Robert Melillo

Treating ADHD, Autism & Neurological Conditions in Kids & Adults | Dr. Robert Melillo






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How does a brain imbalance show up in children and adults?

How do we treat the cause — not just the symptoms — of neurological conditions like ADHD, autism spectrum disorders, dyslexia and more?

And how can we help ourselves and our kids to have the healthiest, most balanced brains possible?

To answer these thought-provoking questions, I’m joined by Dr. Robert Melillo, a distinguished chiropractic neurologist whose pioneering work offers groundbreaking insights into conditions such as autism, Asperger’s syndrome, ADHD, dyslexia, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

In this enlightening conversation, we’re unraveling the mysteries of “brain imbalances.” 

Tune in to learn: why the traditional approaches to conditions like autism, ADHD, and dyslexia is falling short; eye-opening insights into the use of prescription drugs to treat these conditions; the crucial role of nutrition and environmental factors in shaping a child’s neurological health, optimal daily routines to promote your child’s brain function, the key signs of undiagnosed neuro-behavioral disorders in adults, and strategies to enhance your focus, attention, anxiety management, and memory.

Whether you’re a parent navigating these challenges with your child, an adult questioning your own neurological health, or you’re simply intrigued by the profound connection between lifestyle and brain function, press play now… this one’s for you.

About Dr. Robert Melillo

Dr. Robert Melillo, a leading expert in childhood neurological disorders, has over 30 years of experience in helping children and adults overcome various learning disabilities. His expertise spans autism spectrum disorders, ADD/ADHD, OCD, dyslexia, and more, complemented by his knowledge in diet, nutrition, and neuroimmune disorders. As a clinician, university professor, researcher, and author, Dr. Melillo’s groundbreaking work in functional disconnection has shaped current theories on disorders like Autism and ADHD. He founded Brain Balance Achievement Centers based on his research and now runs a private practice focusing on the Melillo Method™.

In this episode we chat about:

  • The pivotal moment that sparked his interest in neurological conditions (5:03)
  • Why traditional approaches to autism, ADHD and dyslexia are failing our kids (9:43)
  • How to recognize a brain imbalance in your child (12:52)
  • The critical milestones to watch for in your child (15:13)
  • Is it ever too late to address a brain imbalance? (20:37)
  • Innovative techniques to overcome imbalances and reintegrate the brain (25:35)
  • The remarkable connection between the brain and gut (30:31)
  • How environmental factors impact your child’s brain health (36:52)
  • Should prescription drugs be used to treat childhood neurological conditions? (42:55)
  • The 3 top tactics to promote optimal neurological health (46:52)
  • The surprising merits of NOT teaching your child to read (57:11)

Episode resources:

  • SheLaunch (join here)
  • Mastering Your Mean Girl by Melissa Ambrosini (book)
  • Open Wide by Melissa Ambrosini (book)
  • Comparisonitis by Melissa Ambrosini (book)
  • Time Magic by Melissa Ambrosini and Nick Broadhurst (book)
  • Dr. Robert Melillo (website)
  • Disconnected Kids: The Groundbreaking Brain Balance Program for Children with Autism, ADHD, Dyslexia, and Other Neurological Disorders by Dr. Robert Melillo (book)
  • Reconnected Kids: Help Your Child Achieve Physical, Mental, and Emotional Balance by Dr. Robert Melillo (book)
  • The Disconnected Kids Nutrition Plan: Proven Strategies to Enhance Learning and Focus for Children with Autism, ADHD, Dyslexia, and Other Neurological Disorders by Dr. Robert Melillo (book)
  • The Development of the Unconscious Mind by Allan N. Schore Ph.D. (book)
  • The Divided Brain and the Search for Meaning by Iain McGilchrist (book)
  • Dr. Robert Melillo (Instagram)
  • Kevin James Reel (Instagram)
  • Underestimated: An Autism Miracle (Children’s Health Defense) by J. B. Handley (book)
  • Disconnected Kids, Third Edition: The Groundbreaking Brain Balance Program for Children with Autism, ADHD, Dyslexia, and Other Neurological Disorders by Dr. Robert Melillo (book)
  • Nick Broadhurst (spotify)
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The following transcript has been automatically generated and not checked for accuracy.

Melissa: [00:00:00] In episode 565 with Dr. Robert Morello, We are talking all about the brain, autism, Asperger’s syndrome, ADHD, dyslexia, obsessive compulsive disorder, and how these are all imbalances in the brain and how we can fix them. Plus so much more. This is the brain. Essential listening for everyone. Let’s dive in.

Welcome to the Melissa Ambrosini show. I’m your host, Melissa, best selling author of Mastering Your Mean Girl, Open Wide, Comparisonitis, and Time Magic. And I’m here to remind you that love is sexy, healthy is liberating, and wealthy isn’t a dirty word. Each week, I’ll be getting up close and personal with thought leaders from around the globe, as well as your weekly dose of motivation so that you can create epic change in your own life and become the best version of yourself [00:01:00] possible.

Are you ready, beautiful? Hey, beautiful, and welcome back. To the show and one of the most important episodes I think I have ever recorded. I am so excited for this episode. You guys are going to have your mind blown. Let’s just say that I record the intros and the outros for these episodes after I’ve done the actual interview and get ready, get ready, my friends.

But for those of you that have never heard of Dr. Robert Melillo, he is one of the most respected specialists in childhood neurological disorders and has been helping children overcome learning disabilities for over 30 years. Now, his areas of expertise include autism spectrum disorders, PTD, ADD, ADHD, OCD, dyslexia, Asperger’s, Tourette’s, bipolar disorder, and other mental, [00:02:00] attention, behavioral, and learning disorders.

He is also an expert in diet, nutrition, and neuroimmune disorders in children and adults. As a clinician of 30 years, a university professor, brain researcher, best selling author, radio and TV host, his cutting edge research and success with over a thousand children in his private program are what led to the creation of the Brain Balance Achievement Centers.

He has a private practice now that helps adults and children with various learning disabilities And he is focused on addressing the primary issues in most learning disabilities and behavioral disorders, which is known as a functional disconnection. Since he introduced this concept, functional disconnection has become one of the leading theories in the world related to autism, ADHD, dyslexia, and more.

This work is leading the way toward understanding the underlying nature of these disorders and their causes. He is also the [00:03:00] creator of the Melillo Method, his holistic approach of treating patients with a broad spectrum of brain related disorders. His method is used to identify brain imbalances and treat many symptoms of mental, attention, behavioral, and learning disorders in patients of all ages.

This revolutionary approach is paired with diet and nutritional counseling and lifestyle modifications to help promote brain and body balance, effectively correcting the underlying problems common to the entire spectrum of seemingly desperate childhood and adult neurological dysfunctions. This episode is going to blow your mind, like literally.

And for everything that we mentioned in today’s episode, you can check out in the show notes and you’re going to want to go there. And that’s at melissaambrosini. com forward slash five, six, seven. Five. This is one of the most important episodes you will ever listen to, my friends. Grab your pen and paper and let’s dive in.[00:04:00] 

Robert, welcome to the show. I am so excited to have you here, but before we dive in, can you tell us what you had for breakfast this morning? 

Dr. Robert Melillo: Yes. I’ve been eating a lot of Greek yogurt with blueberries. I had that this morning. And that’s what I’ve been having, you know, more lately is a lot of Greek yogurt with some fruit in the morning.

And where are you in the world right now? I’m in New York. I’m on Long Island, which is a suburb of New York City. And I’m in my home right now. 

Melissa: Beautiful. Well, welcome. I’m so excited to have you here and to dive into all of your magic. Now, the first time I discovered you was actually at my friend’s house.

She was reading your book and she was like, Melissa, I think he would be amazing on your podcast. You have to check out his work. And I was blown away. So I am so excited that you’re here and [00:05:00] so grateful to my friend for introducing me to your work. Now, you are an internationally renowned chiropractic neurologist, professor, researcher, and expert in childhood neurological disorders.

What sparked your interest in this area? How did you first get into this? 

Dr. Robert Melillo: Yeah, I also have a degree in neuropsychology and also a PhD in cognitive neuroscience, but what really got me into this was I’ve always been, since my days in chiropractic school, I fell in love with neurology and rehabilitation. I, from the very beginning, I thought that there, I wanted to find a way to combine kind of like sports medicine and neurology together in some way with diet and nutrition.

It was also an interest of mine. And so that’s where I started. And I, you know, when I graduated, I got a subspecialty or a diplomate in neurology, which took an additional three or four years after graduate school, and then another one in rehab. And then I was [00:06:00] starting my practice and doing really well.

And then. What happened was I came home in 1995 dating myself and my wife had somebody in our kitchen and she was crying and I, my wife introduced me and said, Rob, this is Denise. I met her last night at a fundraiser for an organization that she has for kids with different types of disabilities. Her son has severe ADHD and he’s on the spectrum and she was saying how frustrated she was because she tried everything and nothing really seemed to help him.

