Posts tagged ‘Behavior’

The “End Game” at School- its importance for children with ADHD

If you have a child in your family who has, or you suspect may have ADHD (ADD), and they are not currently getting the proper help with the disorder, there is obviously a problem that needs to be fixed.  It could be that they are on medication and it is not solving all the problems, or that the side effects of the medication are causing their own set of problems, or they are causing a compliance problem, or a combination of the above. It is also possible that no treatment is engaged and parents are employing strategies to help the child cope with the disorder, instead of correcting it, and this is not doing enough for the child to realize their true potential.

Although it may be clear that a solution is needed, what may not be obvious is the importance of the “end game” of the current school year for your child. How this school year ends is of critical importance to how the next school year will start, to both your child and your child’s teacher (both this years’ and next’s). Improvement at the end of the year shapes your child’s current teacher’s decision for advancement and classroom placement for the next year. It also shapes the comments this year’s teacher will make to the new teacher about your child’s perceived (not actual!) personality, intelligence (most children with this disorder actually have a higher than average I.Q., although the disorder can make it seem the opposite), attitude, and in some cases even the parent’s skill at parenting! These comments and reports are very powerful in shaping your child’s school experience next year.

Furthermore, when a child actually experiences that school is really getting better at the end of this year, they will transfer that confidence over onto the start of next year. This makes a tremendous difference in their self-expectations and level of success for the new year to come. Both this year’s teacher’s ending perception of your child, and its effect on next year, and the confidence “carry-over” from this year to the next, is why the “end game” of this school year is so important.

The way to actually make this very important “end game” successful is to actually correct the ADHD (ADD) now at the end of this school year. The most effective way to do this, and at the same time avoid the side effects, stigma, and life-long rigors of medication is through Neurofeedback Treatment.

By utilizing a treatment called Neurofeedback, a child 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 maintenance 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 Placentia, CA office.


April 16, 2013 at 5:00 pm Leave a comment

Homework Problems… And Solutions

In my many years of experience helping children and parents with academic and behavioral problems, one of the most common issues is difficulty with homework.  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.

If homework is often a problem for a child, several confounding factors may have developed which add significantly to the problem, in a cumulative fashion.  Past assignments that need to be made up (undone or never turned in) and uncompleted class work that is sent home can add much to the burden.  Additionally, with homework being a recurring problem, your child may have developed the behaviors of “hiding” homework or being deceptive about what or when something is due.

A typical “problem homework” scenario may include some or all of these patterns. After much cajoling and struggling, the parent gets the child to begin their homework.  Then ensues in long battles that last multiple hours, involving countless distractions, struggles (and phone calls?) to understand the material and directions which unfortunately, the inattentive child did not get straight in class, and outbursts of frustration and anger occur from both parties.  The outcome of this homework session is (along with hopefully some learning), exhaustion, hurt feelings, distrust, lowered self-esteem, and anger.  Does this sound familiar…?

What’s very important to understand , and to correct this scenario, is that the child may have Attention Deficit Disorder.  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 childrens’ 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.

November 28, 2011 at 9:34 pm Leave a comment

Getting the Most Out of Parent-Teacher Conferences

Having been in the field for over 16 years, helping children and parents with school related problems, and also having worked closely with teachers, I have learned a few things about parent-teacher conferences.  Conference time is just around the corner, and for some it may already be here.  These conferences should be seen as a rich opportunity to build understanding and communication between the home and school.  Due to budget shortfalls and increasing multiculturalism, teachers are under pressure and overworked.  Many parents are also pressed for time, have lingering negative impressions from their own school years, and are apprehensive about what will be discussed during the conference, particularly if their child is struggling.  What follows are some suggestions to help make the conference go better:

After you received the notice,  schedule your conference as soon as possible within the allotted time blocks (you’ll get better choices).  Arrive on time or you’ll forfeit important parts of your allocated time frame and miss key information points.  Thank the teacher for their time.  As it does for you, appreciation goes a long way to help both you and your child.  Do not bring toddlers or babies as they are too big of a distraction.  Leave your personal problems at home, unless they directly affect your child’s school experience.

Bring prioritized questions with you to the conference, and make sure they are not already covered in the informational packets sent home.  Prior to the meeting, discuss it with your child.  Find out what they like or dislike, as well as what they struggle or excel at.  Ask the teacher what they think would make the school day go better.  Some good questions are, ” Has my child completed assignments regularly?” and “How does my child handle taking tests?”.  Other good questions may include, “Have you noticed any changes in my child’s behavior during the year?”, “What areas academically, and in terms of attitude, do they need extra help in at home?”, and “What is my child like during the day?”.

If your child is struggling academically and/or with their behavior, or if they seem isolated, you or their teacher may bring this issue up (which is a good thing to talk about).  As parents, we can often be defensive and in denial to these problems, and their possible causes.  Remember, both you and teacher are there as your child’s advocates.  Be open to this discussion, as it can only help your child.  Often these problems are caused by ADHD (Attention Deficit with/without Hyperactivity Disorder) or other learning disabilities.  Many parents, believing that medication is the only treatment for this disorder, avoid the appropriate testing and/or treatment because they understandably fear the side effects and rigors associated with the medication.  There is, however, an effective alternative to this scenario.

