With an increase in neurological disorders, a place to go to for expert advice
At the age of five, my son knew he was different. He was diagnosed with ASD (autism spectrum disorder), at the age of three. I agonized when and how to tell him about his disability, but his own insights helped me realize it was time. He shared he just wanted to be “normal” while he sobbed in my arms.
Dr. Mark Bowers, a pediatric psychologist and clinical director at the Brighton Center for Pediatric Neurodevelopment, using kid-friendly language, explained to Connor that he has autism. My son was excited, and I was relieved. That conversation was the beginning of a strong bond between Dr. Bowers and my son.
With Dr. Bowers’ encouragement, Connor created a slideshow to share with his first-grade class which related that he has autism, and what that means. With the support of his school, family, and Dr. Bowers’ guidance, Connor was able to embrace what he calls his “superpower” and educate his peers. None of this would have been possible without the doctor’s compassion and expertise.
Cultivating unique talents
Dr. Bowers opened his Center five years ago after spending ten years practicing in Ann Arbor. As a Brighton resident and father of four, he recognized many of the families he was helping were traveling from Livingston County, so moving his practice closer to home was a “win-win.”
Specializing in neurodevelopmental diagnoses, such as autism, ADHD, brain trauma, genetic and learning disorders, Bowers sees patients ranging in age from 14 months old to the mid-20s. Many patients have been seeing him for years.
“These are kids with unbelievable talents and gifts. I want to help them share these gifts with the world, but anxiety, stress and feeling overwhelmed can get in their way. It’s my goal to help them learn how to cope.” When asked what he enjoys most about his work, he shared, “There’s a sign in my office that says ‘Do what you love and you never work a day in your life.’ I love it all. It’s fun.”
Connor agrees. When asked why he likes seeing Dr. Bowers, he said, “He’s a really awesome guy. He has a bunch of toys. He’s really awesome with kids, and he just makes you feel good.”
Providing a safe space
Through individual, family, and group therapy, Bowers has created a safe space for “quirky kids” to flourish and grow. “My mission is to help kids to achieve their social goals,” he shared. “Many of these kids simply want to have friends, feel comfortable, successful, and for people to be proud of them.”
When asked what advice he would give to others on the spectrum, Connor, now age 9, confided, “I know how you feel. Having autism is different, but just because you have autism or Asperger’s or anything that makes you different, it’s okay. We can always learn and grow.”
For more information about the Brighton Center for Pediatric Neurodevelopment, visit the website bcpn.org
or call 810-360-1110.