Posts tagged ‘ADD children’

Hope is Most Valuable Commodity for Parents of ADHD Children

Hope…not patience, not financial resources, and not perseverance, is the most important thing parents of children with ADHD (ADD) need to have. While the other assets (among several) are valuable, albeit essential to these parents, maintaining hope for their children’s condition to improve is the most essential ingredient for this wish to come true.  The critical thing to remember when considering this asset is that it exists on a sliding scale.  At the bottom of that scale is hopelessness, which means giving up.

The hope parents have for their children’s condition to improve is both fortunately, and unfortunately, not fixed.  This is a good thing if hope is sliding up the scale and increasing, and a bad thing if it is sliding down and a parent is losing hope and in danger of giving it (hope) up completely.  It is also important for parents (and grandparents, etc.) to realize that losing hope is something that one is often not proud of, and so it may be hidden, both from one’s self and/or other concerned persons.  Gaining or losing hope is also contagious, and likewise one needs to be aware of its status and encourage it in the right direction, guarding it carefully.

Hope springs naturally from a happy and healthy heart (as human beings, this can vary according to life’s trials), and from other places such as spirituality, the encouragement of friends and professionals, and faith in one’s resourcefulness, among others.  The reasons for losing hope are often listening to the wrong people (however well intentioned) both professional and non-professional (this can include teachers and doctors), overwork and fatigue (though this seems simple, it’s the culprit in much of our “giving up”), and feeling that you have no options.

Often persons who we figure should know what they are talking about, actually don’t.  Some people with lots of experience working with children and being good at fixing other problems (doctors, teachers, grandparents, friends with children with similar problems) do not actually understand sufficiently this disorder and the treatment options. Unless someone’s specialization is ADHD, you are going to be getting inadequate or inappropriate advice.

As ADHD in frequently hereditary, many parents of children with ADHD who never got the right help, think that nothing can be done, and give up.  Some of the same type of parents go the opposite way and steadfastly refuse to accept this handicap for this children.

A great many parents are afraid (with good reason) of the many side effects that can occur with medication, and seeing no way out, become hopeless too.  This is a big mistake. There is an alternative to accepting the limitations that ADHD forces on their children, and the serious side effects that frequently come with medication. There is a treatment called neurofeedback which is free of side effects and the rigors of medication, and in one set of treatments can free their children of these significant limitations.

Neurofeedback is a type of biofeedback that utilizes EEG to provide information on brain signaling activity and allows for re-training that lasts for life.  This  form of treatment mitigates the symptoms of ADHD in a beneficial and side-effect-free manner by re-focusing the thought processes of brain. 

Timing of the treatment is important too.  If it is possible, it is a good idea to begin the treatment before the end of the school year so the child can experience some of the improvements involved in the school setting.  Once again, it is critical that parents maintain and guard their hope by obtaining the correct (by a specialist in ADHD) consultation and, if necessary, treatment.

May 15, 2012 at 1:01 am Leave a comment

The Neurology of Attention or Inattention (ADHD)

There are many different ways in which the underlying neurology, or physiological causes of ADHD can be described.  There are many good articles that delve into the underlying neurological structures involved in this disorder, or that discuss the role of various neurotransmitters and receptor sites.  However, I feel that the way we all can best relate to the causes of ADHD is to think of it in terms of inter-related functions of the brain.  Or, put another way, discussing how the brain goes about doing certain things, and where ADHD interferes with that.

The first or “gateway” function of the brain, from moment to moment, is to monitor our surroundings.  That is how it keeps us safe.  Our senses detect characteristics of our environment (touch, taste, smell, sound, and sight) and brings them into our brain.  This is called sensory function.  From there, our brain processes or identifies theses sensory inputs.  This is called sensory processing and it is how we know what is going on around us.

