We began to see Michelle in February 2014. At that time our 8 year old daughter was immensely struggling in her ability to wear and change her cloths appropriately which in turn induced anxiety. We dealt with daily morning meltdowns to get her dressed despite our interventions of jumping, brushing, massaging, etc. In turn she was often late to school and ended up wearing the same set of clothes because she was not able to cope getting on anything new. At this time our daughter was only able to tolerate wearing the same pair of pants, shirt and sandals or soft/fluffy lined boots everyday. By the end of spring she was changing her shirts on a daily basis and wearing underwear, shorts and tennis shoes (without socks). She was able to get dressed without any meltdowns. If something did not work for her she was able to work through it to find something else that would work for that particular day, sometimes still needing interventions. By the end of November she was changing her underwear, pants, shirt, tennis shoes with socks on a consistent basis without any meltdowns or interventions. Her anxiety level and ability to cope greatly improved. Our daughter is a much happier girl! When you ask her on a scale of 1-10 what her sensory discomfort is (1 being not noticeable and 10 being extremely noticeable) she would say 3 or 4, it’s barely noticeable any more! Michelle worked with our daughter on a weekly basis. She made every visit fun and enjoyable but yet challenging. Our daughter looked forward to every visit. Michelle helped her learn to cope with her anxiety, coached her on what type of clothes to choose, set goals for her to achieve, listened to her and befriended her. Our last day with her was a sad day indeed….but also a day of celebration for our daughter’s accomplishments. Michelle will always have a special place in our hearts.”
“Our 7 year old daughter had a tough school year last year in the 1st grade. She encountered several challenges which hindered her academic success. We later discovered that her 1st grade teacher was verbally abusive towards her which damaged her self-esteem and her grades took a turn for the worse. She lacked confidence and began to act out aggressively. We noticed that she only exhibited this behavior at school and not at home so my husband and I decided to get her evaluated by her pediatrician. She diagnosed my daughter with ADHD and prescribed medication twice but the side effects of both drugs escalated her behavior. We took her to a psychologist who believed that our daughter was misdiagnosed and did not have ADHD. We stopped administering the drug immediately. It was a horrible experience but my daughter passed to the 2nd grade.
I enrolled my daughter in another school that had a great reputation for academics as well as wonderful faculty and staff who genuinely cared about the children. The first three days of school were great then my daughter began to exhibit aggression again. We could not figure out what was going on. We felt that changing her environment would eliminate the problems she had in the past but her past experience prevented her from trusting others. I began to search for a specialist to get a second opinion on what was going on. There was not a specialist near our home so we decided to search statewide. God lead us to Dr. Harris-Britt at AHB Center in Durham, NC. The office was an hour and a half away from our residence but we did not care. We needed assistance for our child as soon as possible. We took her there in September 2013 for evaluation. Dr. Harris-Britt and her staff were superb. She gave us top notch service. She listened with compassion and ensured me that they would help my daughter. I cried with joy and thanks to God that he had lead us to Dr. Harris-Britt. The results were shocking. It was discovered that my daughter scored average for her age academically, however, there were some developmental delays present that we were not aware of. She informed us that doctor visits will be necessary for at least 2 times a week. Although we did not live in the area, we did not mind travelling because we felt assured that AHB center was the place for us.
Dr. Harris-Britt referred me to Michelle Byars, a developmental therapist in her office to assist my daughter. Michelle was nothing less than phenomenal! She not only helped my daughter improve developmental skills twice a week but it also increased her confidence level. Michelle was kind, understanding and one of the most pleasant therapists that I have ever met. My daughter no longer exhibit aggressive behavior and can complete her work with confidence. She is headed to 3rd grade still with some things to work on but I am confident that she will excel thanks to God, Dr. Harris-Britt, and Michelle Byars.”
L.B. – Parent
“I have 2 children. My daughter was diagnosed with dyslexia and my son was diagnosed with Autism. We began going to AHB Behavioral and Wellness Center over a year ago. After my children were diagnosed we met Michelle. She began therapy sessions for each of my children. She has been teaching my daughter techniques to help with her dyslexia. She has been working on her balance and coordination. With Michelle’s and Dr. Britt’s help, Caroline has gone from a student who made C’s and D’s to an A and B student.
Michelle has really helped my son as well with his social, behavioral and cognitive skills. Michelle has also helped hime with issues such as dressing himself, toileting issues and other personal hygiene care. We still have challenges but not on a daily basis anymore. She’s made this a fun learning experience for our son.
