Questions & Answers
This section contains a lot of the common questions we get here at The ADD Centre Winnipeg, and answers to help you to better understand our program and why we have so many successful students.
How do Children and Adults Benefit from this training?
This training procedure has been shown to increase a person’s ability to pay attention, focus and concentrate. Studies have demonstrated that children with Attention Deficit Disorder who have completed this training have also shown significant improvements in classroom performance. Dr. Joel Lubar, the originator of these training procedures, found that 80% of the first 250 children they trained demonstrated grade point average improvements of approximately 1.5 levels.2. IQ scores on The WISC-R also showed significant improvement.
What is the method used?
Everyone's brain produces electricity and brain-waves of different frequencies are associated with different mental states. People with attentional problems produce an abundance of slow waves and less fast wave activity. A sudden burst of slow wave activity - Alpha or Theta - in the middle of a task may indicate that the individual is tuned out for that moment in time.
Tuning out and day dreaming are reduced by training to decrease slow waves (Theta). Fidgeting and hyperactivity are controlled by training to increase a type of Beta called sensorimotor rhythm (SMR). Concentration is improved by training to increase fast wave activity (SMR or Beta).
Does it hurt & is it interesting?
NO, it does not hurt and YES, people do find it interesting! Monitoring the EEG is a fairly simple process. It involves placing two or more electrodes on the head. The wires from the sensors transmit the electrical information from the scalp to an instrument which analyzes the brainwaves.
The information is fed to a computer screen. There are many different feedback screens which can be selected. Young children may select puzzles and mazes while adults often prefer gauges and displays that give quantitative data.
Children enjoy taking home printouts of their brainwaves and demonstrating to how they are learning to control them. They can compare this training to that of a gymnast or a martial arts expert. The skill must be practiced until it becomes automatic (unconscious). In addition to acquiring self-regulation of brain waves, the students receive instruction in metacognitive strategies - thinking processes involved in learning how to learn and remember.
Older students are taught time management and study skills. These skills are learned more rapidly thoroughly when they are taught in combination with neurofeedback.
What Happens During the 50 minute Training Session?
A trainer works individually with each student. While sitting in front of a computer screen the client receives audio and visual feedback concerning their brainwave activity. The feedback gives positive reinforcement and trains the student to:
• increase alertness
• stop fidgeting
• and decrease an impulsive approach to tasks.
During each training session the student has opportunities for combined visual and auditory feedback. Other periods of time during the training session are used for audio feedback combined with academic tasks such as reading comprehension, mathematics and other subjects. These sections of the training session may include listening, reading and written work. At these times the student is taught meta-cognitive learning strategies, study skills and time management. At the end of the session the trainer and the student review the scores and the graphs which show how well the student was concentrating during each part of the training session.
Are there research findings?
Yes, numerous studies have shown that distinctly identifiable EEG differences are present in the children with learning disabilities and attention deficits with and without hyperactivity. EEG feedback training can be used to improve these problems. In addition researchers have found differences in blood flow in the frontal lobes of children and decreased glucose metabolism in those same areas in the brain in adults with childhood onset ADHD. Executive control over how well we focus and concentrate occurs in the frontal lobes. Lower blood flow and glucose uptake indicate under activation of this critical area. With neurofeedback brain training blood flow and glucose uptake are restored to normal levels indicating a positive change in brain performance.
Do Neurofeedback and Medications Do The Same Thing?
No Medications act immediately. They can be very useful and helpful with some children to control disruptive behaviours which might otherwise cause negative reactions and a lowering of their self esteem. Medications act only while they are at sufficient dosage level in the blood stream. Dr. Swanson’s team at the University of California, Irvine, summarized their usefulness:
“(1) a short term benefit for the management of behavioural symptoms of inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity; and
(2) a lack of demonstrated long-term effects on learning, achievement, or social adjustment”Neurofeedback takes much longer to produce change (2 to 6 months) but appears to give long term benefits in all key areas of attention span, impulse control, academic achievement and social adjustment.
Medications used for ADD go throughout the brain and the body and can have effects in many different and unwanted areas. These unwanted effects are called side effects and may include headache, decreased appetite, increased pulse rate, stomach ache, sleep disturbance, tics, decreased spontaneity and creativity, and when coming off a dose of medication, increase hyperactivity and depression. (the so-called “rebound effect”)
Neurofeedback, on the other hand, is a learning procedure which, like other types of learning, does not have these unwanted side effects. Sometimes neurofeedback is used in combination with medications. Most often, medications can be gradually reduced as the person learns self-regulation.