Once our brain knows what is happening around or to us- whether it is the numbers on a page, the words someone is saying, or a movement we detect, etc.- another set of functions begins.  These functions are “executive” functions, in which our brain decides first, which of all the things it is aware of, both externally (sensory processing) and internally (memory, emotion, analyzing, etc.) is the most important at the moment.  Secondly, the brain will then minimize our awareness of the non-important things and maximize our awareness of the non-important things and maximize our awareness of the most important thing.  Essentially, this is how we focus or pay attention.

ADHD interferes with this process in a critical way.  As we have seen, the process of paying attention involves several functions.  The “executive” functions cannot take place until sensory processing or identification has taken place.  With the inattentive form of ADHD, there is a delay in sensory processing.  This delay is in terms of milliseconds; however, it is signficant enough that it, in turn, delays the executive functions.  This delay in deciding which “thing” in the environment is the most important causes the brain (in order to “keep us safe”) to spread our attention across a number of things.  Unfortunately, this results in a deficit of attention on the things we should be attending to.

Many parents avoid testing for and/or treating ADHD because they fear what they think are the unavoidable side effects and rigors of medication.  By utilizing a treatment called neurofeedback, a child or adult can re-teach the sensory functions of the brain, including processing, to ameliorate the disorder.  Neurofeedback is a painless and effective process, where there is no side effects and no maintainance or re-training is needed after treatment is completed.  It allows for focus, task completion, organization, and a variety of other symptoms to be controlled and become the way they should be.  Please feel free to contact Alta Neuro-Imaging for additional information in regards to neurofeedback, or to set up a consultation with Dr. Ferrari at his Orange County facility.

March 30, 2011 at 10:38 pm Leave a comment

The Joy of Homework

Ideally (and I do mean ideally) homework should be a time (and not too long of a time) for a child to practice skills learned in the classroom, share with their parents what they are learning, show off their new abilities, and gain confidence in themselves. It can and should be a positive, affirming experience for all involved.

However, for many children and parents, it is quite often the opposite (if it gets completed at all). For them it can be “evening-killing” stressful, conflict-filled, prolonged period of frustration, failure, and blame. It is often a confidence-shattering time for the child, which erodes the positive bond between parent and child (not to mention that between the parents), and is disrupting to the whole family dynamic.

For these children, just getting the assignment written down and the correct books in the book bag to go home may be a daunting task. Papers invariably get lost, either on the way home or going back to school, where they may or may not get turned in at all (this is particularly exasperating after all the work it took to get it done). If by some miracle everything necessary to do the homework makes it home, the energy it takes to recall the instructions, understand the assignment, and complete the task may prove to be too much.

Furthermore, the learning required to do the task in the first place may not have happened in the classroom. The same issue that is causing the problem at home may be short-circuiting the learning process at school, but we’ll talk more about that in a minute.

For parents who come home from work tired themselves, or for homemakers who never get away, the last thing they want to do is jump into this task (who wants to do third grade again?), and so, the avoidance and blame game ensue. Finally, because the origin of these problems for the child is often genetic, the same traits may be present in one or more of the parents, further multiplying the problems.

When this scenario is present, there is a good chance that the underlying problem is ADD or ADHD (Attention Deficit Disorder). This is a relatively minor disorder, which, was we have just seen, can have far reaching, serious effects on a child, a parent, and a family. Many parents avoid considering or testing for this cause because they, understandably, fear the necessity of drugging their child.

Fortunately, there is a highly successful alternative to this scenario. Neurofeedback is an effective, drug-free, painless procedure in which the child learns to retrain the attention mechanisms of their brain, alleviating the condition. Once training is completed, no further treatment is necessary.

As all the above-mentioned factors can make the problem worse with each passing year, it is imperative to have your child, or a child you know has or you suspect of having ADD (ADHD), evaluated and/or treated as soon as possible.

