“If parents believe in their children’s hearts then neurofeedback will work for them”
– Luigi, age 8
For many children, the month of September has it’s own meaning. It signals back to school and can bring excitement, freshness, and sometimes fear or dread. The latter feelings are often true for children with ADHD; they have had difficulty in school, usually with grades, behavior and, at times, relationships. For them, a new school year signals insecurity and doubt. These children do not lack intelligence. Contrarily, children with ADHD are often very smart and creative. They become stressed when they would like to please their parents and teachers and perform well, but symptoms interfere with their ability to control their inattention and impulsivity.
*Jeanine called me about her 8 year old son *Luigi, searching for a way to help him and alleviate his symptoms of ADHD in a holistic way. Luigi came into my office as an eager participant. He was overjoyed to hear that he had the potential to be calmer and more focused and, better yet, that he wouldn’t have to do anything to achieve results. He could enjoy his favorite movie during sessions as the brain training took place.
After 7 sessions the results were already evident. Jeanine happily reported: “This is the best thing that’s ever happened to him because he is more focused and confident. He analyzes things more now and considers cause and effect… now he knows there are circumstances and he won’t do that (behavior) because he’d rather get the reward. The biggest change I’ve seen is that he’s more confident and positive. Children with ADHD need a confidence boost.” About his relationships, she commented: “I see him interacting with other kids. It seems less about attention now and more about a mutual, equal relationship. The after-school teacher is also saying he seems more social and confident in his interactions.”
His teachers also took notice of Luigi’s new ability to focus and finish his work. Not only were adults aware of Luigi’s shifts, but tests were showing his progress as well. He scored within the top ten percentile in his grade on a recent test.
His occupational therapist also noticed the changes. His handwriting improved drastically, he was tolerating more frustration and the therapist has even started to decrease sessions.
A surprising effect for his mom was that Luigi’s drawings have become more detailed; stick figures become prominent characters with a shape, form and title. This change is noted elsewhere in training children as illustrated in the book “Neurofeedback for Developmental Disabilities.”
Child's drawing from the book "Neurofeedback for Developmental Disabilities"
One heartwarming effect Jeanine reported: Luigi was paying more attention to his younger siblings and taking on the role of the “elder” brother. She noticed while on a family stroll on the Coney Island boardwalk that he had taken his little brother’s hand because it was “necessary.” Overall, Luigi is more buoyant, less anxious and less frustrated. Having read this article, he wanted to add his own review of his experience. He states, “if the parents believe in their children’s heart, (he feels neurofeedback) would work for them too.”
When parents learn that their child is diagnosed with ADHD, it can be a daunting process to navigate the healthcare system and school system to find the best combination of help. The good news is neurofeedback is a new and effective support. Luigi is not finished with his training, but as September approaches he and his mother are looking forward to a fresh school year with his new found resources.
* Names changed for confidentiality purposes
WATCH VIDEO: Luigi 2 years later after doing neurofeedback training