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Old 08-17-2006, 12:10 AM   #1
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kezza35 HB User
Neurotherapy

My 13 year old daughter has a learning disability and was also diagnosed with ADD and depression last year. I took her to a phsycologist who specialises in drug free treatment and he told me he could get her to concentrate and even raise her IQ by 15-20 points with vitamins and Neurotherapy.
I was wondering if anyone has ever tried either of these treatments and if so did it make any difference? I would really love to try this but as it costs a lot of money I don't want to until I have spoken to people that have had it done.

 
Old 08-17-2006, 06:12 PM   #2
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elmhar HB Userelmhar HB User
Re: Neurotherapy

Hi Kezza,

Yes, it is possible to improve things like depression & ADD with brain wave training, if that's the sort of neurotherapy you're referring to. There are many success stories, but it's unusual to get an up-front guarantee.

My son did neurofeedback (another name for the same thing) several yrs. ago. He was a complex case, but did have good improvement in his ADD. Unfortunately, it seems like not all of the gains he made, which were very apparent on completion of therapy, have been maintained over time.

The most important thing to check is the reputation and success rate of the practitioner, and how many "complex" cases he's helped. By complex, I mean more than one problem. Neurofeedback is a powerful tool, and there have been cases reported of individuals who experience setbacks from it. These reports are rare, and in many cases the setbacks are temporary; with feedback to a skilled therapist, different settings can be used to eradicate the setback in most cases. However, my point is, you want a powerful tool to be handled by someone who is very skilled.

Your psychologist will likely not give you names of satisfied clients, for reasons of confidentiality. Therefore, you will have to dig & network around to find people he's helped, and listen to their stories. And check with your licensing authorities, to find out how stuff like neurofeedback is policed in your neck of the woods. You want to make sure you have someone who's got legit degrees, and who's had specialized training in neurofeedback. In the USA, psychologists can study & do supervised work in order to receive certification in nfbk. But, it's also possible for someone to purchase a machine off the internet & set up shop having only read the instruction manual. So you want to check before you invest.

Neurofeedback in the USA costs typically $100 per half-hour session. For simple ADD, typically 40 sessions would be needed. For cases with greater complexity, the sky is the limit ... not really, but you do hear of kids who need 200 or more sessions before all of their issues are addressed & the new brainwave patterns are "locked in." And even then, refresher courses may be needed occasionally, but these are usually much briefer. Some psychologists offer supervised home neurofeedback, which is somewhat less expensive. But it isn't always advisable for more complex cases.

I AM a fan of neurofeedback & have studied it a fair bit. Some things to consider:

1) Does your DD have interest in doing this? If she's not interested, at age 13, I would save my $$. You cannot FORCE people to cooperate with neurofeedback. (There is one specialized type of neurofeedback machine, rarely used, still experimental, that is effective on animals & doesn't require co-operation.)

2) Make sure your daughter has no health issues that might compromise her progress. Have her thyroid thoroughly evaluated, including blood tests for levels of free thyroid hormones. Make sure she is not anemic. Have her tested for environmental & food allergies. All of these things can stall out progress if not addressed.

3) She will need good nutrition to help her brain function develop. More than a vitamin or two. Does she like good nutritious food, or is she a junk addict? Not that you can't do neurofeedback on a junky diet, it's just that you may slow up progress some.

4) A fair bit of boredom can come into play as one moves through a course of neurofeedback. At first, it's new & fairly interesting, but as the sessions progress, it's more of the same -- is your DD easily motivated, or a total novelty seeker? If the latter, it could be tough.

On another note, there are a few things that are very often helpful for ADHD & depression, via nutrition. Many people find their kids make substantial improvement with fish oil or cod liver oil. It's good for ADHD as well as for depression. Look for a brand that's gone through molecular distillation -- these are purer as well more palatable. In the USA our main such brands are Carlson's, Nordic Naturals, and Omega Joy -- but I'm not sure whether they're available in Oz. B vitamin supplements and zinc supplements are also often helpful.

Happy to answer any other questions you have. Best wishes.

 
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Old 08-19-2006, 08:45 PM   #3
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kezza35 HB User
Re: Neurotherapy

Quote:
Originally Posted by elmhar
Hi Kezza,

Yes, it is possible to improve things like depression & ADD with brain wave training, if that's the sort of neurotherapy you're referring to. There are many success stories, but it's unusual to get an up-front guarantee.

My son did neurofeedback (another name for the same thing) several yrs. ago. He was a complex case, but did have good improvement in his ADD. Unfortunately, it seems like not all of the gains he made, which were very apparent on completion of therapy, have been maintained over time.

The most important thing to check is the reputation and success rate of the practitioner, and how many "complex" cases he's helped. By complex, I mean more than one problem. Neurofeedback is a powerful tool, and there have been cases reported of individuals who experience setbacks from it. These reports are rare, and in many cases the setbacks are temporary; with feedback to a skilled therapist, different settings can be used to eradicate the setback in most cases. However, my point is, you want a powerful tool to be handled by someone who is very skilled.

Your psychologist will likely not give you names of satisfied clients, for reasons of confidentiality. Therefore, you will have to dig & network around to find people he's helped, and listen to their stories. And check with your licensing authorities, to find out how stuff like neurofeedback is policed in your neck of the woods. You want to make sure you have someone who's got legit degrees, and who's had specialized training in neurofeedback. In the USA, psychologists can study & do supervised work in order to receive certification in nfbk. But, it's also possible for someone to purchase a machine off the internet & set up shop having only read the instruction manual. So you want to check before you invest.