To request information on the treatment of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD, ADHD), Mild to Moderate Autism Spectrum Disorders, Sleep Disorders, Chronic Depression, Chronic Anxiety, and Peak Performance Training contact:

Dr. Stephen A. Ferrari
Alta Neuro-Imaging Neurofeedback
1075 Yorba Place
Suite 105
Placentia, CA 92870
714.990.6536
Website: www.ocbiofeedback.com

October 21, 2009 at 3:13 pm Leave a comment

“Back to School”…..Back to the Grind or a “Crossroads” for children with ADD?

With the end of school last year, and possibly some tutoring, summer school, or “best wishes” you may have thought that this school year would be different. For some families this may be true, but if you are starting to get “that sinking feeling” that although there may be a new teacher or maybe even a new school, the same old problems of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity (homework struggles, poor grades, behavior problems) are beginning again, you may be wondering “what in the world can I do? ”

Wouldn’t it be nice if “back to school” was a good experience that made your child more confident, happier and competent? Wouldn’t it be nice if “back to school” meant a time to for you and he or she to feel more fulfilled, and not a return more battles and struggles? Wouldn’t it be nice if “ back to school” meant a great improvement for them, for the school year and for their lifetime?

Children (and their families) with ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) struggle under a unique handicap. It is a neurological disorder that, untreated, greatly disrupts family dynamics and typically persists throughout life, creating difficulties both in school and later on in the work place and in relationships.

The severity of ADD a person has typically remains the same over time, however it often seems to get worse over the years. This occurs for three important reasons. First, as each advancing school year increases in the intellectual and behavioral demands it makes on the student, the attention and /or behavior problems caused by this disorder become more and more apparent.

Secondly, each school year builds on the foundation of the preceding years. If a child’s attention and/or behavioral problems interfere with the learning of this foundational material, it becomes increasingly difficult, each year, to master the required material. Tutoring may help, however that learning is also hampered by this disorder, and it is often a catch-up effort that never quite manages to sufficiently fill the gap.

Finally, and in some ways most importantly, is the matter of self-image. The child who suffers under these deficits usually forms a self-image of being “not too smart” (the opposite is true, most children with ADD have a higher than average intelligence) and/or a “trouble-maker”. Children (as well as adults) have a tendency to “act out of“ or to fulfill their self-image. The longer they live under that self-image, the stronger it becomes, and performance and behavior often deteriorate accordingly.

Wouldn’t it be nice if this cycle could be stopped?… Well, it can be. By successfully treating this disorder, this downward cycle can be stopped and reversed.

One method of treatment is Neurofeedback, an effective, drug free, painless procedure in which the child learns to re-train the attention mechanisms of their brain, alleviating the condition. Once training is completed, no further treatment is necessary.

As all of the above-mentioned factors can make the problem worse with each passing year, it is imperative to have your child, or a child you know has or is suspected of having ADD, evaluated and/or treated as soon as possible.

“Back to school”…Back to the grind, or…Which path will you take?

To request information on the treatment of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD, ADHD), Mild to Moderate Autism Spectrum Disorders, Sleep Disorders, Chronic Depression, Chronic Anxiety, and Peak Performance Training contact:

Dr. Stephen A. Ferrari
Alta Neuro-Imaging Neurofeedback
1075 Yorba Place
Suite 105
Placentia, CA 92870
714.990.6536
Website: www.ocbiofeedback.com

September 24, 2009 at 9:27 pm Leave a comment

Parents… Of ADHD Children

Almost everything written about ADHD (ADD) in children is, understandably, about the problems of children with this disorder.  There is, however, another significant problem associated with ADHD in children (aside from the fact that ADHD, often being genetic, may also reside in one or both parents).  That problem is the ramifications of the disorder to the parents and family of the child with ADHD.

The types of problems faced depend on the type of ADHD involved.  There are three sub-types of ADHD:  Primarily Inattentive, Hyperactive-Impulsive, and Combined.  Whichever the type, however, these problems run the gamut (or should I say “the gauntlet”) from;  parents losing their much needed evening’s rest and relaxation due to “homework wars”, the child’s unnecessary fighting with siblings and parents, calls and notes sent home from the teacher/principal…to; fights with spouse over how to manage the problems, not enough time spent with the other children, constantly cleaning up after them, fighting to get them out of the house in the morning and into bed a night!  And then weekends are always fun too (or not!) 

