Tag Archives: children

Is There an Alternative to Treating ADHD?

More and more children (and adults) are beingDistracted Student in Classroom diagnosed with ADD/ADHD. It is common, especially in this country, to treat conditions with medication. What happens when medicine doesn’t work or one prefers another option?

In an article found on PRWEB.com, entitled, Neurofeedback Training Offers New Paths for Treating Children with ADHD, the American Academy of Pediatrics states that “(neurofeedback offers the) same level of efficacy as medication.” It’s good to know there are alternatives.

relaxedThe article gives an example of a 10 year old girl who is diagnosed with ADHD. She was distractible and had difficulty completing tasks and doing her homework. With neurofeedback, she was able to successfully learn how to calm herself down and develop self regulation and become more focused.

I have seen tremendous results in treating both children and adults diagnosed with ADHD with neurofeedback. One of my clients wrote a testimonial about the efficacy of neurofeedback and both she and her son were able to decrease and eventually eliminate medication. To read the testimonial by JK, click here.

If you would like to learn more about neurofeedback and and how it can help with ADHD, feel free to contact me. I look forward to hearing from you.

What is Neurofeedback and How Does it Work?

Mike Cohen of the Center for Brain Training in Florida created an amazing video that explains what neurofeedback (NF) is and how it works. A lot of what Mike says about NF in his video has been my experience as well.

Mike explains, that for children, NF is commonly used for “ADHD, emotional and behavioral issues, learning and development delays and struggles in school. For adults, it’s generally used for anxiety, depression, obsessing and sleep problems. I love when Mike says, “With NF, the brain changes itself.” That’s exactly what happens. We use the tools that we already have in order to become better. Here’s Mike’s video.

 

The video also addresses the fact that yes, NF helps with problems, but it also helps with performance. Valdeane Brown, Ph.D., is the Founder, Director and President of the Zengar Institute and the creator of the system that I use, NeurOptimal®. He is an avid golf player. Shortly after taking up the game, Val was rated the most improved player. He believes this is due to his ability to return to the present moment and allow his brain to do what it had being learning to do- via NF trainings. He said that swinging the club just right, to get the ball to go just where he wanted it to go, was no easy task. Val found that with his own game (and the games of the athletes whom he trains) he was able to be in the game and not in his head. What a wonderful metaphor. To be able to concentrate on any task and not be stuck in one’s head, is a much easier (and more productive) way to go through life. Here’s a video of Val discussing golf and NeurOptimal®.

Much of what Mike discusses in his video is similar to my experience with NF but there are also some differences. The differences are in the systems that we use. With Mike’s system (and most NF systems), certain parts of the brain are being stimulated, while other parts are hindered. This can create side effects. With NeurOptimal®, the brain is simply interacting adaptively with itself moment by moment, not striving to produce “more” of some frequency and “less” of another according to an outside “expert”. Additionally, Mike uses tests to find out what is “wrong with the client.” With NeurOptimal®, there is no need for outside tests to “diagnose what’s wrong” or “what the central nervous system (CNS) needs”. You can simply allow the CNS to receive the pure information about itself — untainted by the beliefs of the trainer — and the brain organizes on its own. This is what the CNS is designed to do and NeurOptimal® is designed to rely on this inherent intelligence of the brain. As a result, the NeurOptimal® process is perfectly, effortlessly, natural. And this is true no matter what the problem is — even if there was a significant developmental delay or injury as far back as birth or even earlier. Every brain has the potential to optimize itself, if given the right information.

For more information about how NeurOptimal® can help you, feel free to contact me.

When Adopting Is It Better To Use An Attorney Or An Agency?

As an adoption consultant, I am frequently asked which is better, an agency or an attorney? My answer is always the same; it depends on the client, the agency and the attorney. If the goal is to adopt a child from a Hague approved country, one generally needs to work with a Hague approved agency. If one wants to adopt quickly and domestically, an attorney is generally the preferred option.

There are benefits to working with both. Couple with Chinese babyThere are other adoption agencies that are licensed, accredited and Hague approved but they may not, for example, have social workers to write home studies or educational programs for the prospective parents. These types of agencies are the most common but I generally do not refer clients to them unless they partner with a full service agency. It would be too complicated otherwise.

