Children can Suffer from Anxiety and Neurofeedback can help

By Renee Chillcott, LMHC

It’s hard to imagine sometimes, that children can suffer from anxiety. What do they have to be worried about? Without jobs, bills, mortgages, and responsibilities, their lives are simple and easy. Are we over scheduling them? Are we putting too much pressure on them? Do they have too many unnecessary worries? Are video games or social media to blame? Do they need to toughen up or are we failing them?

 

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The truth is that anxiety is a pattern of neuron firing in the brain that can be present from birth. Brain neural patterns don’t necessarily dictate how we will behave, however, trying to change the environment or behavior won’t alter the patterns. Therefore, you can’t talk someone out of anxiety. And for children, you can’t change their routines or discipline them from feeling anxious. In babies and infants, anxiety neural patterns in the brain may present as:

• Colic
• Fussiness
• Not a good sleeper
• Tantrums
• Sensitive

As a child gets older into the toddler years it may present as:

• Terrible two’s, three’s, and four’s
• A spirited child
• Cranky, fussy, and not a good sleeper or napper
• Tantrums
• Picky or sensitive
• Difficulty with separation

I know what you are thinking. These symptoms are normal for children this age. And you are correct; they are perfectly normal, developmental behaviors for infants and toddlers. This is why diagnosing anxiety in young children is very difficult and not usually done unless symptoms are severe. In most cases, anxiety manifests at an older age when the symptoms are abnormal for the age or stage of development. And even then, parents tend to want to attribute what they observe to behavioral, personality or social causes.

“She didn’t study for her test and that is why she’s refusing to go to school today”. “He’s unmotivated to do anything except play video games and that is why his stomach hurts all of the time and he sleeps all day’”. “She just has too many activities scheduled and that’s why she’s overwhelmed”. “He has too much homework and is up all night studying which explains why he doesn’t sleep well”.

The reality of the situation is that neither your child’s personality nor their hectic schedule is the culprit. It’s their brain, or rather, the neural patterns in their brain, that is not allowing them to handle the workload at school, pressure with friends, feeling good, making good food choices, having a normal sleep schedule, and so on. And to make it even harder to diagnose or differentiate, anxiety patterns can look different but produce the same results.

Here is an example of one type of anxiety pattern. Increased BETA and High BETA is located in the central and frontal lobes. This could cause anxiety symptoms that range from OCD, anger control issues, irritability and impulsivity, poor judgement, excessive worrying, feelings of being overwhelmed and depressed, among others.

Very often, we contribute anxiety to traumatic events. As in the case of PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder). Therefore, it becomes difficult to recognize the early symptoms of anxiety in children who haven’t experienced a traumatic event. However, as mentioned previously, these neuron firing patterns can be present from birth and may not have a root or cause in emotional or physical trauma. It’s a pattern in the brain that they are born with.

As a child reaches school age, anxiety may look like:

• Worrying about performance, grades
• Worrying about parents or loved ones dying
• More separation anxiety
• Fear of getting sick (vomiting is most popular)
• Fear of getting sick at school
• Social anxiety, difficulty with friends
• Feeling overwhelmed
• Nightmares or unable to sleep/fall asleep alone
• Sleep walking, talking or restless sleep
• Fatigue
• Refusal to go to school or meltdowns when going
to school
• Frequent trips to the clinic
• Vocal or motor tics
• Loss of appetite or poor diet
• Somatic symptoms such as stomachaches,
headaches, diarrhea, or digestive problems
• Poor grades usually due to missing school or
falling behind

As they reach the teenage years, the problem can become more apparent and more severe:

• Continued worry and difficulty handling traumatic
events
• Dropping out of extra-curricular activities
• More social interaction difficulties or isolation
• Depression or suicidal ideations
• Poor choices when confronted with life decisions
(drugs, alcohol, sex)
• Beginning to develop dysfunctional coping skills or
self-medicating
• Poor school performance/ failing classes
• Onset of panic attacks
• Continued somatic symptoms and fluctuation in
weight (gain/loss)
• Manifestation into other anxiety disorders such as:
Obsessive-compulsive Disorder, Eating Disorders, Trichotillomania, PICA, Body Dysmorphic Disorders, Phobias, Panic Disorders, Addiction, Social Anxiety, Performance Anxiety, etc.