Um, And, you know, I told her you kind of know a lot about neurology and you kind of think out the side of the box and that maybe you could help her. So I looked at my wife and I said, okay, let me talk to you for a second. And I said, you know, I’m getting home at nine o’clock at night. My kids are asleep.

I’m already really busy. You know, I don’t know if I can, I know what you want to do, but you really want me to kind of get into this. Because. It’s going to take a lot. And [00:07:00] she said, I don’t know. I just have a feeling you’re supposed to do something with this and that you need to help this woman. So I said, okay, I’ll look into it.

So I started researching cause I didn’t know a lot about childhood developmental or neurological issues at that time. I was working mostly with adults and so I started diving into it and then I went to my son’s, my older son’s parent teacher meeting. It was the first parent teacher meeting I ever went to in first grade and he was five, six years old and we sat down and the teacher said, you know, I don’t know how to say this to you, but I think your son may have ADHD or something like that.

And so now I’m like, wow. And. I felt like kind of embarrassed as a professional that I didn’t know what it was. I felt embarrassed as a parent that I didn’t see this in my own child. But I also heard this voice that my wife’s saying, you’re supposed to do something with this. Whoa. Goosebumps. Yeah. And that [00:08:00] was, and I believe in those things.

So you know, I said, okay, this is somebody who’s giving me a message here. And the first question that popped into my head, which seems so logical, was, you know, is what is it? What is happening in my son’s brain that are causing these types of symptoms? And I went around and I speak to anybody that I knew, friends, professionals, pediatricians, pediatric neurologists, neuropsychologists, psychologists, psychiatrists, and I asked them the same question, what’s going on in the brain of a kid with ADHD?

And they all looked at me and said, You know, and I don’t really know what the answer to that is. And I don’t know who knows or if anybody does, but they were real quick to then say to me, but there’s really not much you can do about it anyway. And I said, wait a second. You just told me you don’t know what it is, but you really know that I can’t do anything about it.

And cause I was just interested in helping my own child. And so quickly realized that, you know, I wasn’t going to get any answers from anybody. So I was already doing research. I was already [00:09:00] doing some brain research and I just dove into it. And it became pretty much a miss session. And after 10 years, I ended up publishing my textbook called neurobehavioral disorders of childhood and evolutionary perspective, which is still, you know, a very popular book and along the way, I developed a program that not only helped my own child, but also helped many other kids and now we’ve helped You know, tens of thousands of people around the world.

And so that’s my origin story. 

Melissa: I love it. Thank you for sharing that. Oh, I had full goose bumps, so many goose bumps. So. You specialize in ADHD, autism, Asperger’s syndrome, dyslexia, OCD, and things like that. Now you bring a fundamentally different understanding to the causes of these conditions. Can you tell us how you view these neurological conditions and what causes them?

Dr. Robert Melillo: Yeah, I think the approach that makes what we do different, and I’m confirmed on [00:10:00] this every day, my practice here in New York is, as you can imagine, very busy, and we get people from all over the world every day, every week, and one of the first questions I ask them is, has anybody tried to explain what’s happening in your child’s brain to you?

And it doesn’t make a difference what the diagnosis is. The most common thing we work with is really, you know, non speaking autism. So really the most challenging type of autism, as well as many of the other things that you labeled, and not just in kids, but adults, as well as things like schizophrenia and, and bipolar and.

The most common answer is they look and they kind of step back and they say, no, no one’s even tried. And I said, that’s kind of unusual, right? Because you get an autism diagnosis, that’s a pretty serious diagnosis to give a family. And they don’t even attempt to explain to you what it is. I mean, if your child had cancer, if your child had anything else, they would show you models, they’d give you pictures.

And they give you an autism diagnosis or ADHD or [00:11:00] any sort of. You know, neurobehavioral diagnosis, and they don’t even attempt to explain to you what is actually happening in the brain. And then I’ll say to them, why do you think that is? And they say, they don’t know. And I said, exactly. They don’t know.

They don’t understand that. I’ve spent 30 years of my career trying to understand that. And I’ve published a hundred scientific papers, many books and chapters. I have eight bestselling books. I’ve lectured all over the world and taught on a graduate and postgraduate level for, you know, 30 years. And I’ve also been treating patients at the highest level.

I mean, we saw 6, 000 patient visits last year and we’ll do 10, 000 this year. So I have a pretty big sample set to pull from. And looking at it from many different perspectives. So for me, it’s all about that initial question, which is what is actually happening? And then what do we do to change that? And so in our exam and in our workup, we do that to [00:12:00] really isolate very specifically from a neuroanatomical perspective.

What’s going on in the brain? When did this first start? Why is it like that and what do we need to do to change that? Because in my mind, if you’re not addressing that core primary issue in the brain, you’re not really doing anything. You’re just managing symptoms or managing behaviors. And even though those things are all fine, you know, medication has its place, all therapies have some benefit.

But most of them are really just managing behaviors and symptoms and they’re not really dealing with the core issue. And I think we understand that as well or better than anybody in the world. I think we’re more experienced in doing it. We do it in an incredibly comprehensive and cutting edge way. And I think that’s why we get results that very few people get.

Melissa: So how do you recognize a brain imbalance? Because, don’t we want to try and catch these? [00:13:00] Subtle warning signs before it gets to the extreme. Like, so what are we looking 

Dr. Robert Melillo: for? So this is where, you know, my most recent research really over the past, you know, seven or eight years has really focused on something called retained primitive reflexes.

So what we know is that. The best way to catch this is by really paying attention to the early milestones and what happens really in that first year of life or the first few years of life. And, you know, late that’s been, you know, most mainstream psychology, medicine, they’ve kind of put less emphasis on that or say that it isn’t important.

And they’re completely wrong. That is the best way to really identify. 

Melissa: I’ve got an almost three year old, so I’ve like kind of just been through all of this. And I think there’s a lot of like, don’t compare your child to others and don’t look at the milestones and just focus on your child. But what you’re saying is those milestones are really [00:14:00] important.

Dr. Robert Melillo: Very important, hugely important. I mean, why do you think they would be there? I mean, they’re there for a reason. And we’ve known about them since the beginning. And, you know, I mean, we know kids are supposed to go in a certain way. There’s a blueprint to building a brain. Just like there’s a blueprint to building a building or a house, right?

You wouldn’t go into building a house. And there’s a basic blueprint. And if you deviate too much from that blueprint, you’re not gonna get a good building or house, right? You’re not And so the brain is one of the most complex things in the universe. It’s an incredibly complex system and there’s a blueprint to how it needs to be built.

And any really significant deviation from that. Is really a problem. And that’s what we see. And again, I speak with parents all day, every day from around the world. And this is what I asked them. And I asked them about, tell me about your child. Tell me about your history. Did you go through this? And I can tell you [00:15:00] in 80 to 90 percent of the parents.

Their child did not hit those milestones the way they were supposed to. And it can be different in each kid, but they didn’t do it the way they were supposed to. 

Melissa: So let’s talk about what milestones you’re talking about. So crawling, for example, and then obviously walking and then talking. So what other milestones are we talking about?

Dr. Robert Melillo: The earliest milestone to me is often looking at can they latch on to a breast if the mom chooses to breastfeed, right? For me, right off the bat, many, probably 70 percent of the moms that I work with will tell me that their child couldn’t latch on when they first started to breastfeed. And they may eventually get it or they may not.

Sometimes it may be because of a lip tie or a tongue tie, even though that may not be the case. But that is, that shows me right off the bat that their muscle tone is altered and that something is different. Also, rolling over is hugely [00:16:00] important and the way they roll over matters, right? You can roll over where the child extends and kind of flops over or they can do it the way they’re supposed to, where they lift their head and then roll over.

Now, both may roll over at the right time. But the way they do it matters. Then they need to go into this Cobra pose. Then they need to do the commando crawl. Then they need to open their hands and then get on all fours and rock. And then they need to move with on all fours. And then they need to start pulling themselves up and sitting up and then standing up.

And then at 12 months, they should walk and they should talk during that time. They shouldn’t be any major immune issues. They shouldn’t have a lot of colic. They shouldn’t get eczema at three or four or six months. They shouldn’t have a lot of reflux. They shouldn’t, you know, be sensitive to things like dairy or, or other things like that.

All of those things [00:17:00] are milestones. And if the child doesn’t not only hit the milestone or skip the milestone, but they need to do it in the right way. And what all of this is about really is, again, it’s about building our brains. So humans, Have the most immature brains on the planet. When we’re born, we have the largest brains per body size for primates or mammals, but we have the smallest birth canals.