On top of all this, lies the parent’s worry for the academic and social success of their child, and his or her happiness and self-esteem.

Let’s look at a couple of typical scenarios, and see if they describe scenes in your home.  It’s homework time (if that hasn’t been given up entirely).  We begin with a struggle to understand (guess) what needs to be done, and to see if the materials have actually been brought home.  Then the lucky parent gets to try to manage the distraction filled (real and imaginary), excuse ridden, stop and start, struggle.  All the while trying to attend to the other kids, prepare dinner, answer the phone, and not go crazy.  Then, the other parent may arrive home, which, in a way, starts the process all over again.  Everyone gets tired, tempers flare, fingers get pointed, feelings get hurt, people give up (on themselves, and the process).

Another sad scenario is the parents’s discussion amongst themselves about the problem.  Some parents deny that there is a problem.  This is often, but not always, a father’s position.  Dads typically are quicker to deny that there is anything wrong with their child.  I know this not only professionally, but also as a father myself.  Whether it’s because we see our children so much as an extension of ourselves (and we’re perfect, aren’t we?), or for some other reason, this position misses the problem (and any hope for solving it) and results in more finger pointing, hurt feelings, and giving up.

Sound familiar?…  Unfortunately, even when the real problem is recognized, parents often understandably resist testing and treatment due to the fear of medication, with its frequent side effects and rigors.  There is, fortunately, an alternative to this scenario.

Neurofeedback is a highly effective, drug free, safe, non-invasive and painless procedure in which the child this area of the brain, correcting the problem.  Once training is complete, no further treatment is necessary.

 To request information on the treatment of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD, ADHD), Mild to Moderate Autism Spectrum Disorders, Sleep Disorders, Chronic Depression, Chronic Anxiety, and Peak Performance Training contact:

Dr. Stephen A. Ferrari
Alta Neuro-Imaging Neurofeedback
1075 Yorba Place
Suite 105
Placentia, CA 92870
714.990.6536
Website: www.ocbiofeedback.com

 

 

June 29, 2009 at 11:20 pm Leave a comment

Teenagers and ADHD

Attention Deficit/Hyperactiity Disorder is behind lots of problems for those who struggle with it, as well as for their parents and families. For most of these individuals, and their uninformed parents, they can lose sight of the fact that these problems are caused by the disorder, and not an indication of their true personality, desires, or abilities.  In fact, most individuals with ADHD (ADD) have a higher than average I.Q., though they usually have significant difficulty expressing it fully.  This results in the blaming of themselves (and not the disorder), and causes lowered self-esteem, hopelessness, anxiety, and depression.   

For a teenager, with their heightened (over?) sense of self consciousness and perhaps self doubt, these negative feelings can be overwhelming to both the teenager and their parents.  The following are some frightening statistics that bring into focus the serious problems confronting these teenagers and their parents.     

  *Teenagers with ADHD have 400% more traffic accidents and traffic tickets than teen without ADHD. 

   *Twice as many teens with this disorder will run away from home (about 32%) than teens without ADHD. 

    *As many as 50% of the teenagers in juvenile detention facilities have untreated ADHD. 

     *Teens with untreated ADHD are three times more likely to be arrested for arson (16%) as those without ADHD. 

     *Teenagers with untreated ADHD are ten times more likely to get pregnant, or cause a pregnancy, than those without the disorder. 

    *Teens untreated for ADHD are 400% more likely to contract a sexually transmitted disease than those without ADHD. 

    *Teens untreated for ADHD will average two arrests by the age of 18. 

   *Approximately 20% of teenagers with untreated ADHD will be arrested for a felony. 