According to The Anxiety and Depression Association of America, “Anxiety and depression are treatable, but 80 percent of kids with a diagnosable anxiety disorder and 60 percent of kids with diagnosable depression are not getting treatment, according to the 2015 Child Mind Institute Children’s Mental Health Report.”

Many health professionals believe that anxiety is a normal part of childhood and symptoms are not cause for alarm. Others believe that parenting and discipline need to be improved or implemented to treat the symptoms. In severe cases, medication is introduced as a treatment, but unfortunately, many children who suffer with symptoms, are medication resistant or not severe enough to medicate.

Neurofeedback can help. Neurofeedback can not only help reduce the anxiety symptoms specific to your child, but it can “retrain” the neural patterns in the brain so that anxiety is better managed or controlled throughout your child’s life. Through Neuroplasticity, Neurofeedback becomes a permanent correction of the anxiety patterns in the brain.

Why is my Child Struggling? And what can I do about it?

By Renee Chillcott, LMHC

WHY IS MY CHILD STRUGGLINGIt’s an all-too-familiar story. Parents and their child(ren) sitting across the desk from me, hoping, searching, and desperate for guidance. Comments such as:
• “If it’s something he wants to do, he does it, if not, there’s a battle.”
• “He just needs to make better choices.”
• “I think it’s just a kid thing.”
• “I was the same way when I was his age and look how I turned out.”
•“He pays attention when it’s something he likes, such as video games.”
•“He’s just not liking school or getting along with the teacher.”

Typically, these children have been diagnosed by a teacher, pediatrician, psychiatrist or therapist and fall into one of these categories:
• ADHD (Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder)
• ODD (oppositional defiant disorder)
• Bipolar Disorder
• Mood Disorder
• Learning Disorder

But is this really what’s going on? And is medication the only answer?
Developmental Psychologist Erik Erikson calls the years between 5-12 the “Industrious” years.
He notes the following in 1959…

Industry (competence) vs. Inferiority
Children are at the stage (aged 5 to 12 yrs) where they will be learning to read and write, to do sums, to do things on their own. Teachers begin to take an important role in the child’s life as they teach the child specific skills.

It is at this stage that the child’s peer group will gain greater significance and will become a major source of the child’s self-esteem. The child now feels the need to win approval by demonstrating specific competencies that are valued by society, and begin to develop a sense of pride in their accomplishments.

If children are encouraged and reinforced for their initiative, they begin to feel industrious and feel confident in their ability to achieve goals. If this initiative is not encouraged, if it is restricted by parents or teacher, then the child begins to feel inferior, doubting his own abilities and therefore may not reach his or her potential.

If the child cannot develop the specific skill they feel society is demanding (e.g. being athletic) then they may develop a sense of inferiority. Some failure may be necessary so that the child can develop some modesty. Yet again, a balance between competence and modesty is necessary. Success in this stage will lead to the virtue of competence. (Simply Psychology, by Saul McLeod published 2008, updated 2013)

Although Erikson’s theories are from the late 50’s early 60’s, his insight and words of wisdom remain. However, today we are beginning to recognize that it’s not necessarily the restriction from parents and teachers that cause a disconnect in the fulfillment of this developmental stage, but rather a discord in their brain and/or body.

If your child has not begun speaking by age 4 or 5, then a speech delay diagnosis is made and intervention occurs to improve the situation. Similarly, if your child is not industrious and confident during this period of middle childhood (5-12 years old), they are medicated and told that there’s something wrong with them. Or worse, they are told that they are the problem and are not making good choices, which furthers the Inferiority Erikson speaks of.

