Posts tagged ‘teenagers’

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

A “Short Course” Summer Remedy for ADHD

Does this 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 into 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 the academic performance and/or behavioral part of this statement sounds familiar to you, there is a good chance that your child may be suffering from ADHD.  The destruction of the child’s self esteem, and the conflict and chaos wrought on family dynamics can be devastating.

A further complication to this problem is that many parents, thinking that the side effects and rigors of life-long medication are the only remedy, try to deny the problem and avoid testing and treatment.  Fortunately, medication is definitely not the only form of successful treatment.  We’ll discuss this more in a moment.

The problems mentioned above and the hectic schedule of the school, sports, etc. often make it near impossible to get help during the school year.  However, when the school year ends, and the summer is finally here, an opportunity presents itself to make a big change for the better.  Neurofeedback treatment for ADHD requires thirty sessions, each being thirty minutes long, with a minimum of one session a week.  During the school year the pace of life can be so hectic that the treatment may take four to seven months to complete.  In the summertime, the opportunity presents itself for a “Short Course” treatment, which can be completed in one to two months.

One of the gifts of childhood is an innocence, which (as long as their self esteem isn’t too damaged) prompts them to believe (without anything actually occurring to bring it about) that next year will always be better.  If the child’s parents actually correct the problem over the summer, then a beautiful thing happens to the child’s belief in his/her self.  They discover that, “you know what?… I was right to believe in myself… things are better this year.”  When parents intervene for their children in this way, not only does their performance and/or behavior turn around for the better, but the parents also give their child an incredible boost in self-confidence and self-reliance.  These are wonderful gifts to give your child!

Neurofeedback is an effective, drug and side effect free, painless procedure in which the child learns to re-train the attention mechanisms of the brain, alleviating the condition.  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 please contact:

Dr. Stephen Ferrari for  Orange County Neurofeedback

May 25, 2010 at 9:00 pm Leave a comment

What causes A.D.D.?

The causes of ADHD for Orange County children can be described in terms of neurological structures within the brain with slight malfunctions, or in terms of what causes these malfunctions in the first place. The first is usually obscure and confusing to most us and is hard to relate to our daily world. The second is more understandable and practical in my opinion, and that is the approach we shall take.

Genetic: Approximately 80-85% of this disorder is genetically based (in our DNA or family tree). While consistently passed on to each successive generation, this gene does not always manifest, or show up in all offspring. This means that while it may be present in one or both parents, in may skip generations or manifest in one of a parents’ children and not another. In looking back up the family tree you may see it in an aunt or an uncle, or a grandparent (or not if it was not properly diagnosed).

Oxygen Deprivation At Birth: There are a number of conditions, which can bring this about. Premature Birth, Jaundice, and difficulty in labor can all result in oxygen deprivation at birth. Those these condition do not always cause ADHD, they certainly can.

Drugs and Alcohol in the Prenatal Environment: Excessive alcohol and /or drug use by the mother while the child is in the uterus can cause a number of problems, and ADHD is one of them. In addition to this problem, there are also other learning and behavioral disorders which can compound the ADHD problem.

Head Trauma: Injury to the head or neck can also bring about this disorder. This can be the result of a cesarean or forceps assisted delivery, a serious fall or blow to the head, or something as routine as a “normal” childhood fall from a tree or down to the stairs. This cause is less predictable as there are many injuries as serious as a skull fractures which don’t result in ADHD, while often mild injuries can bring it about.

While it is interesting (and in some instances prevention is possible) to know the causes of this disorder, the majority of the time the cause of ADHD is not in any way a parent’s fault. Misplaced guilt, or the idea that a child’s problems reflect on them (not my child!) can cause pain and anxiety and many parents will deny the possibility of the problem and the necessary testing and/or treatment. Often parent also resist testing because they dread the possibility of what think are the unavoidable side effects and rigors of ADHD medication. This is definitely not the only solution!

Individuals can retrain the attention mechanisms and/or impulse control mechanisms of the brain during Neurofeedback.  It is a painless, drug free procedure which alleviates the condition. No further treatment is necessary once the training is complete.

For more information, please contact Dr. Stephen A. Ferrari at his Southern California Neurofeedback center.

April 26, 2010 at 8:38 pm Leave a comment

Frequently asked Questions Regarding Neurofeedback

1. What does the EEG (electoencephalograph) show?
The EEG shows activity levels of different parts of the brain and the relative balance or imbalance, which underlies ADD/ADHD.

2. Can everyone do Neurofeedback?
Most people are good candidates for retraining these parts of the brain. Approximately 85% of the people with ADD/ADHD, through proper training, can bring about this correction.

3. Are there age requirements for doing the training?
We normally start testing and training at the age of 4. There are no upper limits to the age at which ADD/ADHD can be corrected through successful Neurofeedback training.

4. How can Neurofeedback do all the things listed in your brochure (i.e. chronic depression, chronic anxiety, pain management, sleep disorders, migraine headaches)?
Various imbalances in the brain underlie the various conditions that Neurofeedback is successful in treating. Working with different parts of the brain enables one to correct imbalances or disorders.

5. How will we know if the Neurofeedback is working?
The patient and/or the parents, as well as the teacher, will have every indication that this is working through evidence of changes in their performance and behavior difficulties. Neurofeedback is the type of treatment whereby improvements come steadily throughout the training, as opposed to having to wait to the end to see these improvements.

6.  Is Neurofeedback permanent?
Yes, this part of the brain holds any adjustments it learns permanently. Individuals with ADD/ADHD, Autism Spectrum disorders, chronic depression, and/or chronic anxiety, who are good candidates for the training (as determined in the evaluation), and who successfully complete the training, will have permanent results. There will be no need for any other treatment.

7.  Are there other actions that must be done to insure success?
No, all treatments are conducted in our office.

8.  How many sessions are necessary to complete the training?
The treatment typically consists of 30, one-half hour sessions. A minimum of one session a week is required.

9.  How can you tell if one is ADD or ADHD?
The underlying neurological condition of both of these disorders is the same. In some individuals it is expressed in attention difficulties. In others, the difficulty is with impulse control and hyperactivity. Furthermore, in some cases there may be a combination of all symptoms. The symptoms determine what sub-type of the disorder is present.

10. Are there other techniques used for different conditions?
Yes, techniques used vary depending on the disorder.

11.  Does it hurt or is it uncomfortable?
No, Neurofeedback is safe, painless, non-invasive drug free treatment. It is not uncomfortable in any way. Most patients find it enjoyable and satisfying.

At Alta Neuro-Imaging, southern California children and adults can undergo Neurofeedback treatment for Attention Deficit Disorder, mild to moderate Autism Spectrum disorders, sleep disorders, chronic depression, chronic anxiety, as well as peak performance.

January 28, 2010 at 8:54 pm 1 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

July 13, 2009 at 11:51 pm Leave a comment

Dr. Ferrari’s Website