Frequently Asked Questions | Attention Deficit Specialists

Receive the answers to common questions about our practice and services.

What is ADD/ADHD?

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) affects children and dolescents and can continue into adulthood. ADHD is the most commonly diagnosed mental health disorder in children. Individuals with ADHD may be hyperactive and unable control their impulses, and they may have trouble staying focused and paying attention. These behaviors interfere with school and home life.

ADHD is approximately 3 times more common in boys than in girls. It is usually discovered during the early school years, when a child begins to have problems paying attention.

Individuals with ADHD may have trouble managing time, being organized, setting goals, holding down a job or completing school work. They may also have problems with interpersonal relationships, self-esteem, and addiction.
An area of brain functioning often impaired in individuals with ADHD/ADD is executive functioning. Executive function is a set of cognitive skills that help you get things done. These skills are controlled by an area of the brain called the frontal lobe. Executive function helps you manage time, pay attention, change focus, plan and organize, remember details, and think before saying or doing something. When executive function is impaired, your behavior is less controlled. This can affect your ability to work, go to school and relate to others appropriately.

What causes ADD/ADHD?

Dr. Ken Blum, in his book Overload, explains that persons with ADD/ADHD are born with a genetic predisposition to these behaviors, inheriting the potential to develop these problems just as one might inherit the potential to develop heart disease or diabetes. However, in order to develop ADD/ADHD, he adds, one must not only have this genetic predisposition, but must also be exposed to a negative and highly stressful environment. Other experts who study ADD/ADHD believe that the behavioral problems stem from improper diet, trauma to the brain incurred in-utero or during the birthing process, or environmental poisons, such as lead, ingested by the child as he or she develops.

What are characteristics of ADD/ADHD children?

ADD children have problems paying attention, may process certain cognitive tasks slowly despite the fact that they may actually be very bright, and daydream excessively. They may be described as others as “zoning out” or “being lazy”. The ADHD child is also impulsive, has poor emotional controls, is resistant toward authority figures and the rules they impose, and may develop more serious behavioral problems as a result of their conflicts with those in authority (e.g. anti-social traits, rebellion through drug abuse, etc.).

How does attention relate to the brain wave activity of ADD/ADHD children?

All neurological processes of the brain are conducted through an interaction of chemical and electrical processes (biochemical/bioelectrical processes). Thus, certain brain functions, including attention, can be measured with sophisticated, electronic instruments such as the electroencephalograph (EEG). Depending on what biochemical/bioelectrical processes are going on in the brain, different “brain waves” are being generated. Children with ADD/ADHD are frequently shown to have maladaptive brain wave patterns on the EEG. They have too much slow wave activity (Theta waves at 4-8 hertz), which is involved in daydreaming, and not enough fast wave activity (Beta waves at 15-18 hertz), which is involved in focused attention and alertness.

How does Brain-Based Biofeedback or Neurofeedback train attention?

Neurofeedback can correct maladaptive brain wave patterns by teaching the child to manipulate his or her own brain wave pattern, decreasing the daydreamer Theta waves and increasing the attention enhancing Beta waves, through the use of special software and computer enhanced techniques which allow the child to monitor his or her progress in a video-game format.

What are the results of Neurofeedback training and are they permanent?

Significant improvement in the ADD/ADHD child’s ability to tune in and pay attention and in their ability to reduce impulsivity and hyperactivity is seen rather rapidly. The ability to process and retain information improves and, consequently, test scores and school grades usually rise accordingly. Once the brain recognizes itself through the use of Neurofeedback, the results are usually permanent. Studies suggest that it takes about 40 to 50 sessions for this to occur; although, some students require refresher sessions to maximize the benefits of their Neurofeedback training.

Is Neurofeedback the only treatment modality used in your practice to treat ADD/ADHD?

While Neurofeedback is the cornerstone of our treatment approach for ADD/ADHD children, we believe in a balanced approach which also regulates other aspects of the child’s life to enhance learning. Nutritional intake is regulated. Behavior modification is used to structure appropriate learning patterns in the school and at home. Counseling is employed to assist the child in bolstering their waning self-esteem and to encourage them.

Are there ways of financing the treatment?

Admittedly, the expense of EEG Biofeedback is not an inconsequential amount, but it is a sound investment for insuring your child’s future well-being. Discounts for full or partial pre-payment of treatment are available. Many medical and psychological insurance plans now cover biofeedback for various conditions; insurance often covers approximately 30-50% of the expense. Some plans require co-payments, others have annual caps. Some insurance plans may require a prescription for the treatment and a diagnosis; others may require pre-authorization. Each client can verify the treatments covered by their insurance policy, including any applicable deductibles or co-payments. We will usually submit insurance forms and determine the extent of coverage. Clients are fully responsible for all fees unpaid by insurance. 

Does treatment work for everyone? Are there any negative side effects?

What if treatment doesn’t seem to be working?It is not possible to predict with certainty that EEG Biofeedback Training will be successful for a particular person or a particular individual. However, for most of the more common or uncomplicated conditions, such as simple attention difficulties, a reasonable prediction of outcome is usually possible. For most conditions, there are no known adverse side effects of EEG Biofeedback Training, provided that the treatment is conducted under professional guidance. (Negative side effects are more possible for individuals with severe neurological instabilities.)In addition, it is important to recognize that individuals generally need to complete at least 20 sessions to realize significant improvement. At times, after about 20 or so sessions, a client may be frustrated because he/she has not seen marked improvements, and often prematurely discontinues treatment. Unfortunately, at this point in the treatment, many of the changes are subtle and somewhat difficult to recognize. In fact, most courses of treatment average 40 sessions. However, EEG Biofeedback, like medical treatments, does not work for everyone. Some individuals see dramatic improvements after 20 or so sessions, for others changes are much more gradual. If clients are feeling frustrated or concerned at any point in the treatment process, we strongly encourage communication with our team. We encourage open communication from the very beginning in order to prevent and facilitate the resolution of any problems. We believe that feedback is essential for us for promoting and insuring the quality care and service all of our clients deserve.

Is EEG Biofeedback used to treat other disorders or difficulties?

Yes, clinical evidence indicates that individuals who suffer from many other conditions may greatly benefit from EEG Biofeedback Training. These difficulties, like Attention Deficit Disorder, usually have a neurophysiological basis characterized by maladaptive brainwave patterns. These patterns may be the result of genetic predispositions or other various stressors, including accidents, chemical exposure, minor closed head injury, severe emotional trauma, and birth trauma. Regardless, EEG Biofeedback empowers an individual to correct the patterns associated with these conditions. EEG Biofeedback training may produce significant positive changes for a variety of conditions including:
  • Attention Deficits
  • Hyperactivity, Conduct problems or oppositional behavior
  • Learning Problems
  • Sleep Disorders, Bruxism (teeth grinding)
  • Autism
  • Traumatic Brain Injury and Strokes
  • Chronic pain, migraines
  • Depression, anxiety, panic attacks, stress
  • Addiction (Drug, alcohol, or other)
  • PTSD
  • Chronic Fatigue, Fibromyalgia

EEG Biofeedback is often also used to assist individuals in maintaining peak performance. For many high-level executives, professionals, or athletes, EEG Biofeedback allows them to get and keep that extra edge that helps them beat the competition.