Just as there are many different kinds of adoption agencies, there are many different kinds of adoption attorneys. Since the Hague Treaty on Adoption, most adoption attorneys do not assist with international adoptions but they do help to facilitate domestic Adoptedadoptions. Adoption attorneys are experts in the intricacies of adoption laws that vary from state to state and even county to county. Their goal is to make sure that everything is legal and seamless for their clients. Many are able to complete an adoption faster than an agency because they are paid to represent a smaller case load- therefore, they can be more expensive than an agency. Their services generally do not include the home study, which is always a requirement. Most do not offer emotional support or education services around becoming a family through adoption.

There are many options when choosing to adopt via an agency or an attorney.adopt tee The most important thing is to learn as much as you can. The web is filled with a great deal of information. A lot of it is helpful, a lot is not. It’s also advantageous to speak with people who have adopted. Finally, try to find a confidant; someone with whom you feel comfortable discussing the ups and downs of the adoption process. This person can be a therapist, an independent adoption consultant, a friend, a parent, someone within the adoption community or a co-worker. If you can, find someone who can be objective and willing to listen and make suggestions. A lot will come up for you during every stage of the process. Try to find someone, in addition to your partner (if you are adopting as a couple), with whom you can explore all that comes up for you so that you can feel supported and confident.

If you would like to discuss adoption or have any questions about it, please feel free to contact me. I would like to help you better understand what you need to know in order to have a successful adoption.

The Not-So-Hidden Cause Behind the A.D.H.D. Epidemic

Maggie Koerth-Baker wrote an article in the New York Times Magazine section this week entitled, The Not So Hidden Cause Behind the A.D.H.D. Epidemic. 

images-2Recently people who were prescribed low dose, generic medications, used to treat A.D.H.D., found that the drugs they used to were hard to find.  Because the number of diagnoses of A.D.D./A.D.H.D. (Attention Deficit Disorder/Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) has increased in both children and adults, the demand was greater than the supply. Ms. Koerth-Baker writes:

“Between the fall of 2011 and the spring of 2012, people across the United States suddenly found themselves unable to get their hands on A.D.H.D. medication. Low-dose generics were particularly in short supply.” Koerth-Baker goes on to write, “The number of diagnoses of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder has ballooned over the past few decades. Before the early 1990s, fewer than 5 percent of school-age kids were thought to have A.D.H.D. Earlier this year, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that 11 percent of children ages 4 to 17 had at some point received the diagnosis — and that doesn’t even include first-time diagnoses in adults.”

UnknownThe article mentions that rates of A.D.D./A.D.H.D. vary not only by state but by country as well. A study that compares the number of children with the diagnosis in this country as compared to those in Britain, shows that “In 2003, when nearly 8 percent of American kids had been given a diagnosis of A.D.H.D., only about 2 percent of children in Britain had. According to the British National Health Service, the estimate of kids affected by A.D.H.D. there is now as high as 5 percent.”

images-3Peter Conrad who is a leading researcher in the spread of A.D.H.D. diagnosis rates, believes that the difference lies in the definition. In this country, we use the D.S.M. (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders). In Europe, the I.C.D. (International Classification of Diseases) is used and their guidelines are “much stricter” for diagnoses.

Another reason for the increased diagnosis in children from this country is due to the fact that “American childhood drastically changed. Even at the grade-school level, kids now have more homework, less recess and a lot less unstructured free time to relax and play.” When kids are unable to move their bodies or use their brains to play and not work, they are unable to relax and thrive. One way to help kids do this, is to allow more time for unstructured amusements, including making art- painting, drawing, imagining, etc…

images-4Another way to calm over stimulated minds and bodies so that they can grow and flourish is by having neurofeedback training. The system I use, NeurOptimal®, trains the brain to be more flexible and to perform optimally. To learn more about NeurOptimal®, click on the link. To discuss how neurofeedback can help you or your child feel calmer, more focused and relaxed, contact me, here.

Traumatic Brain Injuries in Teens Are More Common Than We Think

A recent study from Canada, by Dr. Gabriela Ilie, shows that one in five students suffer from concussions fragile growing brain(the most common form of traumatic brain injuries). That is a staggeringly large population. The paper goes on to note that this one of the first studies to focus on traumatic brain injuries (TBI) in adolescents. The story source was found in JAMA.

The incidence of TBI is more common than was assumed, as head injuries are not always reported. It seems common that teens will hurt their heads during a sporting event or simply from playing sports injury to headand falling but adults do not always seek medical attention for them. Perhaps the student feels better quickly and tells the adults that they are making too much of the situation and perhaps the adult erroneously thinks that the child is fine. If the child seems better, why would the adult take the child to the doctor or worse a hospital where the wait can seem endless? Hopefully, studies like these will have greater influence on the reactions of the adults.

