Posts tagged ‘learning problems’

The Best Option for Testing for and/or Treating ADHD

About this time of the school year, for the child with Attention Deficit Disorder, very significant problems are really starting to raise their head.  If the problems of inattention, difficulty with homework, poor behavior, and/or hyperactivity (there are several forms of this disorder) are occurring, you are probably wondering what you can do to fix the problem.  There are, today, four basic treatment options with varying degrees of success. Let’s take a look at them:

Schools are very rarely equipped to properly diagnose this disorder.  The proper thing to do, therefore, is to have your child tested by an outside, independent professional.  There are two types of testing: those based solely on symptoms, observed or reported (the most common form of testing), and those based on testing the actual source of the problems (a specific brain function) through EEG-analysis. As there are other problems which can cause ADD-like symptoms, it is essential to test right at the source of the problem, the brain (EEG-analysis).

This brings us to the consideration of the options available for treating this disorder, if it is found to be present:

Counseling or Therapy:  This is designed to help children and their families feel better about, and cope with the problems the disorder brings, rather than correcting the disorder.  As the underlying problem is neurological, and not emotional, this approach is not effective in correcting the disorder.

Tutoring:  While the cumulative effects of difficulty in learning can cause significant gaps in the knowledge base required for a child to progress satisfactorily, filling in those gaps (tutoring), will not do anything for the ongoing problem ADHD causes with learning.  Furthermore, until the ADHD is corrected, the tutoring efforts will be significantly hampered by the disorder.

Medication/Drugs:  Medication/Drugs are fairly successful in suppressing symptoms while the medication is in the blood stream.  However, once the chemicals are out of the blood stream there is no longer any benefit.  If medication is missed accidentally, or intentionally (adolescent compliance is often a problem because of the stigma attached to the medication, or the unwanted side effects), or when it wears off, the problems return in full force.  Adolescents’ not taking their medication is a significant problem; having the ADHD problems returning and combining with the hormonal and other challenges of adolescence can be a very bad combination. Furthermore, since the drugs are only effective while in the blood stream, and the underlying cause is never corrected, the medications must be taken for life.

The potential of harmful side effects as a result of the medications is a major problem. These side effects range from weight loss, over-stimulation of the central nervous system, dizziness, sleep disorders, loss of appetite, tremors, tics, and Tourette’s syndrome. There may be one or a combination of these side effects.  These are serious side effects in any person; when one considers the vulnerability of children, the dangers are even more worrisome.

Neurofeedback:  Of the four options, neurofeedback is the only method that corrects the underlying cause of the disorder in a one-time treatment, rather than merely managing the symptoms or teaching the child how best to live with it (counseling-therapy); filling in the gaps in learning caused by the problem without actually correcting the ongoing disorder (tutoring); or merely suppressing the symptoms through a lifelong, often side-effect laden administration of pharmaceuticals (medication).  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.  By utilizing neurofeedback, a child can re-teach the sensory and/or impulse control functions of the brain, including processing, to ameliorate the disorder.  Neurofeedback is a painless and effective process, where there are no side effects, and no maintenance or re-training is needed after treatment is completed.  It allows for focus, task completion, organization, impulsivity,  hyperactivity and a variety of other symptoms to come within normal, age appropriate limits.

In conclusion, neurological testing of the underlying chemical (brain) imbalance is the only objective method to determine if the symptoms are actually caused by ADHD (this is the type of testing done in neurofeedback).  Furthermore, neurofeedback is the best option for treating the disorder, as it actually corrects the problem in a one-time treatment, rather than trying to feel comfortable with a correctable problem, constantly playing catch-up, trying to fill in gaps that continue to occur, or life-long medication with the great possibility of significant side effects.


February 4, 2013 at 5:58 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

Is it too late to get help for this school year?

About this time of year I frequently hear this concern raised.  Unfortunately, it is often put another way, “Should we just forget about this year, and hope next year is better”.  The parent will usually continue: “We have tried our best, 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 putting him in a special class.”

Usually, 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.

There are really two parts to this question.  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.

A parent’s 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 your’ 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.  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. An effective, non-side effect treatment known as Neurofeedback allows for a child or adult to relearn the concentration and sensory mechanisms of their brain.  From this, the attention and/or hyperactivity disorder can be alleviated.  If you would like more information in regards to Attention Deficit Disorder or Neurofeedback, please do not hesitiate to contact Alta Neuro-Imaging (located in Placentia, CA).

