Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Is Neurofeedback the Solution for Your Child? Follow Our Journey: Part 6 The Final Report

 The below post is from 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 an ongoing series following their progress and success.  We hope you find it helpful as you search for solutions for your own children.

If you missed the first four parts of the series, read them here: 
Is Neurofeedback the Solution for Your Child? Follow Our Journey: Part 1.

Is Neurofeedback the Solution for Your Child? Follow Our Journey: Part 2 The First 3 Sessions

Part 3:  Seeing Signs of Success and Positive Changes!

Part 5  The First Report Card Since Neuro-Feedback Started

Part 6: The Final Report

For those of you that have been curious regarding the final results of my daughters Neurocore experience I wanted to fill you in.
After my daughter’s 29 sessions were complete I was called in to the office to hear the final assessment. I was anticipating good news and possibly a sales pitch to add more sessions or to consider possible “brush up” sessions on an occasional basis. I was again very pleasantly surprised and impressed.
When I sat down with the clinical specialist she went through all of the post testing data and compared it to my daughters test scores in the pretesting phase. The results were no less than astounding! I won’t bore you with the technical breakdown mainly because I would not be able to do it justice. What I can tell you is that after she shared all of the encouraging results, there was one statement that stuck out to me the most.   
 She said your daughter’s brain will not change back
The brain has learned what it needs to learn, and unless she enlists in the military and sees major combat or something that would cause extreme stress on the brain over a period of time, her brain will retain what it has learned.
She met all of the goals we were hoping for and beyond.  Her daydreaming score changed dramatically from her baseline score taken at the beginning, as well as other areas in which she gained positive results. I can tell you that my experience at home confirms all of the results.
 Since we finished the program in the summer, I was anxious to see how she would do in school. As if starting middle school wasn’t challenging enough, this year she happened to be starting in an ALL new school with all new students, a long school bus ride and getting up an hour earlier!  She has adjusted without a hitch. 
She is more organized, able to get ready in the morning and get to the bus on time without a more than an occasional reminder. She is completing her homework and enjoying school.
The technician finished our meeting by saying she was going to mark her chart as closed. No sales pitch for more or pressure to return. I was so impressed by the whole experience I am considering signing myself up!  

[ We here at FPR are not getting paid to support Neurocore or Neurofeedback in any way, we just wanted to bring you this information and a chance to get real feedback from a parent who tried it with her own daughter. ]


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Proof of Attachment from a RAD Kid or The Tale of Two Dogs

We had written many times about the usefulness and dangers of pets in the home, especially with children with attachment disorders.

In a blog post from August 2013 How Do I Deal With: Kids Who Hurt Pets     I talked about an incident at my own foster care home with a RAD child. We were discussing the possible dangers of having a child with an attachment disorder interact with a dog.

Here is an excerpt:

Now, my advice comes from my own experience working with RAD kids and my families own pets.  I have had the same issues with kids being too rough with pets, mistreating them, and I have cameras in my house, I feel like I supervise the kids as well as anyone can.  And I lost a pet. A small breed dog under unfortunate circumstances- most likely from one of the kids hugging the struggling dog too roughly.   It was devastating.  The RAD child then acted as if nothing bad had happened. He had to learn to allow others in the house to grieve the loss of the pet, I had to accept it, and counsel the child through the event, to try to discover what had happened, without allowing my own personal feelings to come out, or to take them out on the child, ... it was terribly, terribly difficult.

In the end, I guess it helped build trust between this boy and myself. He was sure he'd be kicked out of the house for the incident, and I didn't kick him out.  I tried to get to the bottom of the situation, and we continued to work on his skills with pets, and worked and worked on it.  He has come a long way and I do believe he will be a success story yet.  Time will tell.

I wanted to talk a little more about this, and give you an update.

So, this child I referred to came to me at 12 years old with RAD (reactive attachment disorder) ADD, compulsive disorders and other behavioral issues.  He had come from a psychiatric hospital setting, where he had been for a over a year, and my home was basically his last chance at living a normal life in the "real world."

