Neuroscience now views the brain as a dynamic organ that is capable of changing and regenerating itself.
This means we can literally ‘retrain’ or ‘rewire’ the brains of children with learning disorders or developmental delays to work more effectively. The technique that psychologists now use to do this is called Neurofeedback.
Neurofeedback involves mapping a brain’s activity with the use of brainwave monitoring equipment and sophisticated neurofeedback software.
Sometimes it shows us that a child’s brain wave frequencies aren’t suited to whatever they’re trying to do and sometimes it shows us that parts of the brain aren’t communicating adequately with each other.
These issues are represented on a “brain map” which then helps us determine treatment plans. This involves challenging and exercising the brain so that it learns to function better.
While the brain has an endless capacity for change, rewiring is not a quick fix – it takes slow and steady repetition to encourage the brain to work more effectively.
However, dyslexic, autistic spectrum and developmental disorders have been treated via neurofeedback resulting in significant reductions in symptoms.
Neurofeedback is useful for treating disorders such as Aspergers, Anxiety, Depression, PTSD and Learning Disorders.
In particular it has also been rated as the best practice intervention for children with ADHD as it teaches them how to calm down and concentrate.
How neurofeedback works
It is important to note, especially when dealing with children, that the neurofeedback process is completely harmless and does not send any electrical impulses or subliminal messages into the brain.
It is used purely to provide information to the psychologist about how the brain is working and to give the brain itself feedback about whether it is doing a good job or not.
During a neurofeedback session the client relaxes in a chair and faces a computer screen while we gently apply sensors to the scalp. Wires from the sensors connect to an EEG on the computer that is programmed to respond to the brain’s activity.
Since brain cells communicate with one another through a constant storm of electrical impulses these patterns show up on an EEG as brain waves with different frequencies.
When people have psychological, emotional or developmental problems, these show up on the EEG.
Having visually displayed what’s going on in the brain, the neurofeedback software then ‘exercises’ the brain to teach it how to work optimally.
If the brain behaves as desired, it is encouraged with sounds and visual rewards, like the beeping of a pacman or the images of exploding stars. If not, there is silence and a darkening screen.
Through this process we can help a client learn to slow down or speed up their brain waves through practice and repetition.
Neurofeedback represents the latest in cutting edge technology in psychology. If you would like to find out more call us on …….