At this point in the school year, finals are just around the corner. Academic success relies greatly on several contributing factors related to your child’s overall health. Read this list of 4 ways neurotherapy can benefit your child before the hardest academic challenge of the year!
Neurofeedback Improves Sleep – Getting enough sleep is essential to academic success. The brain’s ability to focus is severely compromised when a child is not sleeping well, impacting their ability to focus during class. So much important verbal information can be missed and they may have difficulties completing assignments in the classroom. Memory is also greatly impacted when a child is not getting enough sleep. In order to really remember the lessons learned in class, a child must get a good night of sleep before and after the class. Consistency within your child’s schedule will help your child succeed. Therefore, enforcing a consistent bed time is highly recommended in order to ensure your child gets the sleep he or she needs. Neurofeedback helps train the brain to function healthily, and with the proper treatment protocol, will help improve a person’s ability to fall asleep and have high quality sleep with minimal restlessness.
Health Coaching Improves Nutrition Quality – Did you know that nutrition directly impacts brain function? Therefore, if your child is not getting the daily nutrients the brain needs for optimal functioning, your child’s academic performance will be directly influenced. Nutritional needs can vary depending on the child, as everyone’s brain and body is different. Additionally, if your child suffers from certain disorders, such as ADD/ADHD, poor nutrition can negatively impact the child’s brain, causing symptoms to appear or worsen. Utilizing the help of a health coach can assist you in meal planning for your child to help ensure academic success.
Neurotherapy Reduces Stress and Anxiety – The pressures from academics can provoke a child to experience heightened levels of stress and anxiety, particularly during finals. The effects from stress and anxiety can directly impact how a student performs. The various methods of neurotherapy can help keep a student on track while simultaneously reducing and/or eliminating stress and anxiety. Neurofeedback can be utilized to teach the brain to function calmly, even during moments of high stress, reducing anxiety. With the help of a health coach, achieving excellent nutrition can actually reduce levels of stress and anxiety. When the brain receives the nutrients it needs to function healthily, the brain more equipped to manage stress and anxiety. Talk therapy can help a child express their worries and concerns in a safe space, an effective method of reducing stress and calming anxiety.
Neurofeedback Enhances Overall Performance – During finals, the academic demands on a child are heightened substantially. In addition to the normal workload, studying for exams and completing final projects can be overwhelming to say the least. If your child has trouble focusing, the additional time required to complete all of these tasks may seem impossible. Even if your child performs well academically throughout the year, the extra pressures during finals can be daunting and difficult. The main concept of neurotherapy is that the better the brain functions, the better the person functions. Neurofeedback teaches the brain to work at an optimal level, improving overall performance. Whether a student struggles all year round with academic challenges or the child simply needs a boost during finals, neurofeedback will improve brain function and enhance performance.
April is Autism Awareness Month. In March 2014, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released data showing that 1 in 68 children (1 in 42 boys and 1 in 189 girls) have Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Those with ASD have to struggle through difficult, unwanted symptoms just to function through everyday life.
Neurofeedback has been shown to make significant improvements in symptoms of ASD. Neurofeedback identifies where the brain is having trouble processing information using EEG technology. After the brain map, neurofeedback sessions are created to fit the specific needs of the individual. Neurofeedback sessions are completely natural, identifying the root of the problem within the brain to make long-lasting functional change without any negative side effects. Read the following symptoms that can be improved by neurofeedback sessions for those on the autistic spectrum.
1. Stimming – Repetition of physical movements or sounds is very common in ASD patients. Often, this is done because sensory stimuli can become too overwhelming or uncomfortable. Neurofeedback works to make the brain function more calmly and efficiently, reducing the patient’s perception of stimuli as being overwhelming. If the patient feels more calm overall and the stimuli around them does not seem overwhelming, the stimming can be reduced or eliminated.
2. Emotional outbursts – Neurofeedback improves emotional control within the brain to help the brain functioning calmly. Emotional outbursts are often due to feeling overwhelmed. Just as stimming results from this, emotional outbursts can also result, as the brain does not know how to cope with the information being provided to it. When the brain functions calmer, the person no longer feels compelled to act out emotionally.
3. Speech issues – Neurofeedback strengthens brain processing, including the areas in the brain that are responsible for taking in sensory information and building a response. Therefore, neurofeedback sessions can improve a person’s ability to engage in conversation and appropriately process what is being said and what should be said in return.
4. Ritualistic behavior – Ritualistic behavior is often performed to deal with anxiety or overwhelming external stimuli, giving the patient a sense of self control. However, neurofeedback trains the brain to be able to cope with anxiety and external stimuli with more ease, thereby substantially reducing and/or eliminating ritualistic behaviors.
5. Intolerance to change – Neurofeedback trains the brain to process information calmly and appropriately, so when new, even surprising information is presented, the person is able to cope with the seemingly sudden change without feeling overwhelmed.
6. Hyperactivity – The brain is taught to function more calmly and deal with anxiety more appropriately, thereby reducing symptoms of hyperactivity.
7. Impulsivity – Impulsivity can be significantly reduced and/or eliminated as the brain learns to cope with anxiety in a healthy, sustainable way through neurofeedback.
8. Inability to follow/regard direction from authority figures – Often times for those struggling on the autistic spectrum, even processing the information given regarding directions can be absolutely overwhelming, so expecting the patient to be able to fulfill these directions seems overwhelming if not impossible. Neurofeedback sessions make the brain function more efficiently and calmly, allowing the patient to improve information processing, which improves the ability to follow the directions given by parents and/or teachers.
