Posts tagged ‘self-image’

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.

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

A Four Week Summer Intensive Program for Children with Difficulties in School

Do any of these complaints sound familiar to you?  “My child is struggling in school… the teacher complains that they don’t complete their class work, can’t follow directions, and are frequently daydreaming.  Their grades are below average, yet I know that they are intelligent.  Homework takes forever, and is a constant battle.  If this were not enough, they are frequently getting in trouble at school, and it’s the same at home.  The poor kid can’t get a break, and the family is constantly in an uproar. We always dread the start of the next school year, and things seem to be getting steadily worse.”

If any of the academic performance and/or behavioral parts of this statement sound familiar to you, there is a good chance that your child may be suffering from ADHD, a learning disorder, or a learning disability.  The destruction of the child’s self-esteem, and the conflict and chaos wrought on the family dynamics can be very difficult to live with.

The problems mentioned above and the hectic schedule of school, sports, etc. often make it near impossible to get help during the school year. However, when the school year ends, and summer is finally here, an opportunity presents itself to make a big change for the better. I think the key part of the word “summertime” is “time”, there is much more of it. With the pressure of school, tests, and homework gone, it is a more relaxed time for kids and parents alike. In the summertime the opportunity presents itself for an easier to do four week Neurofeedback treatment, which is much less stressful on parents and children.

There are three core types of students who benefit the most from the summer intensive programs.  The first type is the student who struggles significantly with homework (which increases in amount and difficulty each year) and tests.  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, as well as difficulties taking tests, 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 okay when the work is done “one-on-one”, but are too distracted in group settings such as the classroom or group activities.

The third type is the student who has significant difficulties with his/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.

If the problems in the beginning of this article sound familiar to you, and you would like to see your child improve their attention and mental processing, think and react faster in school and social situations, be more confident, and improve college readiness, then this type of program is essential for them.

Neurofeedback, a type of biofeedback that utilizes EEG to provide information on brain signaling activity and allows for re-training that lasts for life, is an alternative to medication.  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.

If your child struggles with these problems, or you know a student that we can make a difference for, please let us know.  We will be happy to follow up.

June 20, 2012 at 12:07 am 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

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

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

A New School Year…A Time to Learn or a Time to Dread?

Ideally, for most parents, a new school year brings the pride and feeling of accomplishment 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 deeper and deeper into believing that they are not smart, are a “bad boy or girl”, and as a person, 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.  One mother from Orange County recently told me:  “I’m worried… Sammy had such an awful time in second grade last year.”  Sammy had spent the year grounded in the classroom… no recess, no field trips, no parties, all because he constantly was behind in his work.  ” We were constantly doing homework or tutoring, and he was still behind,” she continued.  To add to his academic problems, Sammy had spent most of second grade in social isolation, even when he was free from being “grounded” in the classroom.  He was the last one picked for teams, and the first one to be teased.  This downward spiral in confidence, spreading from one part of life to another, is tragic.

A very significant possibility exists that some or all of the conditions described above 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 (as we shall see shortly), can be corrected relatively easily.  What makes the aforementioned tragic self-image even more unacceptable is the 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 it is possible.  Don’t wait until your child’s first report card to initiate testing or treatment because, 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 that 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.

As parents, we do have a choice as to whether this year will be a time for learning, full of  joy and pride, or another year of dread… for both our children and ourselves.  What will your choice be?

October 15, 2010 at 1:44 am Leave a comment


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