The fact is that children have a hard time self-regulating their behavior since they are still learning. Even as an adult, we can struggle at times with our own behaviors. What makes it more difficult for those students with a learning challenge (such as those with ADHD) is that it can have a profound negative effect on their school-performance. These children are very smart but lack the focus to concentrate and are told they are a distraction and give up.
What happens to children who are considered a “distraction”? Most of the time they get sent to detention or parents get told that maybe medication is the answer to help their child focus in class. Why aren’t we looking at the root cause?
The brain. The brain is the root cause.
Did you know that the brain is very adaptable? If you take a look at a basic psychological operant conditioning technique, which is how one can modify a behavior by a positive or negative reinforcement, this type of technique can be used to teach the brain to self-regulate and improve ADHD symptoms without the use of medication. This can be used with other learning challenges or mental health symptoms as well.
Many parents are aware that there are side effects to ADHD medication. The trial and error method of psychotropic medications is a process and provides a quick result. Most articles share that ADHD medication is a “quick fix”; however, it actually isn’t “fixing” the problem. Medication masks the symptoms and can create other long-term side effects. These medications are harming our children and are intended for short-term use but many children are placed on them without truly needing the medication and more issues arise.
A better alternative to medication is to teach the brain to self-regulate through Neurofeedback training in the school-environment. Neurofeedback is a safe, non-invasive, drug-free option that provides a learning modality to teach the child’s brain to self-regulate through positive reinforcement. Once the brain is balanced and stable, the effect is long-term positive change.
Neurofeedback training has been done in schools over the last 20 years in a variety of settings, both large and small, public and therapeutic academic facilities. The Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics compared neurofeedback to cognitive behavioral training against a control group and found a significant positive impact that neurofeedback has on children with ADHD in a school setting. The children within the study were in second and fourth grade diagnosed with ADHD (n=104). They were randomly assigned to neurofeedback (NF) (n = 34), cognitive training (CT) (n = 34), or control (n = 36) conditions. The analysis assessed change in medication. The results concluded that stimulant medication dosage in methylphenidate equivalencies significantly increased for children in the CT (8.54 mg) and control (7.05 mg) conditions but not for those in the NF condition (0.29 mg).
An article written for the Biofeedback Journal by Dr. Thornton discussed “What right do we have, as professionals and as educators, to offer less than what we are capable of to these children?” This author showed the effect of neurofeedback or what he refers to as “the neurocognitive approach” over a child’s IQ and reports the possibility to obtain an IQ increase of 1 standard deviation. This has a major impact on a child’s academic performance and overall opportunities in life. Thornton concludes that it is crucial to “implement the neurocognitive approach in the special education system during the early years of a child’s educational experience. Implementing this approach will significantly reduce a child’s adverse perception of the classroom situation and reduce the pain and tribulation of the families involved. Furthermore, the approach will allow the educational system to obtain savings of nearly $327 billion per year.”(1)
If you are a parent or educator interested in implementing a neurofeedback training program as an elective class, then the first step is to discuss options with the school principal, superintendent and Special Education Department to review the possibility of including a program at your school. Yes, funding can be a challenge but the benefits for your child and other children will hold much greater lifetime effects that will set them up for success long term. If done systematically with early intervention, neurofeedback can save the educational system billions per year and use those funds to focus on adapting and improving the overall educational system as a whole.
Across the country, SYMMETRY Neuro-Pathway Training is being used in public school settings, multiple therapeutic academic programs and private clinics. We have integrated a limited availability program called Pilot 5 that allows you to trial run Neuro-PT, create awareness or families, improve enrollee’s success, and generate increased revenue while gaining measurable results. This is the best option available for those schools who aren’t sure if they are able to make a full commitment to integrate neurofeedback into their learning modality courses and want to try to see how the application will provide results for the students, families and school.