Using Neurofeedback to Improve ADHD in School-Aged Children
One in every ten children in the United States has been diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and this number has increased. While some experts believe the number of diagnosis is more than is merited, children with ADHD can experience negative outcomes in their lives especially in the realm of performing poorly academically. The predominant treatment of ADHD involves medications, but now there is research to demonstrate this may not be the only line of treatment. ADHD medication reduces the symptoms of the disorder, but does not correct for the underlying causes of their behaviors. With the symptoms of ADHD related to inattention and hyperactivity, deficits that are underlying these diagnostic symptoms are related to auditory and visual processing.
Symptoms of Auditory/Visual Processing Deficits Identified via the Integrated Visual and Auditory Continuous Performance Test – 2 (IVA-2)
• Significant problems remaining alert (i.e., likely to tune out)
• Deficits in auditory or visual working memory
• Difficulty following directions accurately
• Misunderstanding verbal instructions
• Problems with response inhibition and impulse
control tendencies reflecting carelessness,
thoughtlessness, or overreactivity
• Problems regulating and directing actions when
stressed or tired (i.e., gives up)
• Acting out, irritability, and negative
• Impaired social interactions with peers
Research on Neurofeedback shows that this as an alternative treatment addresses the underlying problems associated with the symptoms of ADHD. Interventions on children aged from 6 to 17 years of age has shown improvements with auditory and visual attention, as well as response control in children with ADHD through individualized training plans. The exercises used in the training were provided in a game-like format while activity was tracked using an EEG system. After 40 half-hour sessions, there were significant improvements in response control, general attention, and sustained attention for children originally presenting as significantly impaired due to their ADHD. Not only are these improvements promising, but Neurofeedback also does not come with all the same negative side effects the medication can cause. Neurofeedback ultimately helps children function better by training their brain, rather than chemically altering it.
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McReynolds, C. J., Villalpando L. S., & Britt, C. E. (2018) Using neurofeedback to improve ADHD symptoms in school-aged children. NeuroRegulation, 5(4), 109-128.