Neurofeedback in the USA costs typically $100 per half-hour session. For simple ADD, typically 40 sessions would be needed. For cases with greater complexity, the sky is the limit ... not really, but you do hear of kids who need 200 or more sessions before all of their issues are addressed & the new brainwave patterns are "locked in." And even then, refresher courses may be needed occasionally, but these are usually much briefer. Some psychologists offer supervised home neurofeedback, which is somewhat less expensive. But it isn't always advisable for more complex cases.

I AM a fan of neurofeedback & have studied it a fair bit. Some things to consider:

1) Does your DD have interest in doing this? If she's not interested, at age 13, I would save my $$. You cannot FORCE people to cooperate with neurofeedback. (There is one specialized type of neurofeedback machine, rarely used, still experimental, that is effective on animals & doesn't require co-operation.)

2) Make sure your daughter has no health issues that might compromise her progress. Have her thyroid thoroughly evaluated, including blood tests for levels of free thyroid hormones. Make sure she is not anemic. Have her tested for environmental & food allergies. All of these things can stall out progress if not addressed.

3) She will need good nutrition to help her brain function develop. More than a vitamin or two. Does she like good nutritious food, or is she a junk addict? Not that you can't do neurofeedback on a junky diet, it's just that you may slow up progress some.

4) A fair bit of boredom can come into play as one moves through a course of neurofeedback. At first, it's new & fairly interesting, but as the sessions progress, it's more of the same -- is your DD easily motivated, or a total novelty seeker? If the latter, it could be tough.

On another note, there are a few things that are very often helpful for ADHD & depression, via nutrition. Many people find their kids make substantial improvement with fish oil or cod liver oil. It's good for ADHD as well as for depression. Look for a brand that's gone through molecular distillation -- these are purer as well more palatable. In the USA our main such brands are Carlson's, Nordic Naturals, and Omega Joy -- but I'm not sure whether they're available in Oz. B vitamin supplements and zinc supplements are also often helpful.

Happy to answer any other questions you have. Best wishes.
Hi Elmhar, thank you so much for replying to my post, it really helps to talk to someone with similiar problems with their child. If you wouldn't mind could you explain what sorts of problems do you or did you have with your son and which ones were mostly improved with the Neurotherapy. Also did your son have a low IQ and if so was that improved also. I have changed the way my daughter eats and she's been taking Vitamin B, zinc, magnesium and fish oil for about 6 months now, haven't seen much improvement though.
My physcologist comes highly recommended, but I would agree with you, I don't think there's any guarantee's that it will help, but I'm willing to try anything at this point.

Regards,
Kezza

Last edited by kezza35; 08-19-2006 at 08:49 PM.

 
Old 08-20-2006, 11:24 AM   #4
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elmhar HB Userelmhar HB User
Re: Neurotherapy

Hi Kezza,

I'm glad your DD is getting good nutrition & supplements.

Regards your questions about my son, first of all, he did "fixed point" brainwave training with a sensor at one location only to help his ADHD. And it did help that significantly. Some of the benefit is still there 6 yrs. later, but not as much as we saw initially after the therapy.

Our DS does not have a pattern of complexities similar to those of your DD. Our DS is very bright, good IQ and highly gifted in several areas. However, these are his complexities: nonverbal LD, anxiety, social issues (withdrawn) & sometimes low mood. We suspected for many years that he was peripherally on the autistic spectrum, and while he did not have a dx for this when he did neurotherapy, he has since received a dx of PDD-NOS. In addition, our son has a number of documented biochemical abnormalities (common to kids on the ASD spectrum). Some of these have been addressed, others have not. In part because, large teenage boys cannot easily, or legally, be treated against their will.

None of our DS's "complexities" were significantly improved w/neurofeedback. In order to have aimed for that result, we would have had to sign on for more complex neurofeedback which was not available in our community. We did not have the time & money for regular twice-weekly travel & for the more expensive, extensive complex neurotherapy.

What we got from our less-expensive home-training with a "fixed sensor" was improvement in the ADD symptoms, and some reduction in anxiety related to academic productivity, which improved w/reduction in the ADD symptoms. In retrospect we would all do it again, just for that amt of improvement, as our DS does not tolerate ADD meds.

Now, I have heard of many individuals who have benefitted from neurotherapy for ADD. I've also heard of it being helpful for depression, if the more complex therapy involving sensors in different locations is used. There are some, but fewer, stories out there of nfbk success with learning disabilities.

The question, will it raise IQ? is a biggie. Here's how it works: IQ is determined on the basis of one or two standardized tests. If a person can't concentrate due to ADD, or if their perceptual abilities are screwy to to a LD, they won't do well on an IQ test. Ditto for someone who is depressed, fatigued, whatever, as depression slows the brain down & many of the IQ subtests are timed tests. BUT, if you improve ability to concentrate, improve perceptual ability, decrease depression -- any or all of those improvements are likely to yield an improved score on a standardized IQ test.

It is, however, unusual in the USA at least, for a doc to say upfront that he can likely raise IQ a significant number of points. That's why I would advise checking credentials & certifications for yourself.

For neurofeedback to be truly helpful, you have to be prepared to "go the distance" -- to do all of the expensive sessions needed, in order to have lasting improvement. People have gotten into nfbk secretly thinking, we can only afford 1/10th of the sessions, but even a 10% improvement would help. Unfortunately it doesn't work that way. For the improvements to stick, you generally need a lot of sessions, and complexities like depression & LD in addition to the ADHD does add to the total number of sessions needed.

But I do hope, if you decide to go through with this, that your DD achieves significant benefit. And please let us know how it all works out.

Best wishes.

 
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