At the ADD Centre and Biofeedback Institute of Toronto we offer customized neurofeedback and biofeedback training programs for children. Neurofeedback training allows the child to receive feedback about what is happening in their brain. They will have the opportunity to see what their brainwaves look like and learn to identify what it feels like to be focused. During the session the child will be playing a game where they get points and rewards if they achieve the target mental state. For example, if the child pays attention to the screen, the game will move and the child will get points. Research has shown that this neurofeedback program leads to lasting changes in attention and impulse control without medication.
Here is an example of a bowling screen:
During this bowling screen the child has a small EEG sensor on the top of his/her head that is measuring brainwaves. When the child's brainwaves indicate that they are in the most optimal state for learning the ball will roll and the child will get points.
These games are tailored to each child's brainwave patterns and can target a variety of symptoms or aim for optimal performance.
The Assessment Interview
The first step is to complete an initial assessment interview with a professional registered with The College of Psychologists of Ontario. This interview procedure takes 3 ½ hours. During that time the history of the client's strengths and difficulties are reviewed and any available reports are discussed (school report cards or psychological reports). Clients or parents are asked to fill out questionnaires appropriate to the problems they are reporting. The client is also given the TOVA (test of variables of attention) and/or the IVA (Intermediate Visual and Auditory) continuous performance test. These are the most well researched and widely used computerized tests for such factors as attention span, impulsivity and drifting attention, which are among the key factors in Attention Deficit Disorder but are also factors in a number of other problems including learning difficulties, anxiety problems, Tourette’s Syndrome, Asperger’s/High Functioning Autism, depressed mood, Post-concussion syndrome, and even athletic performance. In addition, all clients complete an online neuropsychological evaluation. This test assesses attention, executive function, memory, cognitive flexibility, social acuity, and motor speed.
Following this the EEG Assessment Protocol developed by Dr. Lubar is administered. This is a simple painless procedure, which involves placing 3 small electrodes (one on the scalp and one on each ear lobe) using EEG paste. Data collection takes only a few minutes. Clients and parents are shown the brainwave patterns and these are discussed. For example, in attention span difficulties one may see a predominance of slow wave activity; with anxiety and ruminations there may be an increase in fast wave activity. Based on this assessment a customized neurofeedback training program can be created for your child. Most often the goal is to achieve an optimal learning state for school.
• Neurofeedback and Biofeedback Program for children (link)
With some clients, a 19-channel assessment may be recommended. It is only recommended for more complex cases and is not usually done for ADHD, Tourette’s Syndrome or Mild Anxiety. It can be very informative about the precise difficulties being experienced by a client who has any of the following symptoms:
• Asperger’s Syndrome (High Functioning Autism)
• Learning Difficulties
• Symptoms Related to Post-Concussion
• Difficulties with mood regulation
More information about 19-Channel EEG (Full Cap Assessment) and LORETA (Full Cap Training) can be found by clicking the following links:
• 19-Channel EEG Assessment - see link on Adult page
• LORETA Neurofeedback Training - see link on Adult page
With adolescents, a ‘stress-test’ may be done. This demonstrates to the client how their respiration, heart-rate, skin temperature, skin conduction, and muscle tension varies with even a minor mental stress such as math. This may lead to recommending that biofeedback of some of these variables be recommended to accompany the neurofeedback of brain wave patterns.
• Psychoeducational Testing (optional) - see below
NEUROFEEDBACK AND BIOFEEDBACK TRAINING PROGRAM FOR CHILDREN:
The basic training program for children combines neurofeedback, biofeedback and metacognitive strategies. The program includes steps A to D below:
A. Neurofeedback (EEG biofeedback):
• Focused Concentration – Client learns to reduce brainwaves associated with “Tuning out and Daydreaming” (Delta, Theta and Low Alpha)
• Increase Calm, alert state – Client learns to increase brainwaves associated with feeling calm yet alert and ready (Sensorimotor Rhythm SMR)
• Increase Active thinking – Client learns to increase brainwaves associated with active problem solving (Beta)
• Decrease anxiety and worry – Client learns to reduce brainwaves associated with rumination (hibeta)
GOAL: To gain a more flexible brain and learn self-regulation of individual brain states. Be able to remain relaxed, alert, and focused without fidgeting
• Heart Rate Variability Training (HRV) using a respiration belt and a heart rate monitor
• Helps reduce stress, anxiety
• Improves mood
• Other biofeedback measures available: Electrodermal (EDR), Skin Temperature, EMG (for muscle tension)
C. Metacognitive Strategies:
• Active Learning Strategies – Learning how to learn
• Strategies for school – Strategies for listening, Reading, Remembering, Mathematics
D. Time and Memory Management:
• Organizational Skills and time management: using a planner/agenda, creating a study plan
• Mnemonic devices for memorizing material and study skills
E. Cognitive Development:
• These additional exercises, done without neurofeedback, help with special learning needs.
• COGMED – working memory training program
• Captain’s Log – computerized program that trains 21 cognitive skills
TRAINING AND REASSESSMENT:
Training usually takes between 40 and 60 sessions, although some adult clients have taken fewer than 20 sessions to reach their goals. Children who have extreme hyperactivity and/or learning disabilities or Asperger’s in addition to attentional problems take more sessions than those who are simply ADD and inattentive. Progress testing is routinely carried out after at least 40 sessions and there is an additional cost for this to be completed.
At the ADD Centre we work with clients who experience the following Symptoms/Disorders:
• ADHD (Inattention, Impulsivity, Hyperactivity) (link coming soon)
• Concussion (link coming soon)
• High Functioning Autism/Asperger’s Syndrome (link coming soon)
• Anxiety/Depression/Panic (link coming soon)
• Seizures (link coming soon)
• Stress (link coming soon)
The ADD Centre offers psychoeducational testing performed by Dr. Lynda Thompson, a registered psychologist
The assessment includes:
A. INTELLECTUAL ASSESSMENT
• Weschler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC-V) ages 6 to 16
• Weschler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS-IV)
* note: WISC V and WAIS-IV are standardized IQ tests
B. ACADEMIC ASSESSMENT
• Wide Range Achievement Test (WRAT IV)
• Woodcock Johnson IV
**A Written report concerning the results is provided. Parents are requested to bring report cards and the results from any previous assessments done.
Improve: Attention, Focus, Organization and Learning through Brain Wave Analysis and Feedback!
Director: Dr. Lynda M. Thompson
416-488-2233 or 905-803-8066