As a parent, all you want is to see your child succeed in their life. If your child suffers from a brain-based issue or disorder, daily functioning becomes more difficult which can burden families. Brain-based issues can include everything from anxiety and depression to learning disabilities to behavioral issues. Parents often struggle to find the right course of treatment to ensure that their child can grow up to be a well-adjusted adult and experience academic, career, and personal success. Success in the formative years of their youth is crucial. If your child is struggling to succeed, neurofeedback may be the treatment of choice, and here’s why.
April is Autism Awareness Month, a time dedicated to raising awareness of autistic spectrum disorders in a continued effort to improve the quality of life for those struggling. Nationally, a puzzle piece is known to be a symbol for autism awareness because each puzzle piece is different, representing the diversity of the individuals affected, just as each individual case of autism is unique. The reason for classifying autism within the autistic spectrum is because every individual may have a variety of symptoms while simultaneously lacking other symptoms that are commonly associated with autism. In fact, sometimes autism can be difficult to fully identify for this reason.
In 2013, new diagnostic criteria were developed to identify autism within three levels of support. However, there are no particular criteria that would automatically assign someone to a level as each case varies greatly. The term “high-functioning autism” refers to a person who may have mild symptoms of autism that are significant enough to warrant a diagnosis, yet who’s symptoms do not completely align with classic autism. This makes pinning down a diagnosis difficult at times. The diagnosis of Level 1 Autism Spectrum Disorder refers to those who are functional yet exhibit symptoms of autism.
Cerebral palsy, or CP, refers to a group of neurological disorders involving movement due to brain development abnormalities. CP can affect other functions depending on the parts of the brain affected. Symptoms appear in infancy or early in childhood, permanently affecting muscle coordination and movement. The brain damage caused by cerebral palsy can also contribute to problems with speech, hearing, vision, and can be responsible for learning disabilities. Although there is no cure for cerebral palsy, various treatments can help improve quality of life for patients. Neurofeedback can be used to improve and correct brain function, thereby reducing the symptoms of CP.
Low birth weight is considered less than five pounds eight ounces. In the US, 12% of babies are born prematurely. Since the early 80’s the rate of prematurity has risen by 17%. Research consistently finds a greater risk of developmental disabilities as these children move from infancy through adolescence. Prematurity can result in brain injures causing neuromotor and cognitive deficits. Oxygen deprivation and respiratory problems require oxygen supplementation, and can cause permanent injury to the brain and have been linked to later cognitive and motor deficits. Premature, low birth weight and fragile infants often have a variety of disabilities in the areas of cognitive, academic, sensorimotor, social-emotional and behavioral development.
Over the past nearly 20 years, I have worked successfully with children, adolescents, and adults with anxiety disorders using neurofeedback. There are times when anxiety is secondary to a learning or social problem. If a person has a problem with their brain, they cannot trust their brain function and conclusions, which is very anxiety provoking. This is especially true if these challenges have been happening for a long time. In this case, it is necessary to address the neurological underpinnings of the learning problems as well as the anxiety.