As a Neurofeedback therapist, I see this inability to enjoy and be successful at school, trouble with peers, and chronic low self-esteem as a delay in functioning and is needing intervention. I look at what is going on inside their brain and body’s that is interfering with the child’s quest towards competence and then work hard to help correct the situation. By evaluating the child as a whole rather than just identifying behaviors checked off of a checklist, we can then treat the child as a whole, which they are.

Most diagnosis and treatment is done through an evaluation of symptoms. Symptoms such as:
• Always being on the go.
• Can’t sit still…anywhere.
• Impulsive behaviors or thoughts.
• Easily distracted.
• Not following directions.
• Requiring multiple re-directions.
• Oppositional, saying NO or refusing to work.

Erikson didn’t mention any of these diagnosis or symptoms when he was observing this developmental stage, yet so many kids suffer from an inability to achieve the Competence he speaks of.

SO WHAT COULD IT BE
AND WHAT DO WE DO ABOUT IT?
The first step in helping your child is to identify what is delayed and where in the brain and body that may be coming from. In our office we will perform a clinical interview for a history and list of symptoms. Then, through a mix of experience, testing and reporting we can identify what is happening in the brain and in the body. Once identified, we use Neurofeedback and nutritional counseling as modalities for intervention.

WHAT IS NEUROFEEDBACK?
Neurofeedback, also known as EEG biofeedback, has been studied and practiced since the late 60’s.  Neurofeedback is exercise for your brain. It allows you to see the frequencies produced by different parts of your brain in real-time and then through visual and auditory feedback, teaches the brain to better regulate itself. Neurofeedback can be used to help detect, stimulate, and/or inhibit activity in the brain safely and without medication. It can help restore a wider “range of motion” in brain states, much like physical therapy does for the body.

Do you have Optimal Mental Health?

By Renee Chillcott, LMHC

DO YOU HAVE OPTIMAL MENTAL HEALTH?Mental health is a broad term that encompasses our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It can also have a profound impact on our physical health and daily functioning. Mental health affects how we think, feel and act as we cope with situations and is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.

At The Brain and Wellness Center in Boca Raton, our mission is to help bring education and optimal mental health to the clients that we serve. We enjoy utilizing all of our skills in order to enhance the quality of life and bring hope towards a better future for our clients.

HOW DO I REACH OPTIMAL MENTAL HEALTH?
Being mentally healthy can be achieved in different ways for different people. At our clinic, we don’t take a one-size-fits-all attitude. Instead we customize each session to fit the individual and base this on their needs, symptoms, and individual differences. We offer several different services in house and will not hesitate to refer for services we don’t offer if they’re needed. Through Neurofeedback, EMDR, and counseling, optimal mental health is within reach.

EMDR
EMDR or Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, focuses on the memories we have that were stored incorrectly and therefore continue to disturb us, even if we’ve reasoned them out. These memories get stored in the emotional part of our brain, so accessing them leaves us feeling as if we are still in the midst of them, all the same hurt comes back. EMDR allows the brain to tap into these feeling memories and conjoin them with more logical reasoning so that we can heal them. We don’t lose the memories but we lose the emotional grip they have on us.

What are the Symptoms that can be helped by EMDR?
High anxiety and lack of motivation
Depression
Memories of a traumatic experience
Fear of being alone
Unrealistic feelings of guilt and shame
PTSD
Difficulty in trusting others
Relationship problems

IS EMDR NEW?
Since the initial medical study in 1989 positive therapeutic results with EMDR have been reported with the following populations:
People who have witnessed or been a victim to a disaster
Clients suffering from PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder)
Suffers of panic disorders and anxiety attacks
Suffers of phobias
Chemically dependent clients
Persons exposed to excess loss
Crime victims
First Responders
Accident or burn victims

EMDR is similar to that of REM sleep, when our eyes move as we sleep, our brain is able to process the information we have collected through the day. In an EMDR session, your eyes are guided with hand movements or tappers, back and forth at a good pace. While the movement is happening, you may experience different memories, thoughts about the memories, feelings may come up and they may sometimes be intense. Through this process, you will be guided and supported. By the end of the process, your memory, and thoughts about the memory will be different. It won’t hold the same feelings for you anymore, and you may see yourself, and indeed your life, in a new way.

