Neurofeedback: A beautiful story in a child’s life

submitted by Dr. Maria DiDonato, D.Ed. Psychologist, Achievement & Wellness Center, www.achievewell.net

Jonathan (not his real name), a shy sixth grader, had difficulty just being in the school environment. His stress was so intense, he became overwhelmed and was unable to finish class work.

At recess, he often paced anxiously. Other children stressed him, and he had difficulty socially. He frequently visited the nurse with physical complaints.

By spring, his difficulties at school were so severe, he was placed on in-home instruction. Even though he was capable of learning, school was not a happy or successful place for him. 

As part of his diagnostic intake, Jonathan had a Quantitative Electroencephalogram (QEEG). Among other issues, Jonathan was diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome. The QEEG identified areas where brain wave imbalances were occurring.

Jonathan began neurofeedback while he was on in-home instruction and continued twice weekly through the summer.

By the time school began, his behavior had improved considerably and he was ready to go back to school.  During a re-entry meeting with the school staff, his doctor advised that Jonathan would continue to make progress.

Her suggestions for handling any residual stress and anxiety behavior at school were helpful and Jonathan continued to gain control and make satisfactory progress as the year progressed. His behaviors were normalizing, he appeared happier, began making friends, and his parents were encouraged by the progress.

Jonathan’s treatment continued for a few years, and he was able to competitively enter high school. At that point, he was graduated from neurofeedback.

He continued to progress satisfactorily through high school and graduated with acceptance as a freshman into a doctoral program at college.

Jonathan’s life was significantly and permanently improved with neurofeedback. He and his parents are commended for their commitment to his success.

Neurofeedback continues to change lives and help individuals achieve success.

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ADHD: No challenge for neurofeedback

submitted by Dr. Maria DiDonato, D.Ed. Psychologist, Achievement & Wellness Center, www.achievewell.net

Ryan (not his real name), a teenager, was taking stimulant medication for 6½ years. He wanted to discontinue the medication, but his parents were concerned and reluctant.

After learning about neurofeedback, they agreed to bring him into the office for an evaluation.

A behavioral observation report from parents indicated high percentages of attention problems and hyperactive behaviors. He was demonstrating oppositional behaviors that included being argumentative, refusing to follow directions and “losing his temper.”

Some facial and head tics bothered him as well. Homework completion was also an issue.

Even though Ryan was unhappy with the medication, his parents were unsure of the effects or benefits of other options.

They agreed to a full evaluation which included ADHD tests and a quantitative electroencephalogram (QEEG). The latter provided information about his brain waves compared to normal teenagers his age. The results of the evaluation gave insight as to the extent of his ADHD and also the brain wave activity that was most consistent with the problem behaviors.

A treatment plan was developed, which Ryan has been following for six months. The attention problem, hyperactivity and oppositional behaviors have reduced considerably. Additionally, he is becoming more independent with his homework.

His doctor has agreed to discontinue the medication, making Ryan very happy.

Ryan’s tics are greatly reduced and he seems more cheerful and pleasant.  Parents are noticing that he is less demanding and less defiant.

Ryan will have to continue with neurofeedback that involves gradually spacing out his sessions, and weaning him off until his brain activity is independent and more balanced. By using a system of rewards and reinforcers for positive brain wave activity, neurofeedback is an effective treatment for ADHD and related behavioral problems.

Individuals can expect lasting and positive changes.

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Achievement & Wellness Center

submitted by Dr. Maria DiDonato, D.Ed. Psychologist, Achievement & Wellness Center, www.achievewell.net

High school was a rough ride for Roberta (not her real name); life was an emotional roller coaster. Grades at school were always in an up and down cycle, and emotional difficulties kept her off balance with friends.

Home life was a constant struggle. It seemed all areas of life were an enormous challenge, and it was difficult to sustain any equilibrium or stability for more than a week or so.

Medication helped somewhat, but was not effective in maintaining a happy lifestyle. Tears punctuated daily life and flowed frequently, as frustrations affected every area of her life.  After graduation, she watched sadly as friends made plans to go to college.

