Posts tagged ‘california’

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.

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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

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
714.990.6536
Website: www.ocbiofeedback.com

December 22, 2009 at 1:17 am 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


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