EMDR is a powerful tool with children as well, helping them move past fears and behaviors triggered by past events. It is done through play and can help move children through tough times with less stigmatizing affects. The children continue to work through therapy in play, with the EMDR allowing the brain to work out their feelings much faster.

COUNSELING
There is no “right or wrong” way to benefit from counseling. Rather, it’s all about the “fit” and needs of our clients. At The Brain and Wellness Center we offer many different options and techniques of counseling to fit those needs. Different counseling styles and approaches for individual clients of all ages, couples and families; make us a unique and inviting place to heal and grow.

Our Therapists:
Kristan Torres, LMHC – Hope Christian Counseling
Hccounseling.com
Tina Landeen, LCSW – Harmony Family Counseling
Myharmonytherapy.com
Renee Chillcott, LMHC –
The Brain and Wellness Center
Bocabraincenter.com

Am I Controlling the Way I Think or is it Controlling Me?

Am I Controlling the Way I Think or is it Controlling Me?

Have you ever wondered “what’s going on in her brain” about your 6 year old? Or “what in the world makes him act that way”about your husband? Or have you ever been around someone and struggled to figure out why they say the things that they say?

Psychological theorists such as Albert Ellis have taught us that how we think will directly affect how we feel which in turn affects how we behave. Yes, this is true, but what controls our thinking?

I’ve tried and tried but I feel as if there’s a force that keeps me from fixing this thinking even though I know it needs to change.

Neuroscience research has discovered the phenomenon of “Neuroplasticity” which is simply defined as the brain’s ability to change throughout a person’s life. Researchers believe that our experiences and thoughts can change neuron firing patterns. It is also believed that injuries to either the structure of the brain (lesions, tumors) or to the soft tissue (closed head injury, brain bruise) can also change neuron firing patterns as well as psychological trauma, viruses, and chemicals either from medication, substance abuse, or the environment. And of course, there are many more of us that have inherited a disrupted brain pattern and have to sit back and watch history repeat itself through generations.

We are extremely vulnerable to changes in the neuron firing patterns in our brain. But does that mean that we’re all doomed? Not exactly. Because not all conditions cause disruption, we really have no way of knowing if a traumatic event, hereditary condition or external force will or will not impact our brain. So we’re left wondering, is my brain pattern controlling me? Or am I controlling my brain pattern?

First, what does a disrupted pattern look like? Here’s an example; when the neural pattern in the frontal lobe of the brain is disrupted, it is suffice to say that emotions will be impacted. Depending on the precise area as well as details of the disruption, we are able to predict possible executive functioning difficulties, depression, anxiety, negative thinking, word finding problems, OCD behaviors, anger control issues, impulsivity, trauma responses, and problems with social interactions, just to name a few. So as the neuron firing pattern is out of balance or not working properly, our thought patterns can also be out of balance and not working properly.

The Relationship between Nutrition and Brain

By Renee Chillcott, LMHC

The Relationship between   Nutrition and BrainYOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT 
We’ve all heard this saying before… but what would you say if I told you, “What you eat affects how you feel”? The fuel we give our body is the same fuel we give our brains. So it’s not a surprise that if you eat overly processed foods or too many sugars, you have an increased tendency towards anxiety, depression, attention/focus problems and many more. A child’s brain, for instance, cannot focus on school work or testing if it’s overcome with processing and breaking down food loaded with chemicals.

How do I know if what I eat is affecting my mood?
The National Institute of Health states: the following are health risks of being overweight or obese…
Coronary Heart Disease, High Blood Pressure, Stroke, Type 2 Diabetes, Abnormal Blood Fats, Metabolic Syndrome, Cancer, Osteoarthritis, Sleep Apnea, OHS, Gallstones

And, according to the American Psychological Association obesity can cause:
Depression, Anxiety, Eating disorders, Stress

According to Medscapeobesity/over weight is comorbid with:
Schizophrenia, ADHD, Major Depressive Disorder/Suicide, Abuse/Trauma

I’m not overweight or obese, so I guess that means I’m mentally healthy, and this anxiety can be behaviorally controlled?

