Neurological Diagnosis and Treatment for Learning Disabilities

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Clinical Reference Guide:
What We Diagnose, How We Diagnose and Treatment Options

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in Adults
Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in Children
Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorder
Biofeedback
Digital EEG and Evoked Potentials Assessment (DEEP)
Cognitive Guidance for High Achievers
Developmental Coordination Disorder
Learning Disabilities
Speech and Language Disorders
Dyslexia
Physical Therapy

Biofeedback

What is biofeedback?
Biofeedback is a therapy in which you are trained to improve your health by using information from your own body. You can learn to control many body activities that most people usually don't think of as within their control. Among these are:

  • Blood pressure
  • Heart rate
  • Muscle tension
  • Many brain wave patterns

Learning to control these body functions can be very helpful in treating or preventing many mental health and medical problems. Your biofeedback therapist will probably be a psychologist, doctor, physical therapist, or technician.

When is it used?
Biofeedback is often used to help treat:

  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), especially for adults and older children
  • Tension headaches
  • Chronic back or neck pain
  • High blood pressure
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Grinding of the teeth

Along with standard treatments, biofeedback can be helpful for:

  • Migraine headaches
  • Chronic depression
  • Asthma
  • Epilepsy
  • Chronic pain
  • Jaw joint (TMJ) problems
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome

How do I prepare for training?
You need only to adopt the mind-set that you will be learning to control your own body to improve your health. You should expect it to take a number of therapy sessions (usually between 6 and 30) to teach you the needed skills.

What happens during training?

Your therapist connects you to some electronic equipment that provides you with information about the performance of the body functions you need to learn to control. The equipment gives feedback through information you can see (usually on a computer or TV screen) or hear (with beeps or tones) on the status of those body functions. During the treatment sessions you will be asked to simply relax, often in a recliner chair, and pay attention to how you feel and how that changes the information provided by the screen or sounds.

The first one or two sessions are usually spent just getting readings of your usual functioning. This is called your baseline and is used later to measure your progress.


There are three common types of biofeedback:


Thermal biofeedback: In this procedure the equipment, usually attached to the hand or foot, measures skin temperature. Skin temperature is a good gauge of how tense or relaxed you are. When you are relaxed, the skin temperature of your hands and feet rises. Problems related to tension such as headaches and pain are often treated well with this form of biofeedback.

Electromyogram (EMG) biofeedback : Small sensors that measure muscle activity are put on your skin at areas important to the problem being treated. Common sites are the neck, back, or forehead. This kind of biofeedback may be used to treat problems such as migraine headaches, chronic pain, and anxiety disorders.

Electroencephalogram (EEG) biofeedback: One or more small sensors are placed on your scalp. They measure electrical activity in the brain (called brain waves). Learning to increase or decrease certain brain wave patterns can be very useful in treating ADHD and epilepsy.

What happens after training?

Between biofeedback sessions you may be asked to practice exercises in relaxation or muscle control to strengthen the learning from treatment sessions. Once you have completed a full course of treatment you may need occasional "booster" sessions to help maintain the control you have learned.

What are the benefits?

Biofeedback is a natural treatment in which you learn to help yourself. It can be learning that helps you for the rest of your life. It involves no medicines or medical procedures.

What are the risks?
There are almost no risks. The biggest risk is trying to use biofeedback for a problem so serious that medical care should be given first. It is very important to talk to our medical professionals before stopping other treatment and using only biofeedback.

 

 
 
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