After this incident with the dog, "Billy" (not his real name of course) acted very inappropriate to the circumstances. While the rest of the children grieved, he sang happily, explaining that he was singing "for Fido," but his affect was clearly inappropriate. Once he realized he wouldn't be kicked out of the house for the incident, and after days and days of counseling and attempting to get to the truth of the incident, we (the counselors and treatment team and I) worked hard and watched "Billy" to insure that he did not act out any further with the other house pets.

His interactions with the other pets in the house in the past two years has been a roller coaster. He teased one of the other dogs for a while, and so he was told to leave the dog alone, and he eventually appeared to feel bad that the dog avoided him. He was taught to offer the dog treats and treat the dog nicely to get the dog to come to him in a gentle way. He also walked the dog and took over care taking duties.

We also have a bird in the house. At times he took great interest in the bird, giving it water, food etc.  One day I noticed the bird had feathers missing and he admitted to pulling feathers from the bird.  We discussed this as well and talked about how this was unacceptable behavior.  He knew this was wrong behavior because he took time to do it out of camera range.

We had one other incident where one of the other dogs nipped at him. He claimed it was a scratch from something else, but it was clearly from the dog. He must have needed it.

During this 2 year time period though, although there were slip ups, there was also steady growth. I saw that "Billy" was able to be gentle, was able to understand that humans were caretakers for animals and understood his responsibilities with the house pets and the chickens we had in the yard. I was seeing signs of responsible behavior.

"Billy" began a closer relationship with one of the other family dogs, another small breed dog, who seemed to enjoy his company and slept with him at night. Although I had some fears about this, I had to trust "Billy" and show him that I could trust him to be a careful dog guardian.

He did well.  Then the dog became ill.  The dog was an older pet, and began having kidney issues.  "Billy" was concerned and displayed his attachment to the dog. He took responsibility for the pet, cleaning up the dogs "mistakes" in the house, and even purchasing special pet food with his own money earned by doing chores.  He literally doted on the dog.

As the dogs health continued to decrease, "Billy," now 14, cradled her in his arms and rocked her. She would seek out his company, and he would oblige her to make her comfortable.

"Billy" held her in his arms when she died.

He did not sing this time.This time he cried.

He was unsure what to do, but called to me, and we arranged for a funeral. He prepared a casket and insisted on putting her favorite blanket and pillow to make her journey comfortable.

Although, again, I am sad to lose a pet, this has been a unique opportunity to see the growth and change in this child.  It is not often that we get a chance to see reactions to similar circumstances in a RAD child 2 years apart, and then, to see, such drastic changes.  It really feels like a miracle, and one of hope that I wanted to share with all of you.

"Billy" took pride in care taking for the pet, and has now taken over duties for one of the other dogs in the home.  He is making friends, is involved in school and after school activities. He still has problems, to be sure, but he has come a long way.  He is motivated to be the best he can be. 

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Friday, September 6, 2013

Can "Mindfulness" Training Help ADHD Kids in School?

Hi Friends,
We have talked a lot about Neurofeedback recently, and have seen really good results from that, and today there is an article in Science Daily about Mindfulness Training.

Basically it talks about the benefits of "Mindfulness" training for kids who have trouble staying focussed in school.  But what IS "Mindfulness training?

"Mindfulness" is defined as learning to direct our attention to whatever task is at hand at any given moment. When someone is taught mindfulness, they are taught to slow down and experience the moment they are in. This is not a natural state for children who may have ADHD or other mental distractions that keep them from functioning at their best levels in school. 

Not all schools offer Mindfulness training courses as part of their curriculum, and not all parents are able to or have access to private Mindfulness programs.  However, the Internet is full of all kinds of games for kids, exercises and information on Mindfulness techniques that any parent can take advantage of the opportunity if they think their child might benefit.

Check out the links below and let us know what you think!

Mindfulness training improves attention in children

Attribution Some rights reserved by chefranden