9. Anxiety – As one can see after reading the previous eight symptoms, so very many symptoms of ASD are rooted in anxiety. If the brain is overwhelmed by anxiety, processing information can be overwhelming and cause emotional reactions. Once the brain learns to calm itself anxiety can be reduced or eliminated.
10. Issues with social skills – When the brain is working at it’s best, with far less anxiety and better processing, being social becomes easier.
One of the most challenging times of the day for people with anxiety is the time right before bed. After a long, stressful day, a person with anxiety may struggle to decompress, which can often lead to sleepless nights, which only contributes to the anxiety and stress felt the following days. Finding ways to relax before bed is the key to getting to bed in a timely manner. Here are a few ways to combat nighttime anxiety and fully relax before bed time.
1. Stretching – We hold so much tension in our bodies, especially at the end of a long, stressful day. Doing some simple, light stretches can help release some of this tension, which will help the body relax overall. Many people with anxiety also have issues with soreness and even bruxism (teeth grinding), so getting some stretches in before bed helps to prevent both of these things so you can wake up in the morning feeling refreshed, not sore!
2. Meditation – Meditating before bed helps you find peace and quiet in your mind so you can drift off to sleep with ease. Find some peace and quiet in your own home and meditate for a little while before going to bed. If quiet is hard to come by in your home, lie down and listen to a guided meditation through headphones. You can find many free guided meditations on YouTube to help you get ready to drift off to sleep. Try this one!
3. Essential Oil Diffuser – Many studies have shown the benefits of using essential oils for those struggling anxiety, depression, physical pain, stress, and more! There are particular oils that have been proven to benefit anxiety in particular. These include lavender, rose, chamomile, bergamot, ylang ylang, vetiver, and frankincense. Choose your favorite scent, put it in an oil diffuser, and turn it on when you are beginning your relaxing process before bed. Find essential oils and diffusers on Amazon.
4. Coloring – Adult coloring books have become the newest trend, however, did you know that they can help improve anxiety and sleep? Coloring is a relaxing, soothing activity that help with a number of mental and emotional issues. Focusing on coloring actually turns down the brain’s response to stress. Additionally, it is an activity before bedtime that does not require you to sit in front of a screen. Watching TV, playing on a cell phone, and other activities where one must stare at a screen have actually been proven to deter people’s ability to fall asleep. However, coloring still keeps a person actively engaged while also relaxing the mind.
5. Journaling – Many people know the feeling of lying awake in bed at night ruminating on all of the problems of the day, month, and/or year. However, writing a journal entry right before bed time gives us a chance to let out all our anxieties, worries, and fears. We can put the journal away right before bed along with all of these stressful emotions so that we can fall asleep easier, having already expressed the emotions that would normally be in our minds when we’re trying to sleep.
If you struggle with anxiety, stress-management, or sleep issues, schedule a free consultation with our director Dr. Ross to develop a wellness plan unique to your needs. Call 781-444-9115 or click here to schedule an appointment.
April is Autism Awareness Month! Autism affects about 1 in 68 children, yet autism can be exceptionally difficult to classify as each case is very unique to the patient. Asperger syndrome, once known as a specific subtype of autism, is now classified as part of the single autism diagnosis by the recently published 2013 DSM-5 diagnostic manual.
Patients with Asperger syndrome, considered to be a higher functioning form of autism, often have deficits in motor development, social interactions, repetitive behavior, and often display a restricted range of interests. Difficulties in language or cognitive development are usually not present in Asperger cases, as compared to autism. More behaviors associated with Asperger syndrome include:
– Repetitive speech
– Obsession with a specific topic
– Limited/inappropriate social interaction
– Challenges reading nonverbal communication cues such as gestures or facial expression
– Challenges understanding emotional issues
– Challenges understanding non-literal phrasing
– Challenges understanding intent in conversation
– Uncommon or awkward movements/mannerisms
– More often discussing oneself than others
– One-sided conversations
It is important to note that all individuals with Asperger syndrome may display all the above behaviors, which adds to the challenge of diagnosis.
For those struggling with Asperger syndrome, social interactions can be challenging, confusing, and overwhelming to the patient. With challenges seeing the perspective of others, they may not realize what is appropriate in social context. Difficulty controlling emotional reaction is also commonly seen with Asperger patients, as they may laugh at inappropriate moments or cry very easily. Additionally, since development delay can be present in motor skills as well, children have an even tougher time socializing, as they do not have the ability to play the same way other young children play.
Asperger syndrome is often undiagnosed until the child or adult experienced extreme difficulties in school or work. When diagnosed in adulthood, many of these patients are seeking treatment for anxiety or depression. Children are often misdiagnosed as ADHD or as having other behavioral issues. Diagnosing can be tricky, because children with Asperger’s often have notably high language development, but do not interact well with other kids due to the mental/social barrier. Inability to socialize is the key factor in diagnosing children with Asperger syndrome.
Neurofeedback can be effective in reducing or eliminating unwanted symptoms that may be disruptive in daily life. An EEG brain map is performed first to identify where the brain is having difficulties, and protocol is developed to naturally target these areas of the brain to improve overall function of the individual. Using Neurofeedback patients with Autism or Asperger’s can experience significant improvements in overall function, allowing them to live a happier and more effective life. To learn more about what neurofeedback can do for you and your family, please schedule a free in-person consultation with our director Dr. Jolene Ross. As mentioned, every individual case is different, so it is very important to develop an individual wellness plan with Dr. Ross to assess and treat all of your individual needs. Click here to schedule or call our office at 781-444-9115.