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Neurofeedback - Our Story

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futurehealth.org Headlined to H3 10/19/09

 
The members of our family are BIG fans of the benefits of Neurofeedback. By the time we found out about neuro. our family was at breaking point -- our son with Asperger's Syndrome had been angry, violent and out of control for 3 years (from halfway through Year 6 to Year 9 -- aged 10 -13).

He was prone to massive tantrums/meltdowns that lasted hours, with the only safe way to deal with them being to physically restrain him. He'd not been to school for any more than a few days at a time for 3 years. He was quite heavily medicated -- an SSRI anti-depressant, epilim as a mood-stabiliser and xanax for panic attacks. In between his outbursts he was a gentle and at times, loving boy.

Sam wasn't sleeping or eating much and seemed quite "manic" and erratic at times in his behaviours. He was majorly obsessed with his older sister (she was his only social contact other than his Dad and I). Each time we tried to engage him in an educational program or alternative he would start well, but crash within a few days or weeks. Each successive failure only increased his anxiety and sense of hopelessness.

We went to see Mark D (neuro-therapist) with little hope of any improvement. We'd tried so many treatments and therapies over the years, and while we'd see a little progress at the start of each one, there was no lasting improvement in behaviour. Family Services suggested we sign him over to become a Ward of the State and for a brief moment we considered doing just that.

Every time Sam had an outburst/meltdown he was in fact creating and consolidating, neural pathways - so that became the "learned" way to react each time he was angry or frustrated. Mark explained to me that Neurofeedback was retraining for the brain. His "retrained" brain would enjoy functioning in the "optimal" state; where his brain waves wouldn't be too slow or too fast, but just right. (Sounds like the 3 bears story, I know!)

Mark told me that the best outcome would be with numerous sessions over quite a few months -- twice weekly. He told me that for the first 5 weeks Sam's behaviour would be slightly better for short periods after each session, but that I would feel like he was "building" to something. Mark said that in the 6th week Sam would have an outburst to end all outbursts (yes -- it definitely was!!!) and after that the violence should subside and become extinct quite quickly. That giant, jaw-dropping, heart-wrenching last tantrum was the last Sam has ever had!

Together Mark and Sam worked on the many behaviours that needed changing -- sleep patterns, obsession with his sister, verbalisation difficulties -- even down to the stress dermatitis that he's suffered since he was an infant and which every doctor and paediatrician told me was a characteristic of Asperger's Syndrome, but did nothing about. One session of neuro and his dermatitis was gone each time. We were able to heavily reduce Sam's medication through neuro as well.

The key to success is remembering that every piece of information you can give the Therapist about the changes in your child's behaviour over the duration of the treatment is relevant. Everything counts, and helps the Therapist to set the parameters/levels for training.

Sam has continued to use Neurofeedback as his treatment of choice over the years. It's the only treatment/therapy that gives him instant, consistent results every single time. Now Sam goes twice a year for 4 sessions at a time (2 weeks). He finds that "topping up" this way helps keep him stable.

Sam is now 18 and has been able to live independently from us since September last year for his studies/work in Brisbane. When we initially went to Mark I didn't think Sam could ever be independent of us. He is now also totally medication free.

Sam has had a great many successes in his life since then. He completed his schooling through TAFE, and is now embarking on a graphic design course at a private college.

Our family feels extremely blessed to have happened upon Neurotherapy and Mark D, quite by chance. Without it I possibly wouldn't be sitting here today, telling my story and running a successful home business.

 

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www.aspergerchild.com
Nelle Frances is the mother of a son with Asperger's Syndrome, Special Needs Educator and author of a series of fiction books - the Ben and His Helmet books - created for children with Aspergers and Autism. She's passionate about all things ASD (more...)
 

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