Where was her future? She wondered if she had any, which added to her tears. She was becoming more lonely watching everyone else move on with their lives, while she struggled with finding her interests.

After learning about neurofeedback, Roberta agreed to an initial free consultation. Encouraged by the effect, she agreed to continue the treatments. Gradually, as she began to improve, her tears lessened, her mood swings became less severe, and she began talking about career goals.

After seeing improvement in her coping skills, her doctor agreed to lower the medication dosage.  It was a pleasure to see her smile more and think more positively about herself and her future.  She enrolled in some courses at the community college with specific career goals.

She is moving forward with her life and loving it. Roberta remains committed to neurofeedback and the stability she is achieving in her life.

She now has the confidence to look forward to a brighter, more independent future.

Neurofeedback is a type of biofeedback that helps restore brain balance in many disorders, including depression and anxiety, often reducing or eliminating the need for medications. 

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Back on track with neurofeedback

submitted by Dr. Maria DiDonato, D.Ed. Psychologist, Achievement & Wellness Center, www.achievewell.net

Davey is a very sweet six-year-old boy who came for neurofeedback treatment because of behavioral and academic problems. His mother’s concern was that he was not progressing as well as his younger brother. He seemed to always be struggling socially with communicating and academically with several readiness skills.

Mother expressed frustration because Davey was not making much progress despite consultations with the available resources.  Struggling with the academics at school and behaviors at home and school interfered with his learning progress and social development.

We set a course of remediation after a psychological evaluation and a quantitative electroencephalogram (QEEG). Mother followed through with our specific recommendations for a specialist and the child study team at school. Information from the QEEG indicated several areas of neurofeedback therapy needed in order to remediate emotional and behavioral components of Davey’s difficulties.

During the initial six-month course of neurofeedback treatment, Davey improved behaviorally and emotionally both at home and school. He began improving communication with others and making academic progress at school.

As neurofeedback treatment progresses, the next area will focus on remediating specific areas of learning disability which can help him improve and maintain satisfactory academic achievement.  When Davey is finished treatment, it is expected that his typical behaviors will be more age appropriate.

He will be happier and academic skills will continue to progress at grade level.

Neurofeedback works by improving brain function in areas that influence behavioral, emotional and functional skills. By identifying, reinforcing and rewarding the brain waves and neural pathways, brain activity improves.

As a result, skills improve, emotions become more balanced and overall well-being is achieved. 

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Neurofeedback: A real balancing act

submitted by Dr. Maria DiDonato, D.Ed. Psychologist, Achievement & Wellness Center, www.achievewell.net

Lois (not her real name) struggled academically and hardly could remember enough information to pass tests since elementary school.  She struggled with putting in long hours of studying, leaving very little time for enjoying herself with favorite activities.

Her parents were coaching in her studies; however, watching her struggle was a hardship for them.   Because of their frustration, they were referred for evaluation.  Following a quantitative electroencephalogram, areas of processing deficits were identified.

Lois began treatment and gradually was able to succeed with tests and was happier with her satisfactory school progress.  Later, during the time of treatment, she began to experience periods of depressed mood, sadness and irritability.  A treatment plan for depressed mood was the next step.

Gradually, her depression diminished and her irritability lessened.  While in treatment, she gradually became more independent with longer and longer periods of calmness.  She participated often at school events and enjoyed a rewarding high school experience.

Making satisfactory academic progress slowly became a routine and painless experience for her.  She was blossoming and happily making plans for college.

After successfully graduating from high school, Lois went off to college feeling more confident about herself and her abilities.  She was able to begin new studies and work successfully towards her career goals.

School is more enjoyable, she is happier and her future looks much brighter.  She is making progress in college, and has a more balanced approach to studying with a much happier outlook on life.

This young lady is accomplishing much, thanks to neurofeedback helping her to overcome any deficits she may have had. 

Neurofeedback is a type of biofeedback that helps balance brain activity to allow individuals to tap into and use their brain power more effectively. 

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