She’s really helped us as well. She’s shared exercises that both children can work on while they are at home. These exercises really help them, and when they go back to see Michelle they want to show her what they are able to do. We are so blessed and grateful to her as a therapist for our children’s developmental needs. We are also thankful to all of the therapists at AHB that work with my children. We just recently saw a Neurologist and he said that we were going to the best facility in the State. That was very impressive to us and made me proud to know that we were at a great facility.”
I am a proud and grateful parent of two clients of Michelle Byars.”
B.P .- Parent
“Our five year old son has been working with Ms. Michelle for about 8 months now. He was referred to developmental therapy for a movement assessment to determine if he was exhibiting developmental immaturity. To us he was a typical, rambunctious 5 year old little boy, but Ms. Michelle pointed out development concerns that that we could not see. She was very informative and explained everything in detail about his therapy plan and even suggested different in-home exercises that would help. Since he has been working with her we have seen improvement in his balance and coordination, focus and social skills. He loves to come to his appointments and he refers to her as “The Fun Doctor”. Move to Grow is working for us!”
BV.P. – Parent
“Michelle has worked with my daughter under very tight time constraints and the work always gets done. Michelle is amazing with special needs kids. She is able to engage them in ways that others can not. The “work” always felt more like playtime. This allowed my daughter to progress to levels that before seemed impossible for us to attain. Her personality isn’t the only thing that’s stellar. Michelle’s knowledgable about the neurological issues that her clients are facing enable her to design activities and gauge progress with a sharp clinical eye. My family has benefited so much by Michelle’s talents and we will continue to rely on her for addressing my daughter’s therapeutic needs.”
C.N. – Parent
“I just wanted to put on paper my / our feelings for you. If you could measure our gratitude, love and thankfulness for you it would reach heaven. Before we found you, our lives, but especially a precious seven year old, were in the deepest despair. We thought his behavior would cause him to be institutionalized for life. The severe trauma he experienced early rendered him unable to communicate normally or learn in school. This was still going on after 32 psychoactive drugs, 5 psychiatrists, 2 hospitalizations (psych), and two “reeducation schools”. Everyone threw in the towel and said they didn’t know the answers and didn’t have hope.
In seven months with you, he is off all meds, he attends school, by himself for 5 hours. He is reading, writing and doing math. He is able to control his reactions & making friends with peers. You have turned a world upside down for 5 years right side up in 7 months.
You are a blessing.”
“Over the past year I have seem dramatic improvement in my 6yr old son. His ability to self regulate and focus has hugely increased. Before we started developmental therapy with Michelle he did not have the knowledge and understanding to calm himself down in a stressful or anxiety state. He has learned to use breathing techniques as well as mind body control exercises to get him through his day to day encounters. He is a much happier kid and is able to participate in activities at school and home that he was otherwise not capable of doing.
For example there was a school play for his kindergarten class and if you didn’t already know him you never would have guessed he had severe ADHD. His ability to follow directions, stay on queue and not get distracted was unbelievable. Not only was I so proud of him but he was so proud of himself! You could see his confidence building right in front of your eyes, it brought us to tears of joy!”
J.J. – Parent
“Michelle is an amazing person and colleague. I have never seen anyone work so well with children with developmental disorders. Her patience, kindness, ingenuity, enthusiasm and compassion were boundless. She always had a smile on her face and was able to make others feel important, with every achievement big and small. She contributed to every staff meeting with innovative approaches to helping meet children where they are. She spent countless hours creating individualized plans to help each and every child. She is extremely passionate about integrating body and mind and helping children reach their full potential. She continues to improve her education by attending professional lectures, conferences and taking classes. There is no one I can more highly recommend than Michelle. She will change your child’s life!”
Logan Collins, M.A. Adult development lab manager, NC State
Michelle’s ability to organize, communicate and attend to the children’s needs has been the most passionate I have seen. She has a gift for communication and was able to build rapport with our younger clients. It was a pleasure to watch Michelle as a role model and motivator to preschool and elementary students. She had great perception of each individual’s capabilities, and was able help facilitate growth through suggestion and activity setup. She showed compassion for each child’s struggles, but never gave them an excuse to attain less than their full potential.
Brian Hummel, MS, OTR/L
S.W – Parent of Student
“WE as as a family would like to say that your are a funny, concerned, connected yoga teacher. Whenever my son gets stressed i say “use your yoga breathing that Miss Michelle taught you” this calms him down every time. He loved yoga with you .. you are creative and kind, so connected with the kids. They love you, we love you!”
J. T. – Parent of Student
“I am really enjoying the Yoga that you’re teaching. My favorite pose is dog pose. Doing the tight rope was fun, too. I told my mom all about you and she was wondering if she knows you. I think you are the best Yoga teacher ever!”
Claire – Elementary School Student