The problem is that concussions can have long-term effects. The adolescent brain is still developing and the risk of another concussion seems to be more probable than it is for those who have images-1not had a TBI in the past. Successive concussions can create problems including, “lasting cognitive impairment, substance use, mental health and physical health harms. But, Traumatic brain injury is preventable,” said Dr. Ilie. “If we know who is more vulnerable, when and how these injuries are occurring, we can talk to students, coaches, and parents about it. We can take preventive action and find viable solutions to reduce their occurrence and long-term effects.”

One of the many wonderful ways that neurofeedback can help is in the treating of TBI. In an article called, Neurofeedback Treatment for Traumatic Brain Injury, by D. Corydon Hammond, Ph. D., ECNS, QEEG-D, BCIA-EED; he writes that “Neurofeedback research has documented its value in the treatment of a variety of symptoms relevant to a brain injury population, including seizures, memory, concentration and attention, unstable mood, impulsiveness, anxiety, depression, sleep issues, and even anosmia and physical balance. Preliminary research on neurofeedback treatment of TBI is very encouraging, but certainly more rigorous research is needed. child receiving nfThe accumulating work on neurofeedback led Frank H. Duffy, M.D., a Professor and Pediatric Neurologist at Harvard Medical School, to state in an editorial in the January 2000 issue of the journal Clinical Electroencephalography that scholarly literature now suggests that neurofeedback “should play a major therapeutic role in many difficult areas. In my opinion, if any medication had demonstrated such a wide spectrum of efficacy it would be universally accepted and widely used: (p. v). “It is a field to be taken seriously by all” (p. vii).”

To learn more about neurofeedback and how it can help with traumatic brain injuries, contact me.

Children’s Fears and How We Can Help

Unforeseeable disruptions to regular life can be explaining to childrenfrightening, especially for children. It’s difficult enough to explain to adults why tornados happen but try telling a child. Try explaining a job loss or the end of a relationship to an adult. Intellectually we may understand but it’s still complicated. And children do not yet possess the same intellectual capacity as adults.

TornadoMonday’s tragedy in Oklahoma affected not one but two elementary schools. School, like home, is supposed to be a safe place. As I write this article, there are 24 deaths, including 10 children. That’s a lot of information for anyone, adult or child, to wrap his/her head around.

As residents of this small town begin to literally pick up the pieces from Monday’s ruin, they will try to understand how to continue living their lives. Eventually, most will learn a new way to live and they will adapt to their tragedy.

There are, unfortunately, times in children’s lives when they may experience unwelcome disruptions to their routine. There could be a natural disaster, such as a tornado or the divorce of a child’s parents. The following are just four suggestions about what we as adults can do to help children deal with fears:

 1. Express:

Encourage children to talk about their feelings. expressionIf they’re too young and/or don’t have the vocabulary yet, let them express themselves through drawing or playing. Have them show you how they feel. Support their feelings and try not to minimize their fears.

 2. Visualize:

grandma's armsRemind children that they are loved and although bad things happen, most of the time, they don’t. Help them to think about a place that makes them feel safe. Maybe it’s in grandma’s living room or it could be in your arms. Help your child to imagine that safe place and the feeling that comes from being in that safe place. Let them know that when they feel scared, they can always think about that place and feel safe.

 3. Consult:

If you’ve tried many ways to help your child feel safe and nothing seems to work- consult with a therapist who works with children. Licensed therapists who have experience working with children, are often able to get at the root of the child’s fears and offer suggestions that a parent may be unable to see. Most parents just want their children to be safe, happy and healthy. A child specialist wants these things too but they are less attached to the child than a parent and can therefore see the entire picture.

 4. Neurofeedback:     childtherapist

One of the amazing things that NeurOptimal, the type of neurofeedback training that I use does, is to help children (and adults) no longer fixate on a fear or an unpleasant thought. Whether there is a real or a perceived trauma, it is common for us to focus all of our attention there. Neurofeedback helps us become unstuck. The thoughts and obsessions that we’re used to focusing on, no longer have as much power after training. To learn more about neurofeedback, take a look at my website.

Most children (and adults) have fears. The power that we give to these fears effects how quickly children are able to move past them. The next time your child expresses a concern, notice how you respond. You may see that you already have these tools in place. If you don’t or you want some help, let me know.