Posts tagged ‘school difficulties’

Successful Treatment Planning for Attention Deficit Disorder

If you, your child’s teacher, or someone else significant suspects your child may have Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD or AD/HD), by this time of  the school year you really need to get something going to help them as soon as possible.  What is really needed is to first, find out definitively if it is really there, and secondly, get started immediately with a good plan, before it is too late to salvage the school year.  

Schools vary widely in their ability and willingness to assist the parent in this matter. My brother is an elementary school teacher, and a good one, as are many of his peers.  However, there is a wide range in the ability of teachers, as well as schools, in assessing and working with children with this disorder.  

Some teachers are judgmental in their opinions regarding ADD.  They may believe a child willfully misbehaves.  Everyone knows a “dangerously” little amount about ADD.  School personnel are often more objective than parents, as they can compare the child to hundreds of children in their professional experience.  However, teachers listen to the popular press, have family members with ADD, glean information from other sources, and often base their opinion on what they have heard, and not on the true facts.  With good intentions, school personnel may believe or imply to parents that bad parenting, low ability, and or emotional problems are behind the difficulties.  Some teachers have been known to tell parents not to treat the problem, rather, just to employ harsher punishments, and that indeed is a very bad answer.  Finally, most schools are often very slow to actually do any testing (6 months to a year is not at all uncommon).  Furthermore, the results are frequently too vague, yielding results such as “learning disorders” or “learning disabilities”.

 The proper thing to do, therefore, is to have your child tested by an outside, independent professional.  There are two types of testing, those that based solely on symptoms, observed or reported (the most common form of testing), and those that 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).

Medication and Neurofeedback (EEG-analysis and treatment) are the only methods of treatment which actually address the underlying cause of the problem (a minor misalignment in the brain).  Medication is usually effective (unfortunately, teachers will often advise that this is the only answer). However, possible side effects and the necessity of the life long use of these drugs are often understandably very discouraging to parents.  

Neurofeedback is a drug and side-effect free, painless procedure in which the child learns to re-train the relevant attention and/or behavioral mechanisms of the brain, alleviating the condition.   Once training is complete, no further treatment is necessary.  It is an excellent alternative to the often dreaded medication scenario.

February 15, 2012 at 1:23 am Leave a comment

Teenagers and Depression

 As many as 25% of all teenagers with ADHD (Attention Deficit Disorder with/without Hyperactivity, ADD) are clinically depressed.  All three types of this disorder; Primarily Inattentive, Hyperactive-Impulsive, and Combined Form, are capable of producing depression in teens.  Depression is a serious disorder, capable of depriving a person of much needed energy, mental clarity, objectivity reasoning (a crucial skill for this age group), optimism, clear judgment, and enjoyment of life.  It can sometimes, tragically, build to even suicidal levels.  It is very important to be able to recognize the signs of depression in these young people, and in the cases where it is being primarily produced by ADHD, correct this cause. 

The stereotypical image we all have of depression is usually someone who is sad, tearful, listless, and lonesome.   Teenagers with depression often don’t look like this at all.  They don’t typically display gloom, criticize themselves, or talk about feeling hopeless like adults do.  

Teens with major depression are often negative and anti-social; feelings of wanting to leave home or run away are increased.  They may have a strong sense of disapproval or being misunderstood by peers, siblings and parents.  They may also change their basic emotional tone, and become aggressive, grouchy, and restless.  Often a depressed teenager will stop paying attention to personal appearance, or may even adopt the “uniform” of social sub-groups that claim despondency and depression as a way of life.  There may be an increased, unfounded sense of being unloved or rejected by loved ones.  

 Girls have a tendency to internalize performance difficulties more often than boys do, although this happen in many boys too.  A girl will more frequently see failure as a sign that she is a bad, or deficient person.  She will often make the unfortunate leap, that she is therefore unlovable.  This is another way in which ADHD can trigger significant depression. 

Boys (and some girls) will often become aggressive with their parents and/or peers, be more agitated at home, and get into trouble at school or with the law.  Parents are often frustrated, angry, or confused by this kind of behavior.  Some parents respond by becoming stern disciplinarians, engage in power struggles, or may even put the teenager down, which only serves to increase feelings of depression.  Some parents feel helpless, and withdraw form the parenting and help their children need, further isolating them.

If there are some of the other signs of ADHD present (difficulty concentrating, organizing, completing tasks, and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity) along with the depression, it is a very good idea to have the teenager tested for ADHD.  If the disorder is present, it is likely treatable without medication, and the depression should be alleviated too.  Lifting huge burdens of the teen’s head and heart (not to mention Mom’s, Dad’s, and the rest of the family.

Neurofeedback is a highly effective, drug free, safe, non-invasive and painless procedure in which the child 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

July 13, 2009 at 11:51 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

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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