Our son was like all kids diagnosed with ADHD...ADD. Many challenges in school...staying on task, not handing in homework, failing classes, the list goes on...
We had him on meds from 1st grade until the last day of 5th grade. We just didn’t see how meds were doing any good, his skin was gray and he was so thin his ribs stuck out, and he wasn’t growing.
6th grade – 10th grade was a big challenge....The end of 10th grade we found Focus for Success !!!
Our son is now in his second semester of 11th grade...PASSING all classes, better focused, and his self esteem is so much better.
We just had an IEP meeting and his case manger commented on how much he has improved !!!
We do many things at Cedarbrook to help improve lives. We are most passionate about helping kids be successful -- that is to be someone who is respectful, responsible, and fun to be around.
We're not here to help your child become the best reader on the block, a virtuoso musician, or an Olympic gold medalist. We just want to help kids be the best that they can be.
The International Headache Society recognizes more than 150 diagnostic headache categories. When we get a headache, the doctor doesn't jump right away to "it's a brain tumor!"
There are over 59 causes of attention difficulties. Let's not jump right away to "it must be ADHD!"
FACT: The Great Smokey Mountain study found that "...over 57% of those who received medication did not meet the criteria" for ADHD.
SOURCE: Parens, E. and Johnston, J.: Facts, values, and Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): an update on the controversies. Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health 2009, 3:1
FACT: A clinical report to the Western Australia government found that ADHD is misdiagnosed 75% of the time.
SOURCE: Education and Health Standing Committee of Western Australia, October 2004. Inquiry into Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in Western Australia. Western Australia. Parliament. Legislative Assembly. Committees. Education and Health Standing Committee. Report 8
More facts and figures to come....
Neurofeedback is brain wave biofeedback or EEG biofeedback. The electrical activity of the brain is read with special sensors and recorded by the computer (electroencephalogram or EEG). Without the computer reading our brain signals we don't know what our brain activity is -- and so we aren't able to change it. But neurofeedback gives us that information.
You learn to change brain wave patterns by playing computer "games." For example, you make a fish swim to the bottom of the ocean if you focus and concentrate. As soon as you lose focus, the fish goes to the top. This feedback allows you to experience exactly what it is like to focus. With repeated practice, focus becomes automatic.
With neurofeedback, you learn to change patterns of brain waves through operant conditioning. Research shows that some neurological and psychological disorders can be characterized by distinctive EEG patterns and that neurofeedback may help clients to change those patterns. (Masterpasqua and Healey, 2003, Neurofeedback in Psychological Practice.)
There are a number of brain waves - the chart shows the most common ones.
Focus for Success is Cedarbrook's program to improve focus, attention, and concentration. To find out about, or register for, free informational sessions call Sandy at (218) 822-3736
Informational sessions are held at our offices on Tuesdays.
Information Sessions generally last one hour. We give background information on focus and attention, describe aspects of our program, and give a demonstration of the most exciting aspect of our program: NASA-inspired computer activities that are activated by your brain waves using neurofeedback.
Afterward, if you choose to find out more, we will meet with you individually for a more in-depth attention screening session. For this reason (and due to the lack of space) we request that the informational sessions be for adults only.
For more information call Sandy at 218-822-3736 or toll-free 1-888-268-7220.
The booklet Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) was published by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) in 2009. It is a good resource stating the current conventional wisdom (generally accepted and sometimes wrong beliefs) and treatment standards regarding ADHD.
However, conventional wisdom about ADHD
- doesn't tell the whole story,
- is influenced by pharmaceutical industry marketing and involvement in research,
- is outright wrong sometimes.
Society has mistakenly come to believe that there is one cause of attention difficulties (ADHD) and one treatment (stimulant medication). We believe this because the pharmaceutical industry has good marketing. Actually, there are over 59 causes of attention difficulties - we call them the ADHD Imitators.
In order to improve attention difficulties, we need to know which of the 59 causes are impacting you or your child.
Every now and then I come across an article I wish I had written. This one is The Business of ADHD by Child Psychiatrist Winston Chung, MD. If I had written it, I would have titled it ADHD Greed.
Three highlights are:
* The American Psychiatric Association is considering lowering the number of symptoms needed for an ADHD diagnosis from 6 to 4. This is alarming because we already medicate 57% of children who don't meet the current criterion. Lowering the number of symptoms needed will surely increase the number of children wrongfully receiving unneeded medication. Woops, I forgot. It's about profits.
* Researchers promise pharmaceutical companies results that would benefit the drug company -- before they conduct the study!
* Allen Frances, MD, Chair of the Task Force that created the current diagnostic criteria for ADHD (and other disorders) laments that his group "inadvertently contributed to three false 'epidemics' - attention deficit disorder, autism and childhood bipolar disorder. Clearly, our net was cast too wide and captured many 'patients' who might have been far better off never entering the mental health system."
For years I have been critical of these three "epidemics" which I call "diagnosis du jour".
Focus for Success is individualized to meet your needs and goals. A typical program is as follows:
Individual introductory and attention screening session. Initial goals are set and your focus history is reviewed. Initial recommendations and program components are selected.
Individual computer assisted concentration sessions. There are some aspects of the program that are beneficial to all. If appropriate, we get you started with one-on-one individual education sessions using neurofeedback. This system, originally used by NASA to train astronauts and Air Force pilots, is adapted to help you increase:
- attention stamina
- time on task
- working (short-term) memory sequencing
- visual tracking
- discriminatory processing
- spatial memory
These skills are essential to improving concentration, academics, behavior, social interaction, and also benefit self-esteem.
Group computer assisted concentration sessions. After you've learned to focus and concentrate, we help you transfer those skills to the real world. Gradually we increase distractions and move you to a group setting so you can practice your skills in a school-like or work-like atmosphere. You'll still be working with your coach/teacher but in a group setting. Other program components added based upon your initial assessment and progress.
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