So the brain is really underdeveloped when it’s born. It’s only about 20 percent of the adult size and it’s going to grow to 90 percent in the first three years. So there’s this growth that happens. And when a baby is born, they don’t have any control over their own body, their own movements, but they need to move to engage the environment to start building their brain.

So that this stimulus comes, turns on genes and builds their brain from the bottom up, like building a building. You know, [00:18:00] we start with the foundation and then floor by floor, and then they build a penthouse, which is their brain, and then it comes down and it regulates everything in our body, everything, our immune system, our digestive system, everything, and that’s the way it’s supposed to proceed, and re primitive reflexes are there to lead us through these different movements, even from getting out of the womb, these reflexes are there to get us out of the womb, and then to move us, and as we move And use these reflexes and engage them.

We then also integrate them and inhibit them. And at the end of one year, they should be fully integrated when we stand and when we walk and when we talk, and then the brain, they should go away and the brain should get to the next level. Of development and more complex control of movement. And that’s the way it builds.

And what we’ve been able to show is that in most cases of any sort of neuro developmental issues in kids, [00:19:00] adolescents, or adults, that in more and more cases, we see those reflexes aren’t going away and the kids are not hitting their milestones. And that matters, and pediatricians completely ignore this, and they tell everybody that it doesn’t matter, they don’t look at reflexes, pediatric neurologists do, they look at primitive reflexes for the first year, they don’t look at them beyond because we know they’re supposed to be gone, but they just assume that they’re automatically gone, and they never look beyond year one, so the assumption is they’re not there, but we’ve proven, and my research has proven that They don’t go away.

And if they don’t go away in that first year, they won’t go away on their own, unless we do something to make them go away. 

Melissa: So ideally we want to catch these. We want to have parents who are observing their children and going, Oh, that’s interesting that they’re doing a side shuffle kind [00:20:00] of pull thing instead of crawling.

And. other children that age are crawling. Like it’s not about comparing in a negative way, it’s just about noticing and it’s about awareness and going, Oh, that’s interesting. Okay. How can I support my child to help them hit these milestones, these healthy essential milestones so that they can really thrive and we can set them up for a healthy and happy life.

So ideally, We want parents to be observing their children, taking note and taking action if they notice that their child is not hitting one of those milestones. But what about if the child is, say, six or 15 or even, then you’re in your adulthood, like what if you’re 20 and you’re 30 and you realize that you have these things?

Is it too late to integrate those primitive reflexes? And how do we do it? 

Dr. Robert Melillo: It’s never too late. That’s the beauty of it. And if anybody wants to know, [00:21:00] you know, did my development happen in the most optimal way, you get yourself checked for primitive reflexes. And if they’re there, then as good as you may be, and this is the thing, you know, when these reflexes don’t go away, they always create an imbalance in the development of the brain.

And this imbalance between the right and left hemisphere and networks and the prevents integration. Because our brain needs to really be integrated, but we also need to have, you know, our right brain and our left brain be very different. That’s a really great advantage. And as we mature, the two sides of the brain do very different things.

The right brain develops first in the first two to three years, and this is critical for the development of social development, developing attachments. The foundation of all your attachments for the rest of your life really start with that interaction between the mom and the child and the dad and the child and other caregivers and [00:22:00] then, you know, being able to get nonverbal communication, understanding, recognizing facial expression, eye contact, tone of voice, gestures, movements, tactile touch, This is the, the initial language that gets the child to connect and builds their brain and builds their communication and also teaches them how to self regulate their emotions and be able to calm and soothe themselves and it’s the foundation of, again, attachment.

And they need to be able to feel their body and connect to their body and then be able to use that to read what other people are feeling. And then after those three years, two to three, then the left brain starts to build. And that’s when we really get an explosion of verbal language. And that’s when we start forming conscious memories.

And that’s when we are more curious about learning. And we don’t really care as much about other people or about our own body. [00:23:00] We’re more goal directed and more hyperactive and more motor and more impulsive and compulsive. And we, the left brain likes routines and it likes to do the same thing over and over.

And then at the end of those six years, both sides of the brain are now really specialized. And now as we mature, they become even more and more. But they also need to become more and more integrated with one another. And if there’s any sort of developmental or matriarchal imbalance, it will. dampen or stunt growth on one side and may accelerate too much.

Like in autism, we see that the left brain comes online too early. It comes on, you know, within the first few months or first year, because of these delays of primitive reflexes. And we see some kids that are doing left brain skills. You know, I had one kid last week that could read at one year of age. I had a kid from the UK that could read at [00:24:00] eight months.

Nobody should be reading at one year or eight months. That’s not good. And because it means that the right brain, the foundation of our emotions and social development and emotional regulation and, you know, connection to our body and other people. And didn’t really fully develop. And the left brain came on and the left brain gained dominance when the right brain should come on first and really gain dominance over the left.

And then the left comes out in the right kind of controls it’s hyperactivity and it’s impulsivity and it’s anger and it’s frustration and it’s aggression. So that it. Make sure that things are done in a socially appropriate way and way that doesn’t hurt people or ourselves and that imbalance is really the core of basically any sort of psychopathology and in most cases, it is usually more of a right hemisphere dysfunction or deficit, [00:25:00] either it’s deficient or it’s overactive.

And that is where a lot of the, almost all psychopathology is really born. 

Melissa: Wow. This is mind blowing, literally mind blowing information. And like, I want every parent to know this. You know, even if you’ve already had your children or even better, if like you haven’t birthed any of your children just yet, like this information is mind blowing.

It’s so amazing. And I’m so grateful to my friends who introduced me to you and your work. It’s just amazing. So tell me what sort of techniques do you use to correct that 

Dr. Robert Melillo: imbalance? So we take you from three different approaches. One is the foundation of movement and brain development is built around the sensory and motor development, right?

So movement that engages the senses. That then builds the brain, literally stimulates the brain, causes it to grow and then causes from the bottom [00:26:00] up and then promotes top down regulation. But then there’s cognitive development, right? Academic learning, reading, memorizing, learning executive functions that are built on top of that sensory motor system.

And then there’s our autonomic and immune and metabolic regulation. So we need to look at. You know, the way that the autonomic sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system are developing and regulating our digestion and absorption and our ability to, you know, regulate and control our immune system so that we don’t have too strong of an immune system and we end up getting things like eczema, food sensitivities, autoimmunity, or having too weak of an immune system where we have chronic infections and we can’t fight off those infections.

And we may be prone to things like yeast infections or fungus or parasites or, you know, chronic strep throat or things like that. So we look at, you know, those three primary [00:27:00] pillars, the sentry motor where we’re doing physical activities. We will stimulate these reflexes to get rid of them and integrate them.

And then also maybe do some primitive reflex exercises. We do a lot of core work and movement work. We do a lot of vestibular inner ear stimulation, eye movements. We do tactile stimulation, vibration. We will do smell is hugely important. Music, sound, different frequencies of sound, different frequencies of light, different smells.

All of them impact the right and the left brain differently. What side of the body you stimulate, where the light comes in, where the sound comes in. All of that can be directed towards specific areas of the brain to create balance. And one of the key distinctions is that many therapies and therapists, like myself, early on, you’re taught to do everything pretty much equally.

Even though we know most problems are really [00:28:00] related to imbalances, things like dizziness is caused by an imbalance in the inner ear, problems with the eyes or vision may be a problem with, you know, oculomotor imbalances, strabismus, postural imbalances, all of these imbalances. Result in different issues and symptoms of one way or the other.

And so really being able to, if you stimulate both sides equally, like most people and most therapists are taught to do, you will usually not correct an imbalance. And if anything, you may make it worse because both sides are impacted, but one, the side that’s more active will respond more than the other.

So if anything, you may make the balance worse. So to correct it, you need to do things to one side, stimulate one side, and then maybe inhibit the other side. So you need to do it in a directed way, not just generally stimulate the [00:29:00] brain. You need to stimulate certain areas and actually inhibit others. And that’s the same thing with the immune system.

You don’t just boost the immune system. You have to direct the immune system in specific ways. Because again, imbalances in the immune system are what produce most chronic illnesses and inflammation and all the different types of issues that we see. So it’s really about directing the stimulus and tailoring it to the individual person and then combining them together.

And we use also a lot of different technology like TENS stimulation, electrical stimulation, transcranial direct or alternating current. We use virtual reality and video games. We use different types of light. We use different types of, you know, we do things like neurofeedback. But that’s usually much later on down the road.

We do all different types. We’ll do elimination diets or design specific diets or check for food [00:30:00] sensitivities. We look at different immune markers and vitamin levels and inflammation markers, and we target things specifically towards that, as well as we do different cognitive based activities, academic activities directed towards one side of the brain or the other.

Or we do different things to try to promote speech and communication in children that are non speaking. 

