“Can I improve my child’s attention without giving him drugs?” Thousands of parents ask this question daily, with respect to ADD and ADHD (attention deficit disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). The answer is “yes”. Advances in neurofeedback and brain training have provided effective new approaches that can reduce dependency on stimulant medication. The Neuroscience Team of Baltimore, under directorship of Dr. Gabriel Newman, employs state-of-the-art, naturalistic methodology to treat problems in attention and memory. Ours is a three-pronged approach: a Neurofeedback boost of cognitive function, exercise of critical mind tasks, and neuromuscular integration (NMI).
How does Neurofeedback (NFB) work? NFB is a functional approach that simply goes to correcting the cognitive deficit. In EEG measures, children with impulsivity, inattention, and distractibility have less Beta brainwaves (cognitive processing), and more slow wave function (distraction, or sleep) in their frontal lobe than most other children. The frontal lobe of the brain is also known as the “Executive Lobe” because it is responsible for directing attention and for activating other parts of the brain. NFB targets the frontal lobe of the brain, and boosts its function. As patients condition their own brains to produce higher levels of activity, they generally experience improvements in ability to focus, improved memory, and a ‘state of calm’. In our protocol, the child also trains other critical sites around the head to produce calm, attentive brainwave patterns. Although response differs from patient to patient, and no individual can be guaranteed the same rate of improvement as another, our clinical experience is often that of the “wow” response, from teachers and parents of children, within a matter of a few sessions. Maintaining flexibility is also a high priority for us: when one approach is not attaining desired results, we will adapt accordingly and use alternate sites on the head, utilizing different technology, in our quest for success.
Neuromuscular integration, or NMI, operates on the assumption that we can also retrain the brain through tailor-made, computerized drilling of the skills needed for improvement, and through bodily movement, maximizing the gain from NFB and brain exercise. Depending on the difficulties each child is encountering, we design a specific program of NMI, so that we are stimulating the brain from above (NFB), from within (brain exercise), and from below (NMI).
Some of the most common questions are addressed, below.
How soon will I see improvements in my child?
Although past experience is no guarantee of future success, we usually receive feedback from parents within three or four treatments of marked improvements in behavioral symptoms and in ability to sustain or shift attention.
Will my child need these treatments for the rest of his life?
No. There would not be much gain in substituting one dependency (prescription drugs) with another (our treatments). Studies have established 20 (twenty) hours of treatment as optimal – the ‘magical line’ at which the cognitive gains “stick” (patient often obtains permanent acquisition). Some patients reach this point earlier, but there are also occasions where we continue to 30 hours, depending on the progress attained. After that, the child has usually acquired the gains permanently, and might only need a singular treatment years later, like a “booster shot”.
Does this also work for adults?
Yes, only better, and quicker. Our experience is that adults need fewer sessions to experience significant gain in skills of attention, organization and impulse control.
How soon can I expect my child to reduce or discontinue stimulant medication?
We recommend close coordination with your pediatrician or pediatric psychiatrist as the dosage is reduced, if you are considering cessation of stimulant medication. As the child’s attentive skills grow, and she develops more patience, this could definitely be considered. We rely on the parents for careful monitoring of changes, and frequent feedback to us. Wherever possible, our team will be in touch with your pediatrician to discuss this. Not all patients can totally discontinue prescription drugs – this must be evaluated on a case by case basis.
Are the treatment sessions painful, or unpleasant?
The children coming in actually enjoy their work. Sometimes we have difficulty tearing them away. What’s not to like? They’re playing games, or performing interesting tasks on computer, controlled by their minds! They totally get that this is cutting edge integration of technology and mind development. Plus, they generally come away feeling calmer and more in control, which is very rewarding.
Is it possible to identify an actual cause, and cure my child?
Many possible causes for ADD/ADHD are pointed to, including: incidents in birthing involving brief deprivation of oxygen, genetics, substances taken during pregnancy, nutritional deficiencies, and genetics. It is not curable, but the symptoms tend to abate as the child matures. In most cases, the functional approach works best – improve attention, organization and impulse control, and it will be less crucial to identify the cause.
To find out if our Team can help a member of your family, call us now:
THE NEUROSCIENCE TEAM