Solutions for Attention Deficits and Learning Problems
Based on over twenty-five years of research, neurofeedback is rapidly becoming more accepted as an effective treatment option for ADHD. Without chemicals or negative side effects, neurofeedback makes use of modern computer technology to train individuals to gain mental flexibility in order to teach them to regulate their impulses and their focused attention.
Research has demonstrated that individuals with ADD and ADHD have excess slow wave activity (theta and alpha waves) and relatively less fast wave activity (SMR and beta waves).
During neurofeedback sessions, sensors on the scalp pick up the electrical activity in the brain. This activity is transmitted to a computer, which transforms the data into video and audio displays. By looking at the screen and listening to tones, the individual is given feedback regarding the brain’s activity (i.e., concentrating or drifting off).
By practicing controlling the displays, through operant conditioning individuals learn to produce brain waves that are normally present when they are still and well-focused. In time, the brain learns to reduce slow wave activity and increase fast wave activity. With the immediate feedback provided by this training, individuals learn what it feels like to really concentrate.
After several training sessions, most individuals show clear and lasting gains in their ADHD symptoms. They maintain and shift focus more easily, are less distractible and less impulsive. Many also show gains in other areas including reading, handwriting, sleep and social skills.
Though anyone with ADD/ADHD symptoms can benefit from neurofeedback, it is especially suitable for children whose parents want to try a non-medical intervention, for individuals who cannot take stimulant medication due to medical conditions or intolerable side effects, and for adolescents who have become resistant to taking medication.
Neurofeedback Training Procedures
ADDVANTAGE utilizes training protocols for ADD and ADHD developed by Dr. Joel Lubar. After an initial assessment and setting of training parameters, clients come to sessions at least twice weekly. Each session includes five conditions: a two minute idling baseline followed by four, four to eight minute feedback conditions with academic tasks interwoven. When gains begin to be seen, sessions may be reduced to once weekly.
Here are some additional resources for more information:
Recent neurofeedback research findings
The role of neurofeedback in the treatment of ADHD (Monastra) This study demonstrates the added impact of neurofeedback to standard treatment of ADHD.
A comparison of neurofeedback and stimulant medication in the treatment of ADHD (Kaiser) This study compares neurofeedback with medication in ADHD children.
Neurofeedback combined with training in metacognitive strategies: effectiveness in students with ADD (Thompson) This study examines the effectiveness of neurofeedback in a clinical setting.
Books about Neurofeedback
Getting rid of Ritalin: How neurofeedback can successfully treat ADD without drugs, by Eduardo Castro & Robert W. Hill.
The A.D.D. Book: New Understandings, New Approaches to Parenting Your Child, by William Sears & Lynda Thompson. [See Chapter 8 for an excellent overview of neurofeedback theory and training procedures.]
A Symphony in the Brain, by Jim Robbins.
Introduction to Quantitative EEG and Neurofeedback, by James Evans & Andrew Abarbanel
Internet Resources for Neurofeedback
Neurofeedback in the News
Wired for Attention - Style Weekly
Practices using Neurofeedback for ADHD