Posts tagged ‘Impulsivity’

Difficulty at the Start of the New School Year?

For most parents, the new school year brings the feeling of accomplishment and pride of seeing their children grow and mature in aptitude, knowledge, and social skills. For some parents, however, it only brings long nights of homework, calls from the teacher, frustrated and discouraged children, and parenting fights about whose fault “all of this” is. There is also the pain of watching your child sink into believing they are not smart, are a “bad boy or girl”, or are not worth much. No parent or child should ever have to experience this.

A typical school year requires sustained attention, sitting quietly, and refined social skills. Some children are not capable of this. A mother recently told me, “I’m worried… Sammy is having such an awful time in school this year.” Sammy is being grounded in the classroom with no recess because he is behind in his work. “We are constantly doing homework and he is still behind,” she continued. To add to his academic problems, Sammy is spending most of his time at school in social isolation; even when he is free from being “grounded” in the classroom, he is the last one picked for teams and the first one to be teased.

A very significant possibility exists that the conditions described above (some or all) are being caused by a disorder called ADD or ADHD (Attention Deficit Disorder). This disorder is caused by a minor neurological imbalance (not parenting style!) and, for the vast majority of those with ADHD, can be corrected relatively easily. What makes the aforementioned tragic self-image even more unacceptable is that fact that the opposite is usually true. Individuals with ADHD (ADD) typically have a higher than average IQ and, although sometimes hidden behind the disorder, a very pleasant disposition.

Whenever such problems are occurring, it is extremely important to determine if ADHD is behind them as soon as possible. Don’t wait until your child’s first report card to initiate testing or treatment. By then, your child is already significantly behind. If there’s one thing harder for a child with ADHD than school, it is the downward sliding struggle to catch up.

Unfortunately, many parents of children with ADHD, or those who suspect it might be present, avoid testing and treatment because of their understandable dread of what they think must be the inevitable “drug” solution. Fortunately, for most individuals, there is a much better alternative.

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


October 10, 2012 at 1:58 pm Leave a comment

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

Can we still rescue this school year?

This is the time of year when many parents whose children have struggled with school start to either despair or panic.  Most parents will say: “We’ve done everything we can; we’ve talked to him (or her), we’ve encouraged him, we’ve pushed him as hard as we can, we’ve even tried tutoring and counseling, hoping for the best, and nothing seems to have gotten better.  The school is talking about holding him back and/or putting him in a special class”.

 Most of the time, as I inquire further into the child’s problems, I will hear that he (or she) is having significant problems academically and can’t seem to focus or retain what he’s learned at home, or is having lots of behavior problems at school, lacks confidence, is isolated… or all of the above.  

This question actually has two parts to it.  For the first part: No, it is definitely not too late to get help for this school year.  It is at the end of the school year that the evaluations and decisions are made as to what is best for the child in the coming year and we are definitely not at that point yet.  I have worked with many teachers, and I am consistently told that if they see significant improvement in academics and/or behavior before the end of the year, it can definitely effect their decisions.

Parental attitude toward this question is also critically important to their child.  Your decision to accept these problems as unavoidable and/or to give up on this school year, as opposed to not giving up and continuing to find the solution to your child’s difficulties, makes an indelible impression on how your child sees themselves and their approach to solving problems.  If you take the first option, things will probably get worse for them as they will sense you’re giving up, and they will too.  They will also think less is expected of them and they may put forth less effort.  If you choose the second option, and ground that for them firmly in the fact that the problems do not represent their true self or abilities, and that they are worth these extra efforts to solve the problems, then you have the opposite effect and their self esteem and effort climbs. So does your chances of final success for the school year. 

The second part of the question regards whether or the not the proper underlying cause of the problem is being addressed.  While tutoring and counseling definitely have their place, the problems mentioned here are more likely stemming from ADHD.  Furthermore, the effectiveness of tutoring, counseling, and many other interventions will be significantly reduced if the underlying ADHD is not treated first.  This is a disorder that many parents reject testing for and if present, treating, because they understandably fear what they think is the unavoidable use of medication with its undesirable side-effects and rigors.  There is, however, a much preferable alternative to this scenario, and that is neurofeedback.  

Neurofeedback is an effective, drug and side-effect free 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. 

In conclusion: No, if the parents don’t give up on the school year (or their child), and the true underlying cause of the problem is identified and corrected, it is definitely not too late  to save this school year, and the decision to do so is critical for your child.

April 11, 2012 at 12:08 am 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

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

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

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