Melissa: Wow. This is just so amazing. Like you just are blowing my mind over here. Absolutely blowing my mind. So tell me, you mentioned diet and nutrition, and they say that the gut is our second brain, right?

So I want to talk to you about this. Cause I always thought. your gut, and that will heal your brain, but you say, heal your brain, and that will heal your guts. So, talk to me about this. 

Dr. Robert Melillo: Yeah. You know, the whole idea that the gut is the second brain. I mean [00:31:00] the gut isn’t, the brain is unbelievably complex, and the way it works, and it’s so intricate.

And the gut is a fairly complex organ, but not anywhere close to what the brain does, but it definitely plays a major influence and it definitely is important and it definitely is a very important organ and we do see it disrupted in almost every child or every adult that we see. But, you know, when people.

In the biomedical world say, well, it starts with the gut and you got to heal the gut first. That’s not true. And in many cases you will never heal the gut unless you get the brain to work properly. It really comes down to the balance of what we call the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system. So the fight or flight.

or the rest and digest system. When we’re born, we’re in a state of fight or flight. We’re born with our sympathetic nervous system more dominant. And there’s an area of the brainstem called the [00:32:00] medulla. And there’s a nucleus there called the rostral ventral lateral medullary nucleus that is online when we’re born.

And that’s the way it’s supposed to be. Our gut, we’re born with a leaky gut, our gut is supposed to be leaky when we’re born because we’re born with an innate immune system, but we develop later what’s called an adaptive immune system. And the adaptive immune system is where we start to form antibodies.

And so when a baby is born, they don’t produce their own antibody. They’re dependent on the mother and the mother’s breast milk. They’re very large protein immunoglobulins. They wouldn’t get through a normal mature stomach lining. So the stomach lining is mostly open when we’re born. Very few people know that.

They know about leaky guts, but they don’t realize we start off with a leaky gut. 

Melissa: It’s till about age two, isn’t 

Dr. Robert Melillo: it? Well, it’s actually, it’s supposed to start closing [00:33:00] up, which makes sense when we start eating solid food. So when we start ingesting solid food, our gut should start to close up and our sympathetic nervous system really prevents digestion.

So when we’re in a fight or flight situation, it’s supposed to be short term. You know, I’m either going to fight or run away. And then when I’m safe, then I can relax again. And so the sympathetic nervous system. We’ll actually shut down blood flow to the gut, shut down digestion and digestive enzymes and acid, and we’ll shunt the blood to the arms and the legs and the brain to fight or run.

And then when we stop, it should flush back. But what happens is if you’re in a chronic sympathetic state, and also in the beginning of early life. When we’re not ingesting solid food yet, we don’t, we’re in this sympathetic stage. So we have reduced [00:34:00] blood flow to our gut. We don’t produce digestive enzymes or acid.

And so we have altered pH balance. So things like bacteria and viruses and yeast can live in our gut that normally wouldn’t live in our gut. And so what, around the, around the first year. The parasympathetic nervous system, another nuclei in the medulla called the nucleus ambiguous, should come online, and when that comes online, it should inhibit the sympathetic nervous system, so our heart rate should show, slow down, we should now be able to sleep through the night, and we should also be able, we, our gut closes up, we start producing the proper amounts of acid and digestive enzymes, and We increase blood flow.

Now we can absorb breakdowns of food and nutrients before we didn’t need to do that because we just got it from breast milk or that’s the way it’s supposed to work. But now when we start [00:35:00] digesting food, we need to get the nutrients from there. We need more blood flow. And what we see is that. The same area in the brainstem where these nuclei that regulate this come from are the same areas where the primitive reflexes arise from.

And if they don’t go away, the brainstem doesn’t mature and the parasympathetic nervous system or the vagal system doesn’t come online, the gut never closes, the normal digestion and acid doesn’t happen, the blood flow doesn’t happen. And so we have a chronic leaky gut, we don’t digest food properly, gluten and casein and other large proteins should never get through our stomach lining, but now they do, and now we also have an imbalance in the way we regulate our immune system, and now that may trigger food sensitivities, inflammation.

And that, you know, produces a problem, but the answer, you [00:36:00] know, again, all right, we eliminate the foods. We can try to put a probiotic in there and a prebiotic and give them digestive enzymes and all that can be helpful. But the bottom line is until you get that brainstem working and until the brain is working and until the parasympathetic nuclei come online, you’re never going to get that gut to work properly.

So it doesn’t start in the gut. It starts in the brain. And that’s where we have to address it. Otherwise, again, all you’re doing is just kind of managing the symptoms and you’re not really dealing with the core issue. 

Melissa: Amen. This is so good. This is gold because I know so many parents and like, I have so many of my friends who are working so hard to heal their children’s guts, but it’s the brain.

We’re going to look at the brain. So I had two friends who introduced me to your work. One that gave me a book, but the other one, her eight year old, [00:37:00] it had manifested as she got a tick. She had a tick in her face. And this is how she got into your work and discovered all of your amazing work. And so she went and saw someone who does the primitive reflexes integration.

And I was just so curious. I was like, well, I wonder if all of my daughters are integrated. And I wonder if all of mine are. So I went and had a session and she did a full assessment on my daughter. And then she did a full assessment on me. Was like, both of you are all good. I actually can’t charge you because all of your reflexes are integrated.

Like I can’t charge you the full amount. So good work off you go. And I was like, okay, cool. And I was just so curious. So this is me. I am a generator in human design. Like I need to like see things and this is how I learned. So I love the work that you’re doing. I truly do. But I want to talk about environmental factors and things like stress and how Factors [00:38:00] contribute to neurological imbalances in kids and in 

Dr. Robert Melillo: adults.

Sure. Well, you know, that can be pretty complicated, but for the most part, you know, I see families that come from all over the world that have, like you said, done so many things for so many years. And we get people from Australia and New Zealand and. In China and you know, they fly all over the world to come in and they’re good parents.

They’re good families. You know what I mean? These kids don’t come in and they’ve haven’t been abused and they haven’t been neglected. You know, they’ve gotten the best of everything, but yet they have these issues. So, you know, again, most of the kids we work with are not kids that have been abused or neglected or have, you know, this, these, you know, crazy stress issues.

Yeah. When they’re younger. So, you know, most children don’t have psychological issues. You know, I, it always kind of makes me laugh when you get a three year old or a four year old that’s being diagnosed with like anxiety disorder or depression, and I’m [00:39:00] like, you know, they don’t have that. And talk therapy is not going to work with children.

It’s a neurological issue and it’s nobody’s fault. It’s just the way it happened. There are many different environmental factors. And my third book is about all these things. That might contribute to it and things that might be able to be done to lower the risk of having a child with a disability. But even after the fact, we can always change it.

You know, stress is a stress response. So not a lot of children that come from good families are really suffering from stress. Obviously as adults, we have stress in our life. You know, we have work, we have mortgages to pay, we have things that go on and we have stress. But in my book and in my research, we showed that.

You know, many people believe that because they’re stressed out, that automatically causes a stress response in their body so that if they have stress in their life, that it translates into an increased [00:40:00] sympathetic tone. Because bottom line is a stress response. is an increased activation of the stress of the sympathetic nervous system.

And that leads to an increased activation of the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis, which produces cortisol, which is to try to reduce that stress response and inflammation. So one creates more inflammation. The other one is designed to kind of reduce the inflammation. Overall, what we see is that We can see these kids that their body looks stressed out, but they haven’t had stress, just like we know that just that it was proven that just because you have stress in your life doesn’t mean that you have an increased stress response just because you live a very stressful life doesn’t mean that you’re going to have high blood pressure and, you know, high pulse rate.

And have all these different stress disorders and all these different things. In fact, people that live stressful lives that are very active, in many [00:41:00] cases are very healthy because they’re so active. So, the idea of, you know, when we say stress, you know, there are stressors and there are things that can impact us psychologically and physically.

But in children, that’s not the issue. Now, if you come from a family where you are abused and neglected, we know that has a big impact on right brain development. There’s a psychologist out there that I really respect named Alan Shore. He has a current book called the development of the unconscious mind.

And he, he really is an expert on that right brain development and attachment and how. You know, if a child is neglected or abused, how that can really contribute to dissociation later on in life, psycho, you know, trauma and, and psychopathologies. But you know, to be honest, the vast majority of people that I work with, you know, they come from great families.

Now, kids that are adopted, they may have gone through some stressful and [00:42:00] those children may need extra help. But. Really, the stress that we see in their body is really because that parasympathetic nervous system hasn’t matured. It’s really a maturational delay and a maturational imbalance. And the good news of that is that Is there’s no injury in the brain.

There’s no damage. People talk about, you know, autism as a, you know, a brain injury. It’s not a brain injury. There’s no injury in the brain. That’s why it’s so mysterious when we look at it and we’ve done the research. We’ve looked at brains. We’ve looked at many brains. We’ve looked at autistic brains versus regular, you know, developing brains.