One alternative method to medication is Neurofeedback, 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. 

For additional information pertaining to Neurofeedback therapy for ADHD or various other disorders, please contact the director of the Alta Neuro-Imaging: Orange County, CA location.

October 14, 2011 at 1:49 am 1 comment

Students Who Can Really Benefit From Help at the Start of the School Year

As a psychologist specializing in helping students improve their academic and behavioral experience in school for over 16 years, I have come to identify certain types of students who benefit the most from specialized types of help.  These are students that can make big time improvements at the start of the academic year.

The first type is the student who struggles significantly with homework (which icnreases in amount and  difficulty each year).  This is usually a problem with attention span, task completion, and/or organization.  Problems such as homework taking too long, not being completed, not being turned in, or not being brought home, all fall into this category.

A second type is the child who has to work too hard to get what success they can.  Poor grades and difficulty with testing are typical for this child.  These are children who often can do OK when the work  is done “one-on-one”, but are too distracted in group settings such as the classroom or group activity.

The third type is the student who has significant difficulties with his or her behavior.  They may be getting into trouble frequently, and as a result may even be getting blamed for things that they don’t do.  This behavior may make it hard to make friends (or the right kind of friends) and lead to feelings of isolation.  They can often be held in or punished at recess (further isolation), and may begin to believe that they are troublemakers, or “bad” kids.  The resulting damage to self esteem from this, and the other above patterns, can shape self-fulfilling self-images that are very sad to see develop.

Unfortunately, it may be difficult for parents to see these problems.  They may feel that these problems for their child are “not that bad” or “I had the same problems when I was a child” (do we really want them to carry the same burdens?), or “they will probably grow out of it.”  As parents, we need to be proactive regarding our children’s challenges and protect them for these obstacles, they will learn how to treat themselves from how we treat them with their difficulties.

As we mentioned earlier, many of these difficulties are caused by aptitude deficiencies whihc are quite correctable.  Many of the students with these difficulties suffer from Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD/ADHD), either diagnosed or undiagnosed.  Proper testing and/or treatment of this disorder are critical for these children’s well being.  Many parents also resist testing and treatment because they fear the side effects and rigor of what they believe is the only treatment: medication. This is, unfortunately, still a popular misconception.

Fortunately, there is an alternative to this scenario.  Neurofeedback is a proven, effective, drug and side effect free procedure in which the individual retrains the attention mechanisms of the brain, alleviating the condition.  Once treatment is complete, no further training is necessary.

If you would like more information about Neurofeedback, please contact Dr. Ferrari at his Southern California office, Alta Neuro-Imaging Neurofeedback.

September 15, 2011 at 12:24 am Leave a comment

Children with ADHD Often Rejected by Peers

Enjoyable and healthy peer relationships are essential for a child’s normal development .  A child’s peer relationships have also been found to be an important predictor of adult success and fulfillment in their social relationships and occupation.  Difficulty in finding friends leads to feelings of low self-esteem, and this in turn worsens the other problems a child with ADHD may be encountering: academic difficulty, behavior problems in class, and a variety of problems at home.  In addition, children with poor social skills are at increased risk for delinquency and school drop-out. 

The child with ADHD often lacks the ability to learn the social skills that are essential to succeed in life.  These children may become socially inept, and their lack of interpersonal skills can cause them many important difficulties.  For a child, positive relationships with friends is an essential component of a happy childhood, and furthermore, provides a critical buffer against stress and helps to protect them from psychological and psychiatric  problems.  ADHD children can lack these positive interactions and thus are at risk for a number of emotional problems.  Approximately 65% of these children suffer from peer rejection, and are less likely to be chosen as seatmates, activity partners, and best friends. 

As these children grow older, these problems seem to get worse.  Inappropriate behavior, or simply difficulty in connecting, and the resulting sadness, hopelessness, and resignation can lead to further social rejection.  As adults, they often have difficulty finding and maintaining successful careers.  Relationships and familial matters usually suffer significantly as well.  Problems with the law are much higher for these individuals too.  Approximately 70% of the inmates in California penal institutions have been diagnosed with ADHD.         

 Causes of Rejection

It is difficult to determine all the factors that make a child unpopular.  There are three sub-types of ADHD: inattentive, impulsive-hyperactive, and the combined form (a combination of the previous two).  There are subtle social cues people exchange when interacting, such as tone of voice, the look in one’s eyes, and posture.  When there is a deficit of attention, these subtle cues are missed, and the inattentive child doesn’t know to adjust their behavior appropriately to make and keep a good connection with the person they’re relating to.  Inattentive children become bored more easily and may become disruptive to the class, and have a hard time adjusting their behavior as situations change in the classroom.   They may also be less “tuned in” to activities and games, and this limits participation, on which social connections are made.

Children with the impulsive-hyperactive and combined forms of ADHD often behave inappropriately and/or aggressively, they may engage in more fighting and interrupting of others.  They are more likely to want to dominate play, run, yell, tease and make rough physical contact inappropriately.  These behaviors can make others uncomfortable, and set up a process of peer rejection.  Furthermore, these children will often attract other children with similar behavior, and they may reinforce each other’s bad behavior, making the problems worse.