In addition to the above, teenagers with ADHD suffer from increased amounts of anxiety, a sense of being overwhelmed, and depression.  Depression can look very different in teens from its appearance in adults.  Since as many as 25% of teenagers with ADHD suffer from depression, let’s take a moment to describe it.  Teenagers with depression can be anti-social and overly negative.  Sometimes he or she may stop caring about personal appearance, and there may be an increased sensitivity to being loved (unloved?) and accepted.  There may also be the more usual signs of adult depression. 

It is critical to a teenager with ADHD that the disorder be treated properly to avoid these pitfalls, and allow them to experience success and gain confidence.  Unfortunately, many parents avoid testing for and treating this disorder because they fear the rigors and side effects of medication.  There is however a very successful alternative to this scenario.  Neurofeedback is a highly effective, drug free, safe, non-invasive and painless procedure in which the patient learns to retrain the brain, correcting the problem.  Once training is complete, no further treatment is necessary. 

To request information on the treatment of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD, ADHD), Mild to Moderate Autism Spectrum Disorders, Sleep Disorders, Chronic Depression, Chronic Anxiety, and Peak Performance Training contact:

Dr. Stephen A. Ferrari
Alta Neuro-Imaging Neurofeedback
1075 Yorba Place
Suite 105
Placentia, CA 92870
714.990.6536
Website: www.ocbiofeedback.com

March 19, 2009 at 12:40 am 2 comments

Homework…and the ADHD Child

Simply put, homework is supposed to be like this.  At a certain time, the child sits down and completes their assignments, with a reasonable degree of success, in a timely fashion, and perhaps with some interaction with their parent(s).  The purpose of homework is to allow the child further opportunities to independently master their coursework, and perhaps allow the parent to become involved in what is happening for their child at school.
 
Unfortunately, with a child who has ADHD, the experience and outcome can be quite different.  After much cajoling, and struggle the parent gets the child to begin their homework. Then ensues a multiple hours long battle, involving countless distractions, struggles (and phone calls?) to understand material and directions which unfortunately, the inattentive child did not get straight in class, and outbursts of frustration and anger from both parties.  The outcome of this homework session is (along with hopefully some learning), exhaustion, hurt feelings, distrust, lowered self-esteem, and anger.  Sound familiar…?
 
This damaging experience actually begins at school.  Often the ADHD child has extra homework added on because of work uncompleted in class, and/or as punishment for poor behavior or inattention.  By the time they get home they are frustrated, tired and stressed.  Mom and/or Dad may be feeling this way too (they have their own struggles).  When the “getting started” battle is finally over, parents often find that the child is behind in assignments (again?), hasn’t written down directions properly, and doesn’t know how to do the work (want to repeat fifth grade?)  What’s very important to understand, and correct this scenario, is that with the ADHD child, they cannot stop this from happening, it’s part of the uncorrected disorder.  However, often teachers, other students, and parents lose site of this, and blame the child.  The result is a child who feels very badly about themselves, and gives up, or rebels, or both.
 
These daily episodes are very damaging to family dynamics.  In addition to the harm done to the parent-child relationship, there are other significant consequences.  Other children’s needs go unattended (not to mention the parent’s), important tasks around the house go undone (dinner anyone?), and last, but definitely not least, the parent’s own relationship suffers as blaming, overwork, and loss of quality time together are also casualties.
 
Remember what we said homework was for and was supposed to be like in the first paragraph?  The homework experience with the ADHD child is not any kind of “Building Up”…it is a “Tearing Down” experience.
 
Fortunately, this can be changed, without the side-effects and rigors of medication.  Neurofeedback is an effective, drug free, painless procedure in which the child learns to retrain the attention mechanisms of their brain, alleviating the condition.  Once training is completed, no further treatment is necessary.

Dr. Stephen A. Ferrari
Alta Neuro-Imaging Neurofeedback
1075 Yorba Place
Suite 105
Placentia, CA 92870
714.990.6536
Website: www.ocbiofeedback.com

October 21, 2008 at 1:19 am 2 comments


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