Incorrect. How much you weigh DOES NOT indicate how HEALTHY you are and most certainly does not indicate how mentally healthy you are.  What is being overlooked is the connection between what we eat, how well we process it in our body and what that means to our brain and mental health.

 

FAST FOOD MAKES ME CRANKY!
According to Harvard Health Publication”The brain has a direct effect on the stomach. For example, the very thought of eating can release the stomach’s juices before food gets there. This connection goes both ways. A troubled intestine can send signals to the brain, just as a troubled brain can send signals to the gut. Therefore, a person’s stomach or intestinal distress can be the cause or the product of anxiety, stress, or depression. That’s because the brain and the gastrointestinal (GI) system are intimately connected — so intimately that they should be viewed as one system.”

How often do you go to the Psychiatrist or Psychologist with anxiety or depression and they ask you what you are eating? Do they test your nutrition through bloodwork or DNA analysis (Hair Analysis)? Do you have toxic metals in your system contributing to anxiety, depression, or hyperactivity? Do you have slow metabolism causing insomnia? Or do you have inflammation causing depression? Unfortunately, more often than not, our nutritional states are not being evaluated by our physicians or therapists.

 

What if I eat a fairly healthy diet but still have issues with anxiety or depression?
Malabsorption, slow metabolism, toxic metals, yeast, auto-immune disease, and inflammation are just a few of the conditions we see that exacerbate or cause mental health difficulties. And these can occur from eating healthy foods such as broccoli or kale. Everyone’s body is working at a unique level and what may be beneficial or healthy for one person, can cause stomach upset and anxiety for another. At The Brain and Wellness Center, we offer services in conjunction with Dr. Serena Bordes, ND, DOM ,Lac, that measure the mineral content in your hair. With this information, a world of metabolic events can be interpreted. Not only can your nutritional status be viewed but we can also learn much about how efficiently your body is working. We can detect toxic metals, mineral and element imbalances, metabolism rates and absorption issues, as well as profiles including but not limited to hypoglycemia and candidiasis.

Don’t forget your Brain Training.
Neurofeedback works to regulate your Central Nervous System and the Autonomic Nervous System. These systems control information to hormone centers of the brain like the pituitary gland, as well as balancing the brain and “un-sticking” the “fight or flight” response that controls our CNS and ANS. This not only affects our metabolism and endocrine functioning but also causing emotional problems such as panic attacks and anxiety. Neurofeedback teaches the brain to balance neurons and to self-regulate or become “more flexible” in adjusting to stressful situations. Through this self-regulation, symptoms of anxiety, depression, ADHD, ect. will reduce or be eliminated.

Does Neurofeedback Really Work? And How Can I Tell?

By Renee Chillcott, LMHC

Does Neurofeedback Really Work? And How Can I Tell?We are frequently asked to explain Neurofeedback and then to show the results of training.  This isn’t the easiest task for us to master and I am writing this article to attempt to explain why.  The easiest way for me to relate information is through anecdotal metaphors so here it goes:

My father, at the request of my mother, goes to the doctor and they run bloodwork. The results revealed elevated PSA levels.  Prostate cancer was indicated, however, it was at a very early stage, so the Doctor advised my father to “get healthy” and come back in 6 months.

“Get Healthy” is a very broad term that is heard every day and you are supposed to know what it means.  But what exactly does it mean?  Does it mean just lower PSA count? Or a lower weight on the scale?  What in the world does HEALTHY mean?

What his Doctor didn’t explain more clearly is that there is no one value for “healthy” and that it means different things for different people.  What we measure in body can fluctuate and change from day to day and should be used as a guide rather than being taken literally.  Mental health is no different.

Neurofeedback works to make your brain “healthier” the same way that diet and exercise work to make your body “healthier”.  It’s difficult to put a number to health as it is a “STATE” rather than a goal.  The state of being physically healthy or mentally healthy means several systems working together in a positive harmony.

