It’s Back To School Time!
All parents want the best for their children and know how important it is for them to be happy and to do well at school. For most children and their families, starting the new school year is an exciting time, and perhaps other than a few “first-day butterflies” everything usually gets off to a great start.
Unfortunately this is not always how it goes and research shows that about 15% of school children are struggling with either ADHD or Anxiety. Alarmingly Australian research has also shown that only 60% of young children have ideal levels of resilience, and this plummets to just 30% of teenagers. Obviously our children need help.
The formal diagnosis of ADHD is usually made by a paediatrician or psychiatrist, whilst a psychologist will often diagnose anxiety and mood disorders. Assessments usually involve a comprehensive examination and observation, as well information from parents and teachers.
The Perth Brain Centre, established in 2007, uses special brain scans called QEEG that measure brainwave activity to identify potential problem areas in the brain. Brainwave analysis was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in 2013 for assisting in the accurate diagnosis of ADHD, and the results can also help to target treatments to improve resilience and help anxiety. The scans are performed whilst awake, and careful analysis generates detailed images that pinpoint areas of abnormal brain activity.
These days most healthcare professionals believe that treatments for problems like ADHD or Anxiety should be ‘patient-centred’ and involve a range of interventions. Aside from medication, other treatment options that can be effective include behavioural therapy, lifestyle and dietary changes, neurofeedback and biofeedback therapy and psycho-education.
There is no ‘one size fits all’, and at The Perth Brain Centre we believe that individuals and families should be able to make an informed choice based upon the range of treatments now available. The Perth Brain Centre focuses on providing drug-free brain-based treatments including neurofeedback and biofeedback therapy in conjunction with behavioural interventions, psycho-education, lifestyle and dietary advice.
Neurofeedback (brain-wave training) is recognised by The American Academy of Paediatrics to be an effective treatment for ADHD, and is featured in Dr Norman Doidge’s book ‘The Brain’s Way of Healing’, the sequel to his international best-selling book ‘The Brain That Changes Itself.’ Neurofeedback is suitable for people of almost all ages and uses a sophisticated brain-computer interface to ‘strengthen’ and ‘re-train’ the brain. Patients sit comfortably during training whilst sensors precisely detect and measure brainwave activity. This information is analysed in real-time and presented as audio and visual feedback, which is used to strengthen and re-train the ‘weak’ areas in the brain. There is extensive research supporting neurofeedback as a safe and effective treatment for ADHD. Studies specifically show that neurofeedback therapy can result in significant and sustained improvements in the key symptoms of ADHD.
Biofeedback is a form of sophisticated relaxation training that teaches people (both children and adults) to control key body responses not normally under voluntary control, especially reactions to stress. Initially special sensors are needed to detect small signals from the body (such as breathing rate, heart rate or muscle tension) and specialised hardware and software provides real-time feedback which helps the individual to gain greater awareness and control. Over time, and with regular practice over a few weeks, long-term improvements can be maintained without needing to use sensors or equipment. Research shows that biofeedback can be an effective treatment for anxiety (including student text anxiety), chronic pain, headaches and IBS (irritable bowel syndrome).
For further information about how brain-based therapies can help you or someone you know, please call 08 65003277, or visit our website www. perthbraincentre.com.au.
About the author - Dr Daniel Lane (Clinic Director, The Perth Brain Centre