And we see that there’s not a bunch of obvious differences. So the good news is. You know, there’s virtually no genetic mutation in any of these disorders. That’s kind of a misconception as well. And there may be epigenetic factors, but those things can all be changed. 

Melissa: Yeah, absolutely. Let’s talk about prescription drug treatments for kids with these neurological [00:43:00] issues.

Like what’s your opinion on these drugs? And what do you wish parents knew about 

Dr. Robert Melillo: them? Well, you know, I’m not crazy against them. I mean, I don’t think anybody and no parent wants their child to be on drugs. And my questions always go to, well, why do they need the drug? Like what is, again, it goes back to my original question for my own child.

What is happening in their brain and what do we need to do to change that? Now, drugs don’t do that. Drugs don’t change the brain. Drugs don’t target a specific area of the brain. They don’t create balance. They may modify the symptoms and may manage the symptoms, but they don’t really correct or address the problem.

So from a symptom management standpoint, if a family’s in crisis, a child is super hyperactive or they get a kid that’s really has very bad self injurious behavior and is literally hitting themselves and smashing their head or going after other kids in the [00:44:00] family or, you know, really, you really have some issues, then medication on a short term, if it helps, great.

Then you need to look for a long term solution. You need to actually deal with the problem, right? I use an analogy that if you injured your knee, let’s say you’re an athlete and you tore your, your knee and you have a lot of pain and swelling and you can take pain medication and anti inflammatory and it can maybe manage the symptom really well.

But you’re ultimately going to either have to repair the knee and or do some rehab on the knee to get the knee to function the way it functioned before. And then once you do that, you don’t need the medication anymore. Medication, pain medication or anti inflammatory is not going to cure a knee injury, but rehab will, right?

And so what we’re doing is really rehabbing the neurological systems in the brain and the body, and we’re dealing with the [00:45:00] core issue. Medication manages those symptoms, and that’s good, and sometimes it’s helpful to help us work with the child, but it isn’t a long term solution, and there’s always side effects.

There’s always side effects, even with You look at something like Ritalin, the largest study ever done was basically MTA study, which was over 18 or 20 years. And what it showed was that in the first 14 months, the medication seemed to be effective with the symptoms. But after that, And long term, there was no difference between kids with ADHD that were medicated and kids that had ADHD that weren’t medicated.

The only difference, after 20 years that they saw, was kids that were medicated tend to be shorter on average, by about 2 centimeters. And that’s believed because it’s believed that it may delay onset or reduce the onset of puberty. Because many kids don’t [00:46:00] eat as much when they’re on stimulant medication.

And so they may tend to be shorter and they may have slightly elevated blood pressure. That’s the only thing. But again, so bottom line is long term. It doesn’t have any long term benefit usually. And it may have some long term, you know, problems. But overall again, I’m not overall against using them to manage symptoms on a short term basis.

Thanks. Which is what I think they should, they mostly should be used for. But the idea that a child or an adult even should have to be on medication for the rest of their life, to me means. You’re lazy or you don’t understand what the problem is and you’re not, and you don’t know how to really deal with the, the real core issue.


Melissa: absolutely. Oh, this is so good. So for every parent listening out there, can you talk us through three habits or practices that you would love every [00:47:00] parent to start implementing with their kids to promote.

Dr. Robert Melillo: So, you know, like I said, it’s really important to understand that the foundation and really the most important aspect of the brain is that right brain development in the first two to three years. I don’t know if anybody, if you’ve ever heard of Ian McGilchrist, he’s a very famous psychiatrist from the UK, very bright guy from Oxford, and he wrote a book called The Master and His Emissary.

And it’s all about brain asymmetry and its relationship to psychopathology and psychiatric issues. And. He basically called it the master and his emissary, because he says that the right brain is the master. It should be the main thing in our brain. Again, it should dominate over the left, the right brain.

You know, is all about interpersonal relationships. It’s all about love, maternal love, romantic love, building attachment. It’s driven more than anything else to connect us with other people, because that’s [00:48:00] our number one survival strategy for humans in stone age could not survive alone for any length of time because they’d be killed by an animal or other humans.

If they were kicked out of a group because they couldn’t get along, it was a death sentence. So we need for our survival and the right brain is all about that. And the right brain is about emotional regulation, attachment. It’s about, you know, feeling our body. It’s about the real world. It has, you know, it’s moralistic, it has a sense of conscience, it, you know, it really cares about other people, and it wants to connect, it wants to share experiences.

The left brain is really very goal directed, it’s very ego driven, it really doesn’t care about other people, it’s not really connected to our body, it really doesn’t. You know, it has a goal in mind and it will do whatever it takes to get there. It’ll be aggressive. And the only really pure emotion of the left [00:49:00] brain is anger, or it’ll also be silly and giddy and laughing too much like manic, right?

So we see many kids with right brain delays. They may laugh for no reason and get really silly or it with a little bit of frustration, they get very angry, but the right brain emotions are things like sadness, fear, sense of danger. Embarrassment, shame, guilt, disgust, rejection, sensitivity, but also love, empathy, compassion.

You know, attachment, connection to others. So the right brain is really important. So what happens in those first three years are really important. The kids should not have any technology in that time, nothing. Right. In those first two to three years, especially, and I, it drives me a little bit nuts when I go out or I’m at an airport or I’m at a restaurant and I see two adults with like one child, that’s like two and the child is on the device the whole dinner.

I’m like, talk to [00:50:00] your children. You know, drugs. My wife is great. She would always bring crayons or different things and they would draw on the placemats or, you know, they would draw pictures or we play. She’d bring Trivial Pursuit cards and we play trivia or bring them something that they can play with or just try to engage them.

So that’s one thing. Do not let your child have any devices. Especially in those first two to three years with that right brain development. Keep them very physical. Make sure they’re moving. The right brain loves nature. It wants to be outside. It wants to be around other people. The way that we build our emotional, social intelligence is not through reading or through learning.

You know, again, a lot of kids, a lot of parents will start, you know, at early on trying to get their kids to do flashcards. That’s a big mistake. You don’t want them to learn to read before three. We see that only in kids with autism, that they read [00:51:00] before three. So you don’t want to bring that left brain on too early.

It seems innocuous. It seems like, Oh, what’s the harm with getting them to read early? It’s not good. If a child reads early, it’s usually a sign that there’s a problem that right brain hasn’t developed. We know that the key to health and happiness. It was a 75 year Harvard study. It was the longest study ever done in psychology, looking at boys from Harvard medical school and from a local poor community in Boston, they followed them out for their whole life.

And they wanted to understand what was the thing that determined, you know, health and happiness later on in life. And they interviewed everybody. They interviewed their wives, their children, their grandchildren, their employees, their friends. And the bottom line, if you came down to this, at the end of life, it didn’t matter if they went to Harvard or if they grew up poor, if they had money, if they didn’t.

It was their quality of their interpersonal relationships that determined their [00:52:00] health and happiness later on in life. That is all right brain development. And in the old days, that’s what childhood was about. It was about going outside and playing with other children and running around and, you know, rolling in the dirt and, you know, and doing those things and not sitting with technology and not being locked inside in an air conditioning unit.

And, you know, it’s about movement. So movement, getting your kid active, keeping them active, and you need to be the example. Right, if you want your child to really love or become a lifetime athlete or exerciser, get them around you when you’re exercising when you’re young. When my kids were young, you know, I tried to give my wife a break on the weekends as I could and I’d get up early with them.

And I’d want to exercise because I couldn’t, didn’t have that much time, but I didn’t want to leave them to do that. So I would sit in, you know, sit with them and I would do pushups and they would be on [00:53:00] my back when I was doing it. And I would do squats and I would hold them and they would be hugging me.

I do pull ups and they would be holding on to me. I’d get them onto a pull up bar and they thought it was incredibly fun. I would use them for curls. And they loved it. And then as they got older, I would go for a run and they would take their bikes and they would go with me. And all of my kids at this age are adults and they’re really healthy and they exercise.

And I never made them do it. I didn’t say you have to do this. I just showed them and so did my wife. We just, you are the example. We all want our kids to be happy and healthy and have a great relationship and go for their dreams and be passionate about their work and have incredible relationships and be healthy and not have to take, you know, antidepressants and anti anxiety drugs and.

But if you look at yourself, if you’re overweight, if you’re unhealthy, if you hate your job, if you have a terrible relationship, if you’re on, you know, all different types of [00:54:00] drugs, then you have to look and say, you’re not really being the example and your kids are going to follow your example, not what you say.

They’re going to look at what you do. You have to walk your talk and just realize that there’s, you know, act like there’s always a child watching you. And that’s how you conduct yourself. And if you do those things, I think if you really try to really focus on that right brain development, keep them away from technology, let them go outside, let them play.

