Treating ADD without Medication
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What is Attention Deficit Disorder?
Attention Deficit Disorder results in our experiencing difficulties concentrating or maintaining attention to task, hyperactivity which may or may not also be present. Often it is characterized by impulsiveness, low tolerance to frustration, resistance to discipline, poor social skills, moodiness, difficulty following directions, lack of organization and under-achievement relative to what is often above average potential. In school, children often make careless mistakes in their work and have difficulty completing tasks as well as assignments on time. They may also lose things that they need to complete their tasks. These types of failures often result in feelings of anger, frustration, low self-esteem and in some instances, depression.
How do we assess Attention Deficit Disorder?
We see attention or concentration problems on a spectrum from very minimal to mild symptoms, to very extreme symptoms which may include hyperactivity. Each child is unique, usually with identified exceptionalities or above average abilities in a number of areas; in other areas difficulty and frustration in school are often experienced. Our assessment process includes general information being gathered from both parents as well as a developmental history for the child, followed by a psychological assessment to rule out learning disabilities, gifted profile, as well as depression or other mood difficulties. Our assessment also now includes EEG mapping which gives us some indication of the brain wave patterns for the child, which may also suggest the diagnosis.
Research has suggested that a malfunction in the regulation of neurotransmitters is the most likely source of attention problems. This disorder can be inherited or caused by trauma such as lack of oxygen to the brain or fetal alcohol exposure.
Neurometric assessment involves an EEG in which the brain wave patterns are recorded and analyzed. Slowing of the EEG or lack of activation is a pattern recently linked to attention or concentration difficulties.
Training programs utilizing EEG technology
The highly specialized computer programing in conjunction with EEG equipment is used for training. It is individualized for each participant's levels with the various training displays working similarly to computer games. The unique feature is the tool used to manipulate the game. It is not the hands or the fingers but it is brain wave activity that makes the game ¡°go¡±. Over the course of training the client will learn to generate less slow wave activity in order to score points. During the training sessions the child or adult also performs school type tasks to enable him or her to transfer the use of this skill to other areas of their lives. While clients are encouraged to apply what they learn in training to their school or professional work, this is not a tutorial program. The program team communicates the importance to clients, families and educators of reinforcing the use of the techniques required in the program in order to help the client learn.
Cooperation with the Child's School
Opportunities are available for teachers and school staff to meet with the program team or psychologist to tour our facilities and observe training sessions. This type of communication promotes a mutual understanding of how the program works and how each child might best be assisted in using this new skill in the classroom.
Research Supporting the use of these Techniques
The University of Alberta has conducted rather extensive research in the effectiveness of EEG neuro-training. A recent outcome study which pooled information from children who have completed this program concluded that 87% of the children have experienced positive changes in behaviour, with attention showing the most improvement.
If you require further research assistance feel free to ask our receptionist and we will be pleased to provide you with further information for your review.
Participation into the program involves a financial commitment. Please see the enclosed sheet for a breakdown of costs. Please note the Ontario Government does not cover this service. The program may qualify, however, under some insurance or employee assistance programs. Please check with us for more information about working with your insurance company.
Progress Reports and Parental Involvement
When a child begins training, parents will have an opportunity to discuss the child's progress and to voice any questions they may have related to the program. Throughout the training process the program team will update parents on the child's progress and be available to discuss questions and concerns. The same is true for adult participants. Parental involvement is encouraged. By providing the team with observations of your child's behavioural changes' the training process is facilitated. Many parents and adult participants have kept written accounts of behavioural changes they have noticed. They are very useful to the program team.