Unfortunately, some parents will not get their children the help they need and deserve.  Many parents deny the possibility of their child having ADHD, and the need for testing and treatment, because they understandably fear the rigors and side-effects of medication. 

An alternative method to medication is Neurofeedback, 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. 

For additional information pertaining to Neurofeedback therapy for ADHD or various other disorders, please contact the director of the Alta Neuro-Imaging Orange county, CA location.

November 24, 2010 at 1:52 am Leave a comment

EEG Biofeedback or Neurofeedback for ADD/ADHD

Neurofeedback, also known as EEG Biofeedback, is a form of treatment for Attention Deficit Disorder-ADD/ADHD, which is a highly effective alternative to drugs. The underlying cause of this disorder is a misalignment, in terms of speed, between two brain activities, which need to work together for proper focus, and/or impulsivity-hyperactivity control. Approximately 85% of the individuals with this disorder are capable of retraining this part of the brain.

This part of the brain will hold whatever adjustments it learns to make permanently. Therefore, for individuals who are good candidates (85%) for this form of treatment, and who complete the treatment, the problem will be corrected for life. Neurofeedback treatment for ADD/ADHD typically consists of thirty, 30-minute sessions. A minimum of one session per week is necessary, and all the work is done at our facility (there are no exercises or drills that need to be completed at home).

Individuals vary as to how many sessions per week they are capable of. Some can only do one per week, which is perfectly acceptable, there are always many patients which work at this pace and their results are good. Most patients are capable of 2-3 sessions per week. The impact of the number of sessions per week an individual does is twofold. The first is naturally the amount of time it takes to complete treatment. Once a week takes approximately seven and a half months, while three times a week, for example, takes approximately two and a half months. Secondly, since “real-life” improvement is taking place as the individual is going through the treatment, the number of sessions per week the individual is doing will determine the speed of improvement. For most of us, the faster life is improving, the more motivated we are to work hard at what is making that happen. Therefore, there is a psychological advantage in terms of motivation, in doing more sessions per week.

The improvements to be gained are life altering. There are three types of Attention Deficit Disorder; Primarily Inattentive, Hyperactive-Impulsive, and the Combined form. For children this can mean significantly improved grades, greatly improved homework sessions, and much better behavior. For adults, the improvements usually translate into significant improvement in workplace performance, better relationships and parenting abilities, and a more relaxed and enjoyable lifestyle.

Incidentally, there are also other condition/disorders that neurofeedback is very effective at treating. Among these are High-functioning Autism Spectrum Disorders, Sleep Disorders, Chronic Depression, Chronic Anxiety, Stress Management, and Peak Performance Training (improved workplace, athletic, or academic performance).

Neurofeedback is an effective, drug free, painless procedure in which the individual learns to retrain the attention and/or impulse control mechanisms of the brain, alleviating the condition. Once training is completed, 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

December 22, 2009 at 1:17 am Leave a comment

Return of School Problems for ADHD Children?

I was speaking with the mother of several school age children recently (one with ADHD), and she gave voice to a feeling I suspect many mothers have. “The kids are back in school, Thank God; I love my kids-but I need a little time at home alone to regroup…….. The kids are back in school. Oh my God! We’re going to start having all those school struggles with Alex again!” Does this sound familiar?

Many parents may have felt optimistic that with summer school, some tutoring, or because it’s a new year and the child is older, that this year would be an entirely new experience. Unfortunately, for most kids with ADHD, this is not the case. Individuals with ADHD have a unique handicap. It is a neurological disorder that, if untreated, will usually persist throughout life, typically creating significant difficulties in school, the workplace, and in relationships.

The classroom environment- with its particular emphasis on organization, schedules, and assignments, long periods of desk work, and emphasis on writing and math- are usually places where children with ADHD have significant difficulty. Furthermore, they take longer to complete in-class and homework assignments. They can quickly become overwhelmed, rebellious, and discouraged, and can “turn off” to the idea of learning.

Some children with ADHD also have behavior difficulties and/or may become isolated, or have difficulty forming friendships. These problems, combined with the aforementioned performance difficulties, often add up to the child developing a self-image of being “not to smart” (tragically incorrect, most people with ADHD have a higher than average intelligence), and/or being a “trouble-maker”. Unfortunately, as we all tend to live out our self-images, the longer this is allowed to exist, the stronger and greater the problems become. It is therefore critical to correct this situation immediately.


The solution to this problem is to correct the disorder.Many parents, unfortunately, deny the existence of the disorder, or choose to not get help for their child because they fear the side effects, and rigors of medication (life-long treatment).There is, however, an alternative to this scenario.Neurofeedback is a highly effective, drug free, safe, non-invasive and painless procedure in which the student learns to correct the problem.Once training is complete, no further treatment is necessary.

Dr. Stephen A. Ferrari
Alta Neuro-Imaging Neurofeedback
1075 Yorba Place
Suite 105
Placentia, CA 92870

September 12, 2008 at 1:39 am Leave a comment

Dr. Ferrari’s Website