When you’re working to achieve physical health, the results can be difficult to quantify.  You may see some numbers change, however, the most significant indication that you are getting healthy is by how you “feel”.
If you feel healthy, you are healthy.  If you don’t feel better, you seek out another avenue or treatment.  Feeling better is the ultimate goal.

Why Do I have The Summertime Blues?

By Renee Chillcott, LMHC

Why Do I have The Summertime Blues?When we think of summer we imagine swimming pools, beach time, picnics, vacations and loads of fun-in-the-sun.  Our emotions are happy and carefree.  We don’t usually imagine depression or anxiety during the summer months, as we reserve that emotion for the winter.

So why does summer mean increased depression, anxiety and headaches for me or my loved ones?

The answer is simple….INFLAMMATION. But what exactly is inflammation?

The term for opening of capillaries and increased flow of blood is called vasodilation. Capillaries open and an increase in blood flow occurs in the area. An area of injury may visibly swells up and we describe the area as “swollen” or “inflamed”. In the case of body temperature, “when we are too hot, blood vessels supplying blood to the skin can swell or dilate (vasodilation). This allows more warm blood to flow near the surface of the skin, where the heat can be lost to the air.” After healing or a reduction in body temperature, the capillaries return to normal through a process called vasoconstriction. This process is happening on an almost consistent basis during the summer months when temperatures can reach into the 90’s to 100’s, even in the evenings and early mornings.

If the capillaries do not close or do not close fast enough, we help them along. We apply ice (constricting the capillaries) or take a medication that reduces inflammation (such as ibuprofen) or promotes vasoconstriction (such as caffeine).

But, what happens to our heads if our body temperature rises, we experience vasodilation, but then do not experience vasoconstriction? A headache occurs. This is the result of increased blood flow we can feel through pain receptors covering the brain or scalp.

What if there is increased blood flow in our actual brain? This part of our body does not have pain receptors. Our brain doesn’t technically “feel” pain. The result of increased blood flow in the brain that does not constrict is what we call Brain Inflammation.

 

What are some causes of vasodilation or increased blood flow in the brain?

  • Heat or increased body temperature
  • Inflammatory foods such as Gluten or Dairy
  • Traumatic Brain/Head injuries
  • Concussions
  • Viruses such as Lyme
  • Medications such as Antibiotics or Anesthesia
  • Illness, Sinus irritation or colds/flu

 What happens if there is increased blood flow (inflammation) in a part of the body that we cannot see?
After vasodilation or increases in blood flow, the brain, just as with other parts of the body should enter a period of vasoconstriction where blood flow decreases. If this does not happen, the blood flow or swelling remains. Unlike swelling in a wrist or ankle, the swelling that remains in your brain is not easily observed. Our first indication that we have increased blood flow that is not constricting is from symptoms.

Some of the symptoms that result from Brain Inflammation are:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety or related disorders
  • Brain Fog
  • Fatigue
  • Trouble with memory
  • Trouble with concentration
  • Trouble with learning
  • New allergies or sensitivities to food
  • Headaches
  • Irritability
  • Increased pain
  • Insomnia or sleep problems

 

How do I fix brain inflammation?
Because we cannot see increased blood flow in the brain without special equipment, it can be difficult to know it is happening. As mentioned earlier, there are not pain receptors in the brain so we don’t have pain to indicate swelling or inflammation. Typically, we notice symptoms that do not seem to resolve as an indication that there’s a problem that needs to be fixed. There are medications that can provide some relief. However, when we are prescribing medication based solely off of symptoms, you can easily end up on the wrong medication track and not receive relief. Natural anti-inflammatory supplements can also provide relief as well as an adjustment to diet or change in lifestyle. However we recommend an evaluation and EEG study to confirm the inflammation and then suggest the appropriate treatment options for your situation.

 

What is an EEG study?