Really, you know, foster exercise with them and really, you know, just do that and be the example. That I think is one of the most important things I can tell a parent. You can do all of that and the child can have a brain imbalance and then all of that isn’t going to change it. You have to do something to actually change the brain and change it.

And, [00:55:00] you know, it’s not about somebody doing something wrong or blame. It’s about understanding and again, paying attention to those early milestones. I don’t care what anybody says, I will argue or debate anybody on this. Those milestones really matter. And in most cases, if they don’t occur that way, there is an issue and you need to intervene.

And the first thing you look at is primitive reflexes. And even for yourself. If you’ve struggled your whole life, and we know that almost all adult psychopathology really starts in childhood. We know it, and we know it mostly is about development of that right brain. And if you’ve struggled your whole life with different things, you know, I just saw a woman today.

It was 50 years old from Pennsylvania, wonderful woman, incredibly talented. And that’s another thing. The people that are most gifted. In an area of their brain or an ability are the ones that are more likely to develop an imbalance. So we [00:56:00] see people with incredible gifts. Most kids that I work with, like if they’re on the autism spectrum, they’re a left brain genius.

Every one of them, even the ones that don’t speak. We get people that have like bipolar or depression or really intense anxiety, social anxiety. And those people are right brain geniuses, almost every one of them, like artistically, creatively, athletically, socially, emotionally, but it’s out of control and they can’t regulate it.

So it’s not, it happens in people that are gifted. So, you know, you can see people that go, well, I’m really good at this, so I must be okay. I’m a gifted student. But, you know, but socially you’re not, and emotionally you really struggle, or, you know, motorically you’re really uncoordinated. So it’s about understanding really what this is all about, and, and really trying to get ahead of it before.

It’s too [00:57:00] late. The longer it goes on, the harder it is to change. 

Melissa: But there is things that we can do to change it, which is amazing, no matter what age you are. And that’s what I love about your work. Now I’m curious, in most schooling systems, they try and teach children how to read, you know, from year one.

So that’s like the five turning six or six turning seven. In the Steiner philosophy, they delay that reading till I think it’s around eight years old. Now, can you talk to that? Do you know a lot about that? 

Dr. Robert Melillo: Yeah, I know. You know, I work with a lot of different countries. Kids just read at different ages because of different philosophies.

In the United States, you know, most kids are taught to read starting at about four or five. You know, kindergarten, first grade in Europe, it’s usually a lot later, six years old, seven years old. I think that, you know, once you hit three and once the left brain starts to kick in, I think [00:58:00] that’s when reading and learning to read is good.

So you know, around four years old, five years old, I think is optimal. You want them to read early. You want them to love reading early because it is an important skill, but you don’t want them to read too early. That’s what we see. Like I said, that. is hyperlexia and we almost only see that in autism. So, you know, if you are reading early, it means you’re not developing the right brain fully and that is really important to do.


Melissa: is so good, Robert. Thank you so much. I would love to hear now, if you had a magic wand and you could put one book in the school curriculum of every high school around the world, Now, you can choose one of your books and a book of someone else. Now, what are those two books that you would 

Dr. Robert Melillo: choose?

That’s tough. I, I would, you know, my textbook is great, but it’s [00:59:00] very, you know, it’s very complex, right? So, it’s a PhD level book. But Disconnected Kids, I think would definitely be there. And then I would say that’s a tough one because there’s so many books that have really impacted me. I think Ian McGill, Chris Buck on Brain Asymmetry is really a really good one because it really, again, also talks about that.

It doesn’t give a lot of solutions though. So, you know, that book I think is really an important book. You know, that’s a tough one. I have to say because I read all the time and there’s so many books that are so great. One of the book, a lot of books I’m reading now, you know, I work with A lot of non speaking autism and that’s really been one of the main folks.

I don’t know if you have a lot of people in your audience with this, but you know, it is a big issue. 40 50 percent of kids on the autism spectrum don’t speak at all or speak in a very limited or abnormal way. And [01:00:00] nobody’s ever really explained why. It’s never really been ever really explained like what is actually happening.

People that do, they think about, well, you know, it’s most likely a left brain language issue, or it’s a left brain motor issue. And I’ve been able to discover that it isn’t, it’s a right brain problem. And the problem is they don’t feel their body. There’s an area of the brain that’s called the insula on the right, where we have what we call interoception, where we feel our body and we connect with our body.

where, you know, a baby can initially tell a parent when they’re in pain, when they’re hungry, when they’re thirsty, when they have to go to the bathroom or be need to be changed when they’re tired. And it has a lot to do with smell and taste. And again, this is where a lot of that interaction With, you know, between the child and the caregiver really come in and really shape that area and ultimately also shape the attachment.

And we see that [01:01:00] kids on the autism spectrum are really deficient in those areas. Many of them are really don’t feel pain much. Some of them completely. per impervious to pain. I had a kid recently who literally broke his arm in two and he didn’t cry. And in the ambulance, they couldn’t believe it. Or kids that, you know, get needles and they don’t cry.

They may not feel temperature. They may not feel hot and cold. They don’t feel hungry. They may not feel thirsty or they don’t feel full. I had a autistic boy that was 14. It was verbal and he drank water obsessively all day. And the mother was telling me this and she said, you know, it was interesting. I said to him, you drink too much water only drink when you’re thirsty.

And he looked at me and said, how do I know when I’m thirsty? So that means like that. I don’t know if you’ve seen on my Instagram, Kevin James, the actor that. You know, recently he was just on Joe Rogan last Friday and talked about how I helped his child and we were able to get rid of her tics, which is some of the [01:02:00] worst tics I’ve ever seen.

I don’t know if you saw that. Did you see that? I 

Melissa: didn’t see it. Can you please tell us 

Dr. Robert Melillo: about it? Yeah. So Kevin James, obviously is very famous actor here in the United States. He was in a show called King of Queens and he’s from Long Island where I’m from. And he came to me a couple of years ago because He has his oldest daughter who is on the spectrum and she really struggled.

She’s very bright, very talented, but you know, had a lot of different autistic issues, you know, OCD type things and everything, but really also she was struggling with sleeping and she had really bad eczema, but mainly she had developed these horrible tics and she developed them primarily because, like I said, she didn’t feel her body.

She didn’t feel pain. She didn’t really feel when she was sick. She didn’t know if she had to go to the bathroom and she also didn’t know if she completely emptied when she went to the bathroom. So she got a lot of these. Urinary tract [01:03:00] infections and they would get really bad and she didn’t know it and they didn’t know it until it got really bad.

And then one time it literally triggered these ticks that were horrible. She was hitting herself and really hurting herself. And it was just thousands of them a day. And Kevin tells the story how he had to literally lay on her to try to protect her from hurting herself. And. They brought it to a hospital, the number one children’s hospital in the United States.

And they brought her in an emergency and said, help us. And they looked at her and they said, we can’t help you. There’s nothing we can do for this. I mean, they literally, the mom actually said, they literally laughed at me. Like, they’re like, what do you think we’re going to do for this? And they said, you know, we can knock her out, but when she wakes up, the ticks are going to come back.

So they didn’t do that. And they did come back. So Kevin’s wife would, they went desperate. Kevin’s wife found my book, Disconnected Kids. They read it. She was like, we got to go find this guy. He, they got in touch with me [01:04:00] and I said, yeah, come on in. I mean, this is what I deal with. And so they came in and we started working with her and within two to three weeks, her tics were gone and they came back here and there a little bit, but then her eczema went away.

She started sleeping her social skills. But what was really fascinating was. When she came in, she left on a Friday and she had the tics. Monday, she walks through the door, no tics. And I look at her and I said, what happened? And she said, well, something happened this weekend. And I said, what? And she was 16 at the time and fully verbal.

And she said, I woke up. And all of a sudden the tick stopped and then I felt this overwhelming anxiety and fear and then that was replaced by this really terrible sadness. Now those are both right brain emotions. Again, any kids with autism, they have no sense of danger, no fear, they don’t afraid of the dark or strangers and they can elope and it can be dangerous.

And [01:05:00] they don’t really have sadness. They don’t really, you know, cry sad tears. So she had never felt those emotions before and now her concern was, she said, this sadness is really terrible. And I said, well, you know, but it’s good. It means your right brain woke up finally. And that’s good. You know, everybody feels these things.

And she looked at me and she said, everybody feels sad like this? I said, sometimes. And she said, I didn’t know that. So I had told Kevin and his wife, I told him they, she said that. And. They said, wow, that’s funny, because she would say she was sad or she would act like she was sad. So she masked it. So intellectually, she knew enough to mask it, but she didn’t really understand that people feel it because the right brain develops things subconsciously and unconsciously.

