough to make split-second decisions, like jumping out of the way of a speeding car or ducking to avoid a fly ball. The brain can’t perform at such great speed if it is not synchronized. Consider the rhythmic two-legged control of a world-class athlete running a marathon. As they near the finish line, they pick up speed, going faster and faster. If one leg suddenly gets a charley horse or trips on a stone, the  whole body is crippled because one leg can’t keep up with the other. They get out of sync. The good leg can get them to the finish line, but they’ll fall behind the pack. And the farther away they are from the finish, the farther behind they will get from the others. This, in essence, is what is happening in school to a child with Functional Disconnection Syndrome.

The brain’s in-sync timing mechanism is the foundation of all thinking, movement, behavior, sensory response, and vital functions,  such as breathing and digestion. Each half of the brain contributes differently to our understanding of and our reactions to the world in which we live. Each side of the brain responds differently to stimulation. Sensory experiences are also processed differently in the two hemispheres. To fully understand the world and react to it, a child must use both sides of the brain as a whole. If one half of the brain is significantly slower than the other, the two halves cannot compare or share information  accurately. When one side of the brain is too slow, the faster, or stronger, side takes over and begins to ignore the other, underactive side.

When this happens, a child’s interpretation of and reactions to the world around them will be “off,” so to speak, and their behavior will appear abnormal. This is the primary problem in Disconnected Kids. They have learning and behavioral dysfunctions because their brains are out of sync. I believe it is responsible for many if not all of the physical, mental, and/or behavioral  and social difficulties related to the whole spectrum of childhood neurological disorders.