Does your child have ADHD? Learning disabilities? Are these the same conditions or are they different? How do they affect your child’s ability to learn and develop a healthy sense of self? These are questions countless parents struggle with as they look for solutions to help their child.
Attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD) and learning disabilities (LD) are two separate but often overlapping conditions. Children with ADHD usually have a hard time paying attention in school – some are day-dreaming and spacy, others are fidgety and impulsive. They may struggle with focusing on and completing the task at hand. Messy rooms, losing homework and forgetting things at school are common.
Learning disabilities affect the brain’s ability to receive, process, analyze, or store information. So, a child with LD may struggle with reading (dyslexia), writing (dysgraphia), math (dyscalculia), in addition to auditory and visual processing. If a child has a learning disability that goes undetected, it may look like they have ADHD in that paying attention, completing a school assignment and following verbal instructions can all be difficult.
All of this can take a toll on your child’s self-esteem. So, of course understanding the nature of your child’s unique situation and finding interventions that specifically address what they need are essential. Neurofeedback can improve both conditions simultaneously.
Neurofeedback aims to “retrain” or “reset” the stressed, under-aroused or over-aroused brain (often a combination of both), so that the brain is functioning more efficiently. For example, a child with ADHD whose under-aroused brain is producing too much alpha and theta (brainwaves associated with dreamy, slow thinking) in the frontal lobe (essential for attention and planning), would benefit from neurofeedback protocol where the brain is “rewarded”, or receives positive auditory and visual stimulation, when the child’s brain is producing less of the slow brainwaves in the frontal cortex.
Similarly, a child who has any type of learning disability could benefit from “rewarding” the parietal lobe of the brain (where much cognitive processing and reasoning occurs) to produce the most effective and optimal brainwaves – usually some combination of decreasing slow and fast wave activity, while increasing mid-range frequencies. This is way oversimplified of course, but gives a sense of how neurofeedback works.
So, does your child have ADHD or a learning disability or both? While it is clearly important to figure out exactly what the issues are, neurofeedback is a non-invasive, pain-free and non-drug therapeutic process that can help your child regardless of the actual diagnosis.
By Heide Rokni, LCSW, LICSW, Neurofeedback Therapist at The Better Brain Center. If you would like to get in touch with Heide please call 833-964-8483 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.