Dr. Stephen Conicello
Helping People Thrive by Enhancing Brain Connections
by Gisele Rinaldi Siebold
Dr. Stephen Conicello, founder of Agape Institute of Functional Health and Chiropractic located in Coatesville, understands first-hand how a disconnect between vision and the brain can negatively impact learning for children, teens and adults alike. As a young student, he was challenged by dyslexia, which affected his reading and interpretation of written material, making it difficult to complete assignments in a timely fashion.
“I studied as hard as I could for hours each day, but I was just getting by with my schoolwork,” he shares. “It was frustrating because I was a smart kid and I knew there was a disconnect somewhere but I just didn’t know how to explain it.”
As a result of post-concussion neurological assessments, Conicello began to uncover answers. “Eye movements, brainwaves, vision and learning are connected,” he says. “During my high school years, my academic class rank was in the lower percentile of my class. My eye movements and brainwaves were not working in sync with one another. Once we figured that out and I completed the therapeutic exercises, my eye muscle movements changed. This positively impacted my brain’s ability to process information. After years of struggling with learning, I graduated valedictorian with my doctorate in chiropractic from Sherman College of Chiropractic, in Spartanburg, South Carolina.”
At Agape Institute of Functional Health and Chiropractic, Conicello offers a more comprehensive vision exam using advanced, state-of-the-art, eye-tracking technology with the RightEye system. “Your two eyes and one brain must all work together to navigate the world. It’s this connection that makes up your functional vision. The exam enables us to pinpoint functional vision and brain health issues, identify the root cause of reading challenges and improve athletic performance,” he says.
“Critical dynamic visual skills, such as eye movement and hand-eye coordination, are measured in ways that a standard eye exam cannot, enabling us to find the cause and rehabilitate underlying vision issues that affect our patients’ quality of life. Brain processing and reaction time are measured against peers, amateurs and professional athletes. When a report identiﬁes opportunities for improvement, we create a customized plan from an online library of more than 150 training drills,” he explains.
“Patients may be seeking help because of challenges with dizziness, issues with learning or because they know something isn’t right, but they don’t know what it might be,” he says. Signs of functional vision problems include difficulty concentrating, rereading or skipping lines of print, short attention span, poor reading comprehension, poor coordination or balance, slow completion of work, previous brain trauma (concussions, strokes), loss of interest in reading and frequent headaches.
“It is important to me and my team that we bring attention to functional vision problems because we want to help people,” affirms Conicello. “Having headaches on a daily or weekly basis isn’t normal. We strive to help students and adults who are struggling with poor reading skills and comprehension or to improve someone’s coordination and balance. There are often underlying causes and other contributing factors that may not be visible on the surface.”
Further neurofeedback can be provided using the noninvasive ClearMind system that assesses a patient’s brainwave activity and creates a neurological map of the brain. A detailed report about whether or not the brain is connecting and processing at an optimal level helps identify affected areas of the brain that could be causing neurological or biological problems. The doctor considers the results when recommending a plan.
Conicello also understands that functional vision problems can cause anxiety for children, teens and adults. “If reading is a problem for a child or teen, it may affect them not only academically but socially as well. An adult who has a learning challenge that was never identified during childhood may still feel its negative impact at work or during daily routines. Our assessments and plans make brains work better,” he states. “We provide hope and help for chronic concussions, concussion disorder, balance issues, learning difficulties, reading problems and more.”
Agape Institute of Functional Health and Chiropractic is located in the Highlands Corporate Center at 735 Fox Chase, Ste. 100, in Coatesville. For more information, call 484-873-1777, email [email protected] or visit Agapefhc.com.