March 14, 2011 at 9:05 pm Leave a comment

Prevalence of ADHD

Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder- “ADD” or ADHD- affects approximately nine percent (9%) of the children in the United States.  It is one of the more prevalent, and most studied, of all childhood psychiatric disorders.  A new study reports that only about a third of them are getting proper treatment.

“There is a perception that ADHD is over diagnosed and over treated,” says lead researcher Dr. Tanya E. Froehlich, from Cincinnati Children’s Medical Center.  “But our study shows that for those that meet the criteria for ADHD, the opposite problem- under diagnosis and under treatment- seems to be occuring.  Interestingly, Froelich commented further that “…girls were more likely to be under diagnosed.”

Also of importance are the findings of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.  The researchers found that of the children who met the criteria for ADHD, only 47.9% had been diagnosed with the disorder, and of these, only 32% were being treated consistently with medications.

There are three sub-types of the disorder: primarily inattentive, hyperactive-impulsive, and combined (a combination of the two previous types).  Attention Deficit Disorder is not a trivial problem; it can have a serious, detrimental impact on a persons life in terms of learning, social relationships, and self-image, as well as success and happiness in adult life.  In addition to the negative impact the disorder has on the individual, it can wreak havoc on family dynamics.

As we saw earlier, approximately fifty percent of the actual cases of ADHD are identified, and of these, only a third are receiving proper treatment.  One of the major reasons for these unfortunate facts is parents’ understandable fears of the serious side-effects and rigors of medication.  Fearing that medicating their children is the unavoidable response to testing them, or, if the disorder is already present, thinking that medication is the only treatment available.  Many parents avoid testing and treatment altogether and abandon their children to their fate.  This is a distressing scenario.

The good news however, is that medication is not the only, and certainly not the most successful, form of treatment for ADHD.  There is an alternative to this scenario.

The alternative is Neurofeedback.  It is a drug-free, painless procedure which a child or adult does to re-train the mechanisms in charge of attention within the brain.  Neurofeedback is permanent; once treatment is complete, no further treatment is necessary.  Parents no longer need to avoid testing and/or treatment for fear of the “drug solution”.  They do not have to be forced to accept poor grades, endless hours of homework, calls from the school, and feelings of hopelessness.

They can get help for their children if they so need.

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

November 3, 2010 at 10:29 am 1 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

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

“Back to School.…..Another Year of Problems for ADD Kids and their Parents?”

For many parents, the end of summer and return to school is a busy time and one of promise, high expectations and delight in watching their children grow.  However, for some parents whose children may have, or are diagnosed with ADD, it is a return to disappointment, frustration, and constant struggle.

School, for the child with ADD, is an experience that usually tears them down rather than building them up.  Any one of, or the combination of inattention, impulsivity, and/or hyperactivity (symptoms of ADD) usually cause a child to feel that they are not very smart, or are bad people, and/or are unlikable.  The opposite is usually true.  Behind the academic struggles and/or misbehavior is usually a higher than average I.Q. and a very pleasant disposition.  However, the reality of the feedback the world (at least in part) gives them is the very negative, harmful self-image just mentioned.

On top of this, many children with ADD feel isolated.  This comes from isolation from peers due to accompanying poor social skills, behavior, and self-esteem.  Sadly, these children also are often silently, secretly isolating these feelings from their parents as they are afraid to bring them up for fear of further upsetting them.

Parents are subject to a barrage of complaints from school, disheartening parent-teacher conferences, poor report cards, and often strong resistance from the child himself.  Parents often struggle through tortuous homework sessions, undeserved guilt (ADD is not caused by parenting style, it is a mild neurological condition), and frustration, not to mention the occurrences of many of these same problems at home.

The chances are that you would not be reading this if you or someone you know was not living through this nightmare.  Often, attempts to remedy this situation fail or are unacceptable, and the parent gives up and accepts this as their child’s “lot”.  This is tragic.  In most cases this situation can be corrected, with the accompanying return to healthy family dynamics, and a healthy, happy, self-confident child, without the rigors and side effects of lifelong medication.

All three sub-types of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD); Inattentive, Hyperactive-Impulsive, and Combined, are neurological in basis, and can be corrected through a form of neurological re-training. Neurofeedback is 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.

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

August 19, 2009 at 10:32 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

March 19, 2009 at 12:40 am 2 comments

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