Neurofeedback and Speech Delay related to Autism
This is our M-bug. Dynamic, fun-loving, always smiling, lover of trains and when he grows up he wants to be a UPS driver (apparently mommy gets too many packages). For all the love and joy he brings to our family he also gives us our toughest parenting challenges. He is our Oppositional Defiant Child with a Dynamic personality. Little brother is our “future President in the making” and we can now see why. These children have the rare and unique qualities that it takes to be President, CEO or a Military General. They know what they want and they are the world’s leaders; in a very magnified way.
In our journey we realized that M needed to be understood better, and we were passionate about making life easier for him and more Christ-centered. That is our job after all, to better equip him for a deep relationship with the Lord and the people around him. God gives us these precious children as a gift from him and we are asked to protect and love them while on Earth, but more importantly to accept Christ and have a personal relationship with him.
We are to dazzle them with the Love of Jesus
For my husband and I, we want to keep this in the forefront of our minds when parenting our children. It can just be a bit more challenging with a personality like M’s. We continually have on our prayer list that God will show us meaningful ways to help M from an “earthly” perspective, while keeping in mind that God is the true healer. Over the years we have seen his hand in each and every step we have taken and all the treatment we have used. One of those crucial treatment plans has been Neurofeedback, or Biofeedback, as it is known as well.
Neurofeedback can help a multitude of challenges including:
- Autism Spectrum Disorder
- Fine motor/Gross motor
- Oppositional Defiance
- Learning disabilities
- Brain injuries
The list goes on and on, and there has never been one study that disproves the effectiveness of Neurofeedback. It can only help. Each child may improve at different levels, but there is always improvement. Again we saw God’s hand at work when he brought us to Dr. Claire Albright. On the TOP of our list for Dr. Albright was a constant “tic” or “twitch” M had. It was kind of odd, he would typically only do it when still, like riding in the car or if he was sitting in a chair and nothing was sustaining his attention. We ruled out seizures by doing tons of tests with nothing ever showing up. Dr. McIntosh, our Neurologist, just chalked it up to something that can be common on the spectrum and may or may not go away, a diagnosed Tick Disorder. That was not good enough for us. We needed to heal him.
Within the first 10 sessions little brothers ticks were gone. We certainly don’t miss them one bit. See ya later alligator. There is nothing worse than watching your child twitch uncontrollably in the back seat and feeling utterly helpless. This was God’s hand at work.
We saw Dr. Claire 2x a week and there is usually an initial 30 visits that need to be completed before seeing permanent healing in select areas. We are now witnessing major improvement in speech and his oppositional defiant behavior. It is quite an investment of time and money with both L and M attending, but I am a warrior mom and always will be. The work it takes to get all three kids in the car and to the appointment on time is worth any inconvenience especially when we see how they are healing.
A great example about Neurofeedback:
Autism: Case Study
by Jonathan Cowan, Ph.D.
About 8-9 years ago I reported the case history of an eight-year-old autistic girl (triply diagnosed as high-functioning autistic) who came to me for training at the Winter Brain Meeting. She was so non-communicative that she would hide under the couch. Her first TOVA ® (Test of Variables of Attention) showed about 27% omission errors. By the time she finished all 28 sessions, she had improved to the point where she behaved fairly normally, and she had 8% errors. Her parents did a TV story documenting her improvement. A year later, her TOVA test was now excellent, with about 1% omission errors.
I hadn’t heard from her in years, until I got a call from a professional involved with another family member, who wanted me to do the same thing for her two ADD kids. Turns out that Angela was the class valedictorian last year, and is now in college!
Who would have thought…
Dr. Claire did more than just help our boys with the Neurofeedback machines, she is also a clinical Psychologist which comes in handy when parenting a dynamic kid. We began a program about four months ago called, “Transforming the Difficult Child: the Nurtured Heart Approach”. It has been instrumental in changing our approach to M and getting back a positive response. There are two great books that I would recommend. We especially liked the one with the Biblical perspective. (Not pictured: The Nurtured Heart Approach by Howard Glasser)
- The Nurtured Heart Approach helps you transform your child’s intensity into greatness.
- Parents focus on putting their energy into positive communication with their children (Praise your kids for their successes, however small, in the moment and be sure your praise is detailed and truthful.).
- Parents avoid energizing negative communication (Refrain from yelling, from issuing harsh consequences, getting into battles with your children).
There were three main things that we started with on the Nurtured Heart Approach:
- Always talk to your children with a smile or half-smile especially during discipline
- Use Creative Recognition in every aspect of daily routine
- Creating specific rules
How many times do we talk to our children with a frown or a stern voice when we need something done or we are disappointed in their behavior? Using a smile immediately disarms them and they are more apt to listen. Creative recognition can look like this:
- “Thank you for clearing the floor on time.”
- “I can really see the effort you are making at writing your name.”
- “I appreciate you clearing your plate after dinner.”
- “I like it when you do what I ask.”
Specific, positive and with a smile.
Saying “please” or “thank you” is not enough. M’s feeling of trust and success are engendered in detail and by feeling “seen”. We also state our specific rules of the day. Little brother feels secure in knowing what is expected of him. When he does break the rules melt-downs are less frequent and he can easily re-set himself. In the past M was all water-works and highly emotional.
Three great resolutions to adopt:
- I refuse to get drawn into giving my child greater responses, more animation and other unintended “payoffs” for negative behaviors. I won’t accidentally foster failures and reward problems with my energy.
- I resolve to purposefully create and nurture successes. I will relentlessly and strategically pull my child into a pattern of success.
- I have clear rules for my child and clear and consistent consequences when he breaks the rules. I resolve to give a true and effective consequence when a rule is broken.
The amazing thing is that when my husband and I put this into practice we see immediate improvement. When we don’t he slides back. It works, but it takes effort and a little forethought. I encourage you to read more about this parenting style and see how it can work for your children. Whether dynamic or not, it crosses all boundaries and is a great way to interact with your children.