 

An EEG study or QEEG (Quantitative EEG) is also called a brain map and does just that…it gives us a map of what is going on with the entire brain at one time. We attach electrodes to the whole head, 19 spots, and then record the brain waves with eyes open for 5 minutes and with eyes closed for 10 minutes. This recording is then sent to be read and analyzed. We provide a summary of significant findings and the report shows the result of analyzing the data several different ways. The brain activity is not only compared spot by spot over the entire head, but we can also look at connections, symmetry, how different parts are communicating and all of this data is compared to a database of peers (same sex, handedness and age). It can help us see what areas of the brain have increased blood flow by indicating what areas of the brain have excessive amounts of slower neuron activity (slow neurons promote more blood flow). Another study that can be helpful is the SPECT scan.

Why can’t my child learn?

By Renee Chillcott, LMHC

Why can’t my child learn?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trying to figure out why your child is not successful in the classroom can be a frustrating and exhausting endeavor for parents to undertake.

  • Is it Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)?
  • Is it an Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)?
  • Is it a Central Processing Disorder?
  • Or is it an Auditory/Visual Processing Disorder?
  • Could it be a Sensory Processing Disorder?
  • Or does my child have a low IQ?
  • Are they on the Autism Spectrum?
  • Or are they lazy or oppositional and a behavioral problem?

The truth of the matter is, if your child is struggling in school, they may have one, several, all, or none of these. In most cases, children of all ages want to learn. We are programed as human beings to value education. It’s only when what we want is inconsistent or incongruent with how we perform that an issue will arise. For example, if a child is 5 years old and hasn’t developed language, we say that there is a developmental delay and investigate the causes. The same holds true for a child that is struggling to learn. Instead of constantly demanding that the child change their behavior so that they can learn, instead it is more important to look for the reasons why they can’t. Detecting the inconsistency is the key to helping them succeed.

 

HOW DO I KNOW? AND WHAT DO I DO TO FIX IT?
There are different ways that you can determine what is happening with your child to prevent school success. They can be evaluated by teachers; evaluated by school staff; sent for specialized testing; evaluated by a physician; or by a therapist. You may also be able to use Google, search the internet, and read books that will point you to a reason or cause. However, the best, most effective, way of know what is going on inside your child’s brain is to look at it. With NEUROFEEDBACK and a QEEG (Quantitative EEG or Brain Map), it becomes possible to see the neural patterns in the brain that help us learn, focus, concentrate, and even follow directions. Once we identify the patterns that are not working properly NEUROFEEDBACK TRAINING (Brain Biofeedback Training), and/or PACE and iLS Training teach the brain to correct these patterns.

 

WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT TO SEE CHANGE?
Symptom relief with Brain Training can vary from person to person; some common improvements we see in people with learning issues are:

  • Increased Focus time
  • Less Homework Struggle
  • Increased amount of completed assignments
  • Improved working memory
  • Calmer and less fidgeting
  • Improved grades
  • More compliance
  • Better motivation

 

WHAT IS PACE / ILS?
PACE and iLS are learning systems that were developed to “exercise” the learning pathways in the brain. A cognitive Skills Assessment allows us to identify areas of learning that need improvement. A customized plan is then developed with one on one training to implement intense mental and physical movement exercises that stimulate the brain to make lasting changes in how it performs. The program targets the following areas:

  • Attention
  • Auditory Processing
  • Comprehension
  • Logic/Reasoning
  • Memory
  • Planning
  • Processing Speed
  • Visual Processing

 

WHAT IS A QEEG (Quantitative EEG) OR BRAIN MAP?
The QEEG is a quantitative EEG. It’s also called a brain map and does just that…it gives us a map of what is going on with the entire brain at one time. We attach electrodes to the entire head, 19 spots, and then record the brain waves with eyes open for 5 minutes and with eyes closed for 10 minutes. This recording is then read and analyzed. We provide a summary of significant findings as well as a full report that shows the results of analyzing the data several different ways. The brain activity is not only compared by individual locations over the entire head, but we can also look at connections, symmetry, how different parts are communicating and all of this data is compared to a database of peers (same sex, handedness and age). It can help us see what areas need to be addressed more efficiently than just training spot by spot. We don’t always need this data to make improvements in symptoms but we do recommend it in certain situations. A QEEG can also be helpful information when diagnosing and/or trying to decide the best medication/supplement recommendations.

