Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Is Neurofeedback the Solution for Your Child? Follow Our Journey: Part 1.

Hi Friends,
I wanted to introduce you to our friend “Marie.” She is sharing her story with us as she tries a brain-retraining program (neurofeedback) with her daughter who has ADD and severe memory issues.  This will be the first in an ongoing series following their progress and success.  We hope you find it helpful as you search for solutions for your own children.

Is Neurofeedback the Solution for Your Child? Follow Our Journey: Part 1.

My daughter cannot stay focused and these drugs don’t work! I am wondering how much of her problem is chemical, or is it trauma, drama or a combination of all three?
My middle child, 11, has a serious problem staying focused and on task. She is intelligent, bright, and creative, but cannot finish most ANY task set before her. It doesn’t matter if it is getting ready and remembering to put on underwear, or doing simple school work.  My sweet girl still had a problem wetting herself in 3 grade because she wasn’t paying attention and would wait until it was too late.  She just goes off in to her own world. She is never defiant about it. It is just as if she would “forget to remember.” 
At first I thought it might just be the emotional stress we were under as a family. She has had a lot to deal with in her life…2 long distance moves, an older brother with Asperger’s syndrome that drained MUCH of my attention, a failed business and marriage, and anger issues in the house from father and brother before the divorce. So as you can see, I always wondered how much of her focus problem is trauma, how much is drama (she tends to be VERY expressive and creative) and how much is truly “chemical”. So I set out to find my answer. I have prayed over this many times asking for wisdom, and I believe I am getting some answers!
Working the Problem…
I think it would help to give a little of what I tried to do first.
 I started her with a child psychologist when the divorce first happened that specialized in EMDR; a special technique that helps the brain deal with and move past trauma. He didn’t spend much time on that, but instead worked with her on social issues and self esteem which has been greatly helpful to her.
As she got further along in school, her attention problems became more glaring. I would hear from teachers that they were seeing all the typical ADD symptoms. I finally had her tested and they did confirm that she has ADD.
I began the grueling task of “finding the right medication.” None of the stimulant drugs helped her focus. They made her irritated and of course interrupted sleep patterns which made her more tired and grouchy. Normally a cheerful and energetic girl, I just could not do that to her any more. I also tried Strattera, a good non-stimulant option, that I thought for sure would do the trick. It didn’t make a dent in her problem!
I got some help from the foster parent rescue blog when I used some of John’s techniques and checklists to find out if she had a real memory problem or if there were other things at play. I offered her twenty dollars at the end of the week if she could get ready in the morning and remember to do everything without a reminder ( normally I have to constantly remind her to do everything). I wondered is it my parenting, is she lazy, does she have a learning problem??? If it were laziness then she would have been able to follow through because she was motivated to get that money. It wasn’t a surprise to me that she didn’t make it past the first day without forgetting most of the things on the list. (And she was even allowed to look at the list!)
Training the Brain
A turning point came when a friend of mine referred me to a company called Neurocore. This is where the real story begins. Neurocore is a company that was founded by Dr. Timothy Royer, Psy. D.  Dr. Royer was the Division Chief of Pediatrics Psychology at Helen Devos Childrens Hospital in Grand Rapids, MI. During his time there Dr. Royer worked closely with teams of neuropsychologists, neurologists, and behavioral pediatricians to address the cognitive, emotional and behavioral needs of children. He began Neurocore in 2004.
I learned that they use advanced EEG and EKG technology to train the brain to be healthier and stronger without the use of medication. They have helped people with ADHD, migraines, sleep disorders, stress related illness, anxiety issues, athletes with performance problems because of anxiety, and focus problems! Eureka! I couldn’t wait to try it.
I had my daughter tested.  It is a very simple, non written test that even a youngster can do. All you do is watch a screen while they measure your brain waves, breathing and heart rate. When her results came back it confirmed so much for me.  It turns out part of her brain developed abnormally high in the daydreaming area. I am convinced that this happened early in life as a coping skill to entertain herself when she was somewhat and unfortunately neglected, while I had to deal with an out of control special needs older brother. Anyway, now those daydreaming patterns kick in whenever she is stressed, bored or doing mundane tasks!  Brilliant! It all makes sense now.
 After telling John at Foster Parent Rescue about this he asked if I would write a progress report on how my daughter does with the treatment. We are all very hopeful that it can make a difference.
 The program includes 30 treatments. We will start next week! I will keep you posted.

( Do you have experience with this type of therapy? Let us know what you think! ~ John: FPR)

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