Tammy Bingham went through challenging times with two of her sons, but when Brain Balance helped them out, she knew she had to invest.
When Tammy Bingham’s two oldest boys were 6 and 8, her family had already experienced five years of every kind of therapeutic treatment they could think of: hyperbaric oxygen chambers, private tutors, dietary intervention and more. The 6-year-old wasn’t potty trained; the 8-year-old couldn’t sit still for more than a minute and required home-schooling. A friend gave Tammy a book authored by Brain Balance founder Dr. Robert Melillo. “I then just did online research into the program and was hooked,” she says. “It was the testimonial videos from families on YouTube (which were few but powerful back in 2011 ) that made the decision for us.” Living in Utah at the time, the nearest Center that would accept both of her children into the program was in Georgia. “We knew that our boys had a ton of potential,” Tammy says. “They had really good skills in certain areas and then other areas were not working. I mean, it was impacting our whole family. It was impacting their self-esteem, their chance to have the future that we wanted for them.” She and her husband, Bo Bingham, an attorney, made a tough decision to send Tammy and the kids across the country to the Brain Balance Center in Georgia so they could enroll.
Within two weeks of beginning the Brain Balance program, their younger son was potty trained and their older son was overcoming his challenges with focus and learning. As the boys progressed through the program, the Binghams saw dramatic improvements in their progress and development.
It was enough to spark a new passion in the Binghams, and by 2012 they had opened their first Brain Balance Center in St. George, Utah. Today, they have four kids (with No. 5 on the way in 2020) and 12 Brain Balance Centers in Utah, Arizona, Colorado and Oregon, with five more in development. “We wanted to help other families experience a true change like we did,” Tammy says. She shares more of their journey in this Brain Balance franchise review.
How old are your boys now, and how are they doing?
The older boy is now 16, and he has a driver’s permit and tons of friends and wants to go to college and all sorts of things that would not have been possible before. He was a very typical Brain Balance kid — he wasn’t diagnosed with anything. He was a very high-functioning, smart kid who still couldn’t ride a bike at 8, couldn’t sit in a chair long enough to focus on anything, but he could read above his age level and he was extremely intelligent. He had all these things that we see with our kiddos. He was high-functioning but not reaching his potential because of the deficits that were getting in the way of him being able to do basic things.
And your other son?
Our younger son is not a typical Brain Balance kid. He’s now 14. He had more severe issues — he was basically non-verbal and still not potty-trained at 6. He has something called PANDAS, which is a very complex autoimmune disorder. He’s had a lot of challenges in his life. And in the first three months in Brain Balance, he was potty-trained and he started communicating verbally, he started being able to sing songs and express himself and all sorts of things. He would try hundreds of new foods, which he wouldn’t do before.
So he wouldn’t be considered a typical child that we see in Brain Balance. But the gains that he received in just the first three to six months were a hundred times the gains in every therapy you can even imagine. You don’t want to know how much money we spent. His quality of life and the family’s quality of life were completely changed, despite him still having challenges that were going to be there no matter what.
How is he doing now? Is he still going back to Brain Balance from time to time?
Yes, he’s gone periodically over the years. He goes to school, he does work at school, rides the bus to school, all that kind of stuff. Previously, he wasn’t even going to school at all because he just couldn’t function. Now he can communicate his wants and needs. He can tell us if he’s hungry, if he wants to go to Target; he gets himself dressed, takes showers by himself. He’s made tremendous progress.
What were you and your husband doing before you decided to become Brain Balance franchisees?
My husband is an attorney. He worked for a law firm and he still does that. He spends probably about half of his time on Brain Balance and half his time on his law practice. I had been a paralegal. But then, once I had kids it got busy and I wasn’t working a ton. When the kids started doing so much better, I realized I had time that I could invest in going in and helping to run the Centers.
How do you manage so many centers in so many locations?
I worked in a Center myself for so many years, so I knew how they run. There was a lot of trial-and-error and adapting and changing to find the best processes and plans and procedures for everything. Then it’s a matter of finding the right people that can continually implement all of those things and work with you.
Because obviously, with that many centers in that many states, I can’t physically be there. We have what we call our Center Support Team, which is like an Executive Team. I have a Program Director who did that job for a long time and now oversees, hires and trains all the Program Directors. All of the duties are very specific. You can’t just hire a manager that doesn’t know anything about Brain Balance at all, because there’s just too much to learn. We do the same thing with the other positions, where we have people who’ve been doing the job for a long time but now hire, train and oversee everything.
You were talking earlier about how important it is to have processes in place. What are some of the most valuable things the home office does to support you?
If you need help on anything, they’re very responsive and supportive. They’re constantly working to improve processes. They just came out with a new operations manual, for instance, and they have a whole new system in place to help new owners. They’ve put a ton of things in place to make it much, much easier for a new franchisee to know exactly what to do and when to do it, whether it’s with construction or build-out or hiring.
What kind of experience do you think is helpful in being a Brain Balance franchisee?
You have to be very driven and hardworking because it’s not easy. If you want to be successful, you can’t just open the doors and hope it’s going to work out. You have to be able to enroll families. You definitely need to be good with people and communication, especially if you’re going to be working in the Center. As long as you’re intuitive, you care, you can problem-solve and you can build relationships, you can do it.
What would you say is the most rewarding thing about owning a Brain Balance?
I think the number one thing is the impact that you have on not just a child, but their entire family and their entire future, not just how they’re going to do this year in school. We had a mom send in a video the other day that we showed at our training. Her son graduated almost eight years ago from Brain Balance and he’s now in the United States Navy and is in the Intelligence Department. He had been heavily medicated and on a road to suicide at the time he came to us. So, being able to not just see how they do during the program, but three, four, five, eight years and beyond, seeing the life that they now have that they wouldn’t have had available to them. And the different family dynamics that the families have and how much happier they are with the family unit.
I mean, all of that is huge. We actually had a whole training about how it’s not just those. The teams that we have working for us, our employees, our coaches, the amount of education that they all gain to create a better life for themselves and their children, being able to make good choices and good lifestyles so that they maybe don’t go down that road of needing to go to Brain Balance, if that makes sense. It’s really rewarding seeing how everyone is able to have a balanced, happy life, whether it be staff, employees or of course all the families in our program.
Brain Balance is a rewarding franchise opportunity that offers solutions for children and families struggling with academic, social and behavioral issues. You can explore our website or fill out a form to see if Brain Balance is right for you.