And we learn things in those first three years, especially with the right brain, like what it feels [01:06:00] like to be sad or what it means or what happiness feels like. We don’t realize we learn them because we learn it subconsciously. So it just feels like we just knew it and we always knew it. And we don’t really remember consciously before the age of three.

So it just seems to emerge. If it doesn’t emerge, you don’t realize that it’s not there. You don’t know it. And you can’t teach somebody that. They have to feel it. And if you don’t feel it, you really can’t even conceive of what it’s like for somebody else to feel it. If you don’t feel pain, you don’t understand somebody else’s pain.

You can’t emphasize with something that you don’t feel or experience. So she even said to me, she said, you know, well, I now cry at the end of movies like the rest of my family. And I said to her, yeah, but you know, you’ll also feel other emotions. Like I said, have you ever really felt happy? And she said, I used to think I did, but now I don’t think I felt anything.

I was just kind of neutral. [01:07:00] And I said, I’d also find things funny. Now I said, do you find your father funny? And she said, no. And I said, well, really funny guy. So anyway, he was on Joe Rogan last Friday and you know, Joe Rogan’s podcast. And he told me, Kevin said, he said, I want every parent to understand what you do and I want to be able to help them.

And he said, but someday soon, I’m going to get on somebody’s podcast. And I’m going to be able to talk about this. And so I didn’t even know he was doing it. And his assistant contacted me and said, By the way, Kevin was on Joe Rogan yesterday. He talked about you. You’re gonna want to listen to it. So on Friday, when it came out, I listened to it.

And he went through this whole story and told it in about four or five minutes, about an hour and 20 minutes in. And Joe Rogan was blown away because he was like, what did he do now? Kevin couldn’t really explain it. He was like, ah, I don’t know. He did something with the brain. I’m not a doctor, you know?

And since then you can imagine, I mean, I’ve had [01:08:00] so many people reach out and my book has gone like through the roof and cause he mentioned disconnected kids and all of that, but. You know, the whole point is that when you look at my real research has been, you know, trying to figure out why a kid can’t speak.

This is one of the most heartbreaking things for parents. If you never heard your child’s ability, you know, voice, or if they’ve never been able to say, I love you, or you can’t even ask them, how was your day in school? Right. And they love them and they accept them. So again, acceptance is great, but I think we’ve gone too much with the acceptance in that.

It’s like, well, whatever they’re like, just accept it. But you know, if we can change it, we shouldn’t just accept it. And we can. And so one of the things that’s fascinating is we do something with a letter board where some kids that are non speaking can actually start to type out. And there’s many books and a lot of the books I’m reading, and this was the point of me going to the story.

There’s one [01:09:00] book right now called Underestimated by a father of a child who was completely non speaking and didn’t seem like they were there at all, and then they started typing on a letter board, and you realize they’re geniuses. That it all comes out. It’s unbelievable. They don’t have a life brain language delay.

They have a right brain deficit. They don’t feel their body. And what they tell us is I don’t feel my body. I don’t feel my tongue. I can’t speak because I don’t feel my body. And they, if you don’t know where your body is, you can’t control it. You can’t plan movements. This one child told us, said something that was so profound.

And this was a 12 year old boy that had never spoken. And they didn’t think he knew anything. And he came to our office and we worked with him for two weeks and he learned this RPM and the parents jumped in and did it at home. And their whole life has changed. And he’s now starting to speak. He’s not [01:10:00] frustrated.

He doesn’t bite people anymore. And he’s really much happier because he can communicate. This is a brilliant kid who could never communicate with his own family. And so he actually said something. He said, you know, I don’t know what my own voice sounds like. So I use somebody else’s voice to talk in my head.

That’s a question. If you never spoke, would you talk in your own head to yourself? And would you. If you never heard it. And he answered and he said, but this is really cool. You have to tell Dr. Melillo, I heard something today and I think it was my own voice. And then later on that day, he said to his parents, he typed out, I heard my voice for the, for my own voice for the first time today, I mean, that’s incredibly profound and it’s important because.

If you want to change that, if you want to help them speak, you can even give them [01:11:00] ways to communicate, but you have to change that right brain and really dampen their left. And everybody else is directed towards looking at their left brain. And it’s a mistake and they don’t change it. And they assume that you can’t change it.

And for parents, if there’s anybody out there that has a non speaking kid, this is really profound because this has been. You know, what I really looked at and I really believe right now that we’re the only ones that know this, like nobody else understands this and it’s, you know, really the results we get are reflective of that because you know, this is how you change it.

Melissa: Wow. You’re amazing and your books are amazing. And you are gearing up to release the third edition of Disconnected Kids. Everyone needs to go out and get this book and read it. I’m going to link to it in the show notes. This is such a huge achievement, like [01:12:00] releasing the third edition of this book. And I’m just so excited for you.

There’s so many new updates. I’m really excited about that. But now I would love to dive in to a rapid fire round. Are you ready? Ready. Okay. Okay. What is one thing that we can all do today for our 

Dr. Robert Melillo: health? Move. Move. There’s nothing more important than moving. Exercise and movement is the number one thing for your brain and for your body.

There’s nothing more important than movement. It feels 

Melissa: so good. Like, if there’s a day where I don’t move, I feel depressed. 

Dr. Robert Melillo: And the biggest problem with technology and what’s a problem today with society, Is we don’t move anymore. We just sit in front of our computers in front of our technology. Kids don’t go outside anymore.

They don’t ride their bikes anymore. You know, we don’t move enough and that is a big problem. I mean, even if you could, when I do a lot of these things, I put it on a treadmill and I walk slowly on [01:13:00] my treadmill, just very slowly, one to two miles an hour, and that alone, after an hour of a call, you know, I’ve walked two or three miles and it’s.

You know, just simply doing things. You don’t have to just sit in front of a computer, just stand even, but move. 

Melissa: Yes. Yep. You will have noticed me standing and sitting and then standing and then sitting and then standing and sitting. So yeah, I’m all for the movement every day. Absolutely. Okay. Next one.

What is one thing that we can do in our life for more wealth? So more abundance in all areas of 

Dr. Robert Melillo: our life. You have to have a goal and have a vision and create a plan. You know, so many people, I work with so many people on how to help create a business or, you know, be able to create, you know, abundance in their life in many areas and, you know, the number one thing is people don’t know how to really set goals.

And how to create a plan to get them. They just [01:14:00] wish for things. They just sit back and hope. And they don’t realize that also there’s a part of your brain that is about goal setting. Some people try to set goals, but they can’t because their brain literally won’t allow them to, or they can’t pursue it. I think the single number one skill that you can develop is just persistence.

It’s a very simple thing, but it’s hard for most people. And I, I’d have to say if there’s one trait that I have, that I’ve developed over the years is that like, if I set a goal, there is no way I’m going to stop until I get it. And I don’t know how long that may take, but I never give up. And it’s also because I get a very clear vision in my mind of what I want to see, what I want.

And I have very specific numbers and I create a detailed plan and I look at it on a regular basis. You know, you wouldn’t start a business without a business plan, but yet most people have no written plan for their life. I mean, [01:15:00] then you’re just hoping, right? You’re just hoping and the way our brain works and the way life works is whatever you focus on, you get, whatever your focus is on a consistent basis, that’s what shows up in your life.

Our brain is wired and the right brain is wired first and foremost to look for danger and to look out for what we fear most. So if we do nothing, our brain will automatically, as soon as we wake up, we’ll go to our fears and then we’ll focus on our fears. And you bring that into your life, you have to actively inhibit that by engaging the left brain, which is what set goals and what gives you persistence and motivation and you have to actively, you know, create a really exciting vision.

So then when you wake up, you think of that vision and you don’t think of your fears and you literally or you get up and you read it and it negates those fears. [01:16:00] And then you draw your vision to that and that becomes your focus and that is what shows up in your life. And if you do that, there is literally nothing you cannot do in your life.

And I’ve seen it with myself, with my kid. You know, my, my daughter is a singer songwriter and you know, when she was six years old, I taught her how to do this. We sat in her bed and we talked about what she wanted to do in life. And it was fun. She loved it. And she was just dreaming. She was a kid dreaming and she dreamed about.

You know, doing things. And I took her to a concert here on long Island and big concert, 15, 000 people. And she saw Britney Spears and she was six years old and she was already singing all the time. And she came home and she said, daddy, this changed my life. And I said, how? She said, that’s what I want to do.

I want to sing like that on that stage. And she said, if you’ll help me like set my goals and things like, if you’ll help me, I’ll do whatever you, you ask me to do. So we sat on a bed one day and we talked about it. [01:17:00] This summer, she opened for Jack Zach Brown Band on that stage. Oh, 

Melissa: I got goosebumps. 

Dr. Robert Melillo: You can imagine what that felt like, right?