Can Adults Benefit?
Yes. ADD Symptoms do not necessarily go away as a person gets older and adults benefit from neurofeedback training to the same extent as children. They can achieve long term improvement in attention span, impulse control, reading, listening skills, and time management. In additions, many adults also want assistance with stress and tension. For decreasing tension, Neurofeedback can be combined with biofeedback. Adolescents and adults can learn to control their physiology through biofeedback (including heart rate, respiration, muscle tension and alertness). This control decreases tension and significantly improves their work efficiency.
What are the Advantages of EEG Training?
With EEG training the child is empowered to take control of both attention and concentration. There are none of the side effects associated with medications. Training helps attention to be maintained when the person chooses; for example during the evening study hours when medication, if used may interfere with sleep. Training also is a step towards not requiring medication in order to concentrate on one’s work in future years.
How Long Does Training Take?
Training typically takes 40-60 sessions depending upon severity. Frequency of training is usually twice per week for a period of at least 5 months. Each training session lasts approximately 50 minutes. Condensed summer training is conducted during the summer with our Boot Camp for the Brain program.
How Soon will Progress be Noticed?
Progress can generally be noticed after about twenty training sessions. Changes in behaviour in the classroom can usually be seen after 2-4 months of training.
How Long do the Results of Training Last?
Long term follow-up with adults who, as children, received EEG feedback training for ADD/ADHD, indicates that the improvement appears to be permanent in most cases.
Are Before and After Standardized Tests used to Help Evaluate Progress?
Yes. Standardized academic and ability testing is done before a child begins training and after training has been completed. Standardized computerized continuous performance tests are also used.
How Long Has this Training Method been Used?
EEG feedback training for attentional problems has been used for more that 30 years. The feedback techniques used at the ADD Centre evolved from those developed at the University of Tennessee by Joel Lubar, Ph. D. Tens of thousands of children and adults have been trained and there are thousands of Centres providing neurofeedback around the world.
The programs at the ADD Centre reflect the Executive Director’s (Lynda M. Thompson, Ph.D., C. Psych.) initial training with Dr. Lubar and subsequent training with Dr. Fitzsimmons from the U. of A. and with other neurofeedback practitioners in California, Arizona and Florida.
What is the Efficacy of Neurofeedback in resolving ADHD?
In line with AAPB and ISNR guidelines for rating clinical efficacy it has been concluded the neurofeedback for ADHD can be considered “Efficacious and Specific (Level 5) with a large effect size (ES) for inattention and impulsivity and a medium ES for hyperactivity.
Is Training Covered By Insurance?
Our training is not a medical procedure and is not covered by Manitoba Health. Most insurers require a diagnosis of ADHD and have defined neurofeedback as a psychological therapy with a requirement that it be provided by a C. Psych.
Are there tax benefits for children with ADHD?
Yes, the Federal Government recognizes ADHD as part of the learning disability spectrum. Benefits can be accessed using the Form T2201. The benefit can be thousands of dollars per year and it may be possible to make claims for previous years. Training can be GST Exempt.
Are the Training Costs Tax Deductible?
The cost of training can be used as a medical deduction with the proper documentation from a Doctor.
Can neurofeedback be combined with other approaches?
Yes, absolutely. Multi-modal approaches are recommended for children with ADD. Neurofeedback may improve your child’s response to educational interventions, behaviour management strategies, and individual family therapies. Good nutrition should always be practiced and some children have special dietary needs and sensitivities. Neurofeedback can be combined with medication. Children who are on medication when they begin neurofeedback training continue with their drugs until their parents, in consultation with their physician, determine that the dosage can be reduced as training takes effect.
Are strategies for parents available?
Yes. We provide all parents with The ADD Book by Dr. Sears and Dr. Thompson, the book has strategies for home and school.
Why it works!
Every time we learn, we alter brain blood flow, chemistry, and connections. In neurofeedback (EEG Biofeedback), the speed and efficiency of learning is aided by the fact that the feedback comes to the student faster than he/she can move to their next thought.
Where is Training Available?
The ADD Centre in Winnipeg has been providing training since 1994 for children, adolescents and adults. The original ADD Centre is located in Mississauga, Ontario with a satellite Centre located in Toronto, on Yonge Street north of Lawrence Avenue.