All parents love their children. The vast majority of them express that love in ways that are beneficial to their child. However, there are certain situations and disorders that require a form of expression of love that our parental common sense, or what we’ve learned, doesn’t provide the appropriate response for. One of those situations is when a child has ADHD.
Our parental instinct often tells us that if work isn’t being completed, or isn’t completed at an acceptable level, or some other type of performance (behavior) isn’t acceptable, the solution is the individual must try or work harder. While this is true in some cases, it misses the case where the individual is trying as hard as they can but they lack the ability to perform the task acceptably. In this case, telling them to “try harder” and/or providing negative consequences will only breed frustration, feelings of being a failure, and anger. This will not improve performance, and, in fact, will only make this and other situations worse. What’s needed is the “ability” to perform the task properly. When an individual has ADHD, they lack this ability.
Regardless of what some insufficiently-trained, though perhaps well-wishing, people may tell you, the only way to determine if someone has ADHD is by ensuring the symptoms are actually based in the relatively minor neurological imbalance that causes ADHD, which is through neurological testing. Many parents will deny even the possibility of the disorder because of misplaced embarrassment and/or the fear of the rigors and unwanted side effects of medication. This is a mistake. No shame or embarrassment is necessary, since no one is to blame and most individuals with the disorder have a higher than average IQ, and since there’s also an effective alternative to medication for treatment.
Neurofeedback provides the appropriate neurological testing and, if necessary, the appropriate treatment. With neurofeedback, there are no side effects and the treatment is a one-time process. Neurofeedback is an effective, drug-free, painless procedure in which the child learns to retrain the attention and behavior mechanisms of their brain, alleviating the condition. Once neurofeedback is completed, no further treatment is necessary.
This approach to the problem is the correct, exceptionally loving parental response – and the best Valentine a parent can give their child!
Dr. Stephen A. Ferrari is the director of Alta Neuro-Imaging Neurofeedback