And they interviewed her before it and they said she was on the stage and they said, what does it feel like? And she said, I’ve been here a million times. I’ve seen it. I’ve written it. Right. Because I’ve taught her to do that early on. And you know, she’s in Nashville and Zach Brown produced her album and she’s got, she’s going to be on spot.

She’s on Spotify, Ellis Malillo, ELIS. She’s got a new song coming out. That’s going to be unbelievable. It’s But that’s just an example of, you know, and this is a personal example in my life, and this is the thing, you know, this is where you need to be the example for your kids and then they will follow that and then they will pursue their dreams and they, and you teach them to really be able to do anything that they want.

And you know, that for [01:18:00] me is the greatest reward as a parent. 

Melissa: Absolutely. Oh, I love this so much. Yeah. I am a huge believer in setting goals and knowing where you’re going. It’s so important. My husband and I, we set goals together. We have goals individually. It’s so important. He actually, when he was really little, probably six, would hide under his bedsheets with a flashlight and an old school cassette player.

Listening to cassette tapes of jazz music, like big band jazz music. And he wasn’t hiding. Like he just liked being under there and like having a little cubby house. And he would listen to these incredible jazz musicians. Now he went on to be one of the best saxophonists in Australia. And he is now a singer, songwriter, a solo artist.

He’s had millions and millions of streams on Spotify. And like it all started back then, you [01:19:00] know, back then. So I am such a big believer in this. I absolutely love this and go and check out Nick Broadhurst on Spotify as well and listen to some of his music. But this has been such a delight. I’ve got one final rapid fire.

This is definitely not been rapid fire, but it’s all good. This has been gold. What is one thing that we can do for more love in our life? One thing we can do today. 

Dr. Robert Melillo: You know, to me, that’s a pretty simple answer is give love, you know, you can’t sit back and wait for somebody to love you. You have to do it again.

You have to be what you want to be. You become what you believe you have to be the person that also, you know, that will be loved. You have to allow yourself to be loved. You have to love yourself, which really means, you know, really pushing yourself to become the best version of you. You know, again, I, when I’m in an audience and I’m in with doctors and maybe some of the top people in the [01:20:00] healthcare field, one of the things I asked them is how many people in this audience.

Have had the experience. Like they have a personal relationship with somebody who really was great, like world class of what they did. Just like you described your husband, one of the best in the world. And I say, how many of you have had a personal experience? Like, you know, somebody like that and in an audience of like really high functioning people, a hundred doctors, they’ll maybe be five or 10 people that raised their hand at the most.

And then I usually say to them of those, how many of it was a family member? And that’s maybe one or two. And then often I asked them, who was it? And rarely, but once in a while, they’ll say it was my father or it was my mother. And I think back and I say, people say, well, why do I have to try so hard? Why do I have to be great?

Can’t I just be [01:21:00] average? You know, and I say, yeah, you can do whatever you want, but the reward is. Would you like to be the person that someday your child is sitting in an audience and something like somebody like me asked them who really influenced you, who were your influences? Did you know anybody that was great or world class and they raised their hand and say it was my mother or my father or both, right?

To me, that’s worth trying, that’s worth making an effort for, that’s working, and that’s pushing yourself, pushing yourself. Outside of your comfort zone, really every day. And it really becomes where you live and you become comfortable with that. So for me, you know, I think it’s really important that you become that type of person.

And that you give everything of yourself. It’s like saying, well, I’m not going to love you until you love me. It doesn’t work that way. 

Melissa: No, absolutely not. Oh, you are making me so emotional because [01:22:00] like, that’s one of my biggest goals in life is like, I want to be that person for my daughter. I want her to be like, my mom was my biggest inspiration.

She walked her talk. She was happy. She taught me about gratitude. She taught me about inner peace and contentment and chasing my dreams and going after what’s important to me. Like I want my daughter to say those things about me. So if I want that. I have to embody that myself. I have to live that every single day because she is watching and she is learning by observing me every single day.

So I feel like having children is like the best personal development ever because it has been. Forced me to rise, to embody, to stand in my truth. And so I love it. And it’s like, you can’t hide because they’re always there. I can’t really like have days where I’m [01:23:00] just like, I don’t want to be motivated anymore.

Like she’s there watching. And of course I have moments where I feel like that. She’s there. She’s watching. And like, she’s calling me to rise to the best version of myself every single day. So. I love this so much. Is there anything else, Robert, that you want to share? Any last parting words of wisdom or anything that you wanted to touch on 

Dr. Robert Melillo: before we go?

Uh, no, I think we’ve covered a lot here for people and I think we’ve really, you’ve done a great job and obviously your mom, if she’s still around, is probably incredibly proud of you. Like I am incredibly proud of all of my children. All of them are doing that and living their dreams. And, you know, and, and I would even give more credit to my wife.

My wife is an amazing, unbelievable person. We’ve been married for 35 years this year. And she is, if you look at the artwork in my house, it’s all my wife and my kids. And, you know, it’s, you know, it’s really, again, it’s, no one does [01:24:00] anything alone. And you are, I’m sure your mom and your dad are so proud of you.

And I’m sure your kids, you are embodying it. You are that person and I’m just grateful that I got to spend this time with you and thank you very much. And I hope that this resonates with some people out there and that we get to help more people. 

Melissa: Yeah, absolutely. Like I said before, everyone, please get Disconnected Kids.

Read it. Please read it. Then pass it on to one of your friends, one of your mama friends or a father friend. Just pass this book on because it is a game changer. Go and follow Robert on Instagram. It’s just game changing information. So thank you for all that you do, for all the amazing work, all the kids, all the parents, all the families that you are helping.

I have one final question. You are helping and serving so many people. How can I and the listeners give back and serve you today? Today [01:25:00] 

Dr. Robert Melillo: really just kind of, you know, like you said, investigate what I say. Don’t just trust what I say. Look into it. But also then just let other people share it and, you know, really go out there and do things and, you know, go to my Instagram, my wife and I have a web series, I don’t know if you know that, that is number one on this network called your home TV, it’s called disconnected kids, reconnected families.

And it’s where my wife and I go into homes of people and help them with. Their child and they’re struggling. And, you know, that is, we have over 3 million views in 10 months. People can share that, you know, just share a lot of this knowledge, share this podcast. You know, share that information with people and just spread the word.

That’s the only thing I can ask for people. That’s how you can give back to me is by allowing me to help me give to more people. Yes, 

Melissa: absolutely. And we’ll link to that series as well in the show notes, as well as your website, everything. One more question. How old are your kids now? 

Dr. Robert Melillo: [01:26:00] 29, 30 and 33. 

Melissa: Beautiful.

Oh, I love that. Three kids. It’s just so amazing. 

Dr. Robert Melillo: My son, my son is a doctor who’s in the office with me and works every day with the kids and he loves it. And he was a bit on the autism spectrum himself when he was a kid and my son, my older son, one that started me on this journey is an incredible artist, builder.

You know, doing amazing things with, you know, eco friendly building. And so just amazing kids. 

Melissa: Amazing. Well, thank you so much for all the work you do for sharing so generously with us today. It’s been such a treat to spend time with you and I am just so grateful for all the work you’re doing. So thank you so much.

Dr. Robert Melillo: My pleasure. Thank you.

Melissa: Mind blowing, right? I am. So excited that you just got that information [01:27:00] into your brain and you can now integrate that into your family and you can help spread the message. So I hope you got a lot out of this episode and if you did, please subscribe to the show and leave me a review on Apple podcast because that means that we can inspire and educate even more people together.

And it also means that all of my episodes will pop up in your feed so that you never have to go searching for a new episode. Now please come and tell me on Instagram at Melissa Rambrosini what you got from this episode. I absolutely love hearing from you and I cannot wait to hear your biggest key takeaway from this episode.

So please jump on over there and come and share it with me right now. And before I go, I just wanted to say thank you so much for being here. For wanting to be the best, the healthiest and the happiest version of yourself and for showing up today for you, you. Now if there’s someone in your life that you can think of that would really benefit from this episode, [01:28:00] please, please, please share it with them right now.

I think every single human being on this earth can benefit from this episode, so please share it with them right now. You can take a screenshot, share it on your social media, email it to them, text it to them. Do whatever you’ve got to do to get this in your partner’s, your friend’s, your family’s ears, whoever’s ears.

Get it in their ears because it is game changing information for our children, right? And for us too. So I hope you got a lot out of this. And until next time, don’t forget that love is sexy, healthy is liberating, and wealthy isn’t a dirty word.

Thank you so much for listening. I’m so honored that you’re here and would be SO grateful if you could leave me a review on Apple podcasts, that way we can inspire and educate even more people together.

P.S. If you’re looking for a high-impact marketing opportunity for your business and are interested in becoming a sponsor for The Melissa Ambrosini Show podcast, please email pr@melissaambrosini.com for more information.

P.P.S. Please seek advice from a qualified holistic practitioner before starting any new health practice.

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