What is LENS Neurofeedback and how can it work for me?

By Renee Chillcott, LMHC

What is LENS Neurofeedback and how can it work for me?LENS (Low Energy Neurofeedback System) was developed in 1990 by a man named Len Ochs. This was not, however, when Neurofeedback as a science and practice was developed. Neurofeedback or it may also be known as, EEG Biofeedback, EEG Neurotherapy, or Neurotherapy has been studied and practiced since the late 60’s. It is exercise for your brain; allowing you to see the frequencies produced by different parts of your brain in real-time and then through visual and auditory feedback, teaches the brain to better regulate itself. Neurofeedback can be used to help detect, stimulate, and/or inhibit activity in the brain safely and without medication. It can help restore a wider “range of motion” in brain states, much like physical therapy does for the body. EEG Neurofeedback helps you regulate the Central Nervous System (CNS) and the CNS determines how we function in life.

With the LENS system, electrodes are placed on the head in a similar manner, however, in addition to measuring and recording the neural patterns, the LENS system sends a gentle radio wave frequency through the electrodes that matches and reduces the intensity of the electrical patterns in the brain. The ultimate goal is for the brain to be taught through the feedback of it’s own energy. In our office we may use the LENS system exclusively or in conjunction with traditional Neurofeedback.

 

What does this mean to you, the client?
Increased reduction of THETA waves, accelerating healing time. This can be very effective for ADHD clients that have a large THETA/BETA ratio as well as Traumatic Brain Injuries from accidents, chemicals, Lyme Disease, and Autism to name a few.

As waves sent into the brain can occur quicker than auditory reinforcement, the sessions are significantly reduced. This is very helpful for autistic children who have difficulty sitting for extended periods of time and it allows us to “add” LENS onto traditional treatment protocols.

Very effective at helping the brain re-organize neural firing patterns, most significantly, when there are “stuck” neural firing patterns. Again, accelerating healing time and improving symptoms more quickly.

 

Is LENS safe?
LENS, as well as traditional Neurofeedback is extremely safe. As discussed in several articles and books regarding the LENS Neurofeedback system, it uses a frequency of radiowaves that is significantly less than the frequency emitted from electrical wiring within walls and “these levels are lower in intensity than the electrical field that surrounds digital wrist watches”. The frequency is also delivered in very short intervals, ranging from 1 second to 1 minute. Moreover, the LENS Neurofeedback system not only requires very little participation from the client, it also accommodates for traditional Neurofeedback artifacts of movement and restlessness. This has made LENS a highly beneficial treatment option for people on the Spectrum or suffering from motor skill impairments. Neurofeedback is an FDA approved treatment that is safe and effective for children and adults of all ages. Call us today to determine how LENS and Neurofeedback can help you.

 

What conditions does the LENS help with?

  • Cognition – Problems sequencing, memory, providing and maintaining attention, concentration, clarity and organization.
  • Mood – Anger, sadness, explosiveness.
  • Motor – Lack of grace, problems of eye-hand coordination, balance, increased muscle tone (from spasticity) and tremor.
  • Motivation – Problems initiating tasks, shifting from one activity to another, and/or completing tasks.
    Anxiety – Problems of anxiety system activity (too much uncomfortably-contained energy), persistent “anxiety”, restlessness, rumination, agitation, distractibility, difficulty breathing, palpitations, tremor exacerbation, and sleep interruption.
  • Reactivity – Hyper-reactivity, hypersensitivity, multiple chemical sensitivities.
  • Pain – Brain-generated pain (mis-mapping the origins and qualities of signals), and vascular pain.
  • Addictions/Dependencies – Lack of clarity about emotions and self-comforting, defensiveness, argumentativeness and cynicism.
  • Fatigue – Fatigue; or fatigue as a phenomenon secondary to the effort of trying to overcome the pain and/or the above impediment to functioning more easily.
  • Performance Optimization – Increases in functioning in the above areas in absence of any diagnosis.