Neurofeedback for ADHD/Learning Disabilities

Neurofeedback for ADHD/Learning Disabilities

What is Neurofeedback ?

Neurofeedback, also known as Neurotherapy, is a painless, non-invasive treatment that allows individuals to gain information about the brainwaves activity. The information is used to learn to raise and lower specific brainwave activity.

Available research indicates that individuals with ADD/ADHD are also deficient in SMR brainwave activity. Clinicians and researchers who have provided Neurofeedback report that symptoms of ADD/ADHD are usually reduced when brainwave activity is changed.

Neurofeedback is being used as an adjacent or alternative treatment to medication and behavior management.

How is Neurofeedback performed?

Computerized biofeedback equipment is connected to the individual by two sensors placed on the top of the scalp and earlobe. The sensors are safe and painless, they do not prick the skin.

The individual performs an assortment of tasks while receiving instant visual and auditory feedback in their theta, beta, and SMR brainwave activity. The information is used to help them learn to change brainwaves to desired levels.

How Successful is Neurofeedback?

Many clinicians and researchers who have administered Neurofeedback to individuals with ADD/ADHD report improvement in major areas: school and job performances often improve due to an increased ability to focus, pay attention and concentrate. Social relationships often improve due to an increased ability to demonstrate self-control.


Attention-Defcit Disorder can be seperated into two types: Inattentive Type (ADD) and Hyperactive Impulsive Type (ADHD).

People with ADD usually exhibit some of the following syptoms:

    • Inattention
    • Distractibility
    • Disorginization
    • Dreaming
    • Lack of Foresight
    • Carelessness
    • Forgetfullness
    • Lack of Motivation
    • Lack of Persistance
    • Procrastination

People with ADHD usually exhibit some of the following syptoms:

    • Hyperactivity
    • Restlessness/Fidgeting
    • Excessive talking
    • Impulsivity
    • Difficulties with learning/concentrating in school/work
    • Behavaior control
    • Social Relationships
    • Self Esteem Problems


Does Neurofeedback produce negative effects?

Lack of side effects is one of the strengths of Neurofeedback.

How frequent are Neurofeedback sessions?

Sessions occur two or three times a week in the initial stages of training. As progress is made, sessions can be reduced to one or two times per week. The last few sessions are scheduled one to three months apart.

How long does Neurofeedback take?

Neurofeedback is a training process where improvement takes place over time. The average effective treatment requires 40 one hour sessions. Learning to change brainwaves is similar to learning how to ride a bicycle. It takes a while to learn, but once it is learned, it is never forgotten. Improvement in behavior are usually durable. A small percentage of individuals may need booster sessions.


Brain Wave Frequencies

ALPHA: Between 7.5 and 13Hz. Usually observed in the posterior regions of the head on each side brought out by closing the eyes and by relaxation, and estimated by eye opening or by concentration.

BETA: 14 Hz. And greater. Usually most evident frontally-may be absent or reduced in areas of damage. Increases beta response when trying to focus is necessary.

THETA: 3.5 to 7.5 Hz. Classed as “slow” activity. It is abnormal in awake adults and predominant in children with attention deficit and LD.

DELTA: 3 Hz. or below. Tends to be the highest in amplitude. Increased delta response when attending to a task is a severe abnormality. This brainwave diminishes when high focus and increased attention is required.


What assessment is necessary?

An initial Brain Map is required to determine irregulated brain waves., as well as a complete Neuro-Psychological Testing to assess range of deficits.

Is there research on Neurofeedback?

Universities, government hospitals, and treatment facilities are performing research in Neurofeedback and LD. Such research is presently being published in scientific journals.

Is the treatment permanent?

Since Neurofeedback is a learning process, once advance have been made they do not require re-training to stay at the level unless trauma occurs, causing new problems or reactivating old ones.

What extra modalities are involved?

Besides Neurofeedback training, cognitive rehabilitation and executive skills which are the foundation of all higher cognitive functioning, and parent training will be required. The teacher may be asked to evaluate the child’s performance in school. Reading and writing programs may be involved in the final treatment plan. Cognitive rehabilitation involves computerized and hands-on training to alleviate cognitive, motor, perceptual speech and language deficits in a child with a Learning Disability.


What are Learning Difficulties?


Neurological in origin, learning disabilities impede a child’s ability to store, process, and produce information. Learning Disabilities can affect the ability to read, write, communicate, and can impair socialization skills. Poor performance on school tests, difficulty with time concepts, distorted concept of body image, difficulty discriminating size, shape, and . Other symptoms include inability to consistently complete work on time, poor spatial and organizational skills, and failure to see consequences for his or her actions. Plus there are variations in mood, poor adjustment to environment changes and difficulty concentrating

There is a 15 to 20% of the U.S. population that has some form of learning disability (LD) , according to estimates derived from the latest research  conducted through the Nations Institute of Health on reading disabilities. There are approximately 2.4 million school children in the U.S. who have been diagnosed with having a learning disability. Thousands more probably go undiagnosed and untreated. ADD/ADHD sometimes co-occur with LD.

Early diagnosis and appropriate intervention and support are vital for individuals with LD. Without early and adequate

Identification and intervention, learning disabilities can lead to serious consequences for the individual and for society.

Types of Learning Disorders:

  • Cognitive Disorganization and Perceptual Problems.
  • Developmental Expressive Disorder
  • Receptive Language Disorder
  • Developmental Writing Disorder
  • Developmental Reading Disorder


Spoken Language: delays, disorders and deviations in listening and speaking.

Reasoning: difficulty in organizing and integrating thoughts.

Writing Language: difficulties with reading, writing and spelling.

Arithmetic: difficulty in performance of arithmetic operations and understanding basic concepts.

Dyslexia – A Brain Disorder

Dyslexic children use nearly five times the brain area as normal children while performing a simple language tasks, according to a study by a team of University of Washington researchers. The study shows that there are chemical differences in the brain function of dyslexic and non-dyslexic children. The research also provides evidence that dyslexia is a brain-base disorder.

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