How does Neurofeedback help learning disabilities?
Research has proven that neurofeedback training can help with learning disabilities, such as:
- Language Processing Disorder
- Auditory Processing Disorder (APD)
- Non-Verbal Learning Disorders
Neurofeedback training, also known as EEG biofeedback, is a technology that helps exercise the brain and train new neural pathways that help a person learn. The best part is that neurofeedback is not only non-invasive, painless and fun, but it is also often a permanent treatment for learning disabilities!
Currently, to try to help those with learning disabilities, methods are being used that teach people to work around their learning disabilities. This may be helpful in the short term, but what about addressing the underlying condition to take care of the problem long term?
How Many Kids Have Learning Disabilities?
According to the National Center for Learning Disabilities, 1 in 5 children in school have a learning disability. Neurofeedback can help those with learning disabilities. Through brain training, children can improve their reading, math, and how they function in the world.
What Causes Learning Disabilities?
No one really knows what causes learning disabilities. There could be a genetic component as well as an environmental component involved. However, scientists believe that most learning disabilities are directly related to how the brain is wired.
The brainwaves in a child with a learning disability are either too fast or too slow. This affects how the brain processes information and how the different parts of the brain communicate with each other.
What are the Symptoms of a Learning Disability?
Children who have a learning disability struggle with their school work more than their peers do. They may struggle with reading, math, spelling, or formatting their thoughts and communicating them.
Overall, they need to work harder than their peers to accomplish their work. Some children appear inattentive because they cannot process information like other students. A child with a learning disability will have struggles that don’t get better with standard teaching or extra help.
According to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, there are specific signs that your child might have a learning disability. The eight top signs are:
- Problems reading and/or writing
- Problems with math
- Poor memory
- Problems paying attention
- Trouble following directions
- Trouble telling time
- Problems staying organized
As you can see in the infographic there are other signs, including:
- Acting without really thinking about possible outcomes (impulsiveness)
- “Acting out” in school or social situations
- Difficulty staying focused; being easily distracted
- Difficulty saying a word correctly out loud or expressing thoughts
- Problems with school performance from week to week or even day to day
- Speaking like a younger child; using short, simple phrases; or leaving out words in sentences
- Having a hard time listening
- Problems dealing with changes in schedule or situations
- Problems understanding words or concepts
How Does Neurofeedback Help Learning Disabilities?
Many methods used to help and treat learning disabilities are intended to help a child compensate for his/her disability or work around it. EEG studies have shown that most attention and learning disabilities, as well as behavioral problems like impulsivity and hyperactivity, are associated with slow brainwave activity and underarousal of the central nervous system. This is why stimulant drugs are many times prescribed for these conditions.
Research has shown neurofeedback to be as effective as stimulant drugs without side effects. Neurofeedback improves learning skills by training areas of the brain that are relevant to learning and executive skills such as math, reading, auditory processing, and visual processing. New neural pathways are being developed so that part of the brain can function better.
Whenever your brain is trying to learn something new, like riding a bike, it needs all areas of the brain to communicate properly to keep your balance. If you don’t have that communication you fall.
In a child who has a learning disability, that communication between areas of the brain doesn’t work properly. This makes simple learning tasks very difficult.
Neurofeedback training assists the brain with cues when the areas that you are training are communicating exactly how they should. You will receive feedback every half second while training your brain, which gives you a lot of repetition and practice. The brain is rewarded every time it is communicating the right way. The brain becomes more and more efficient at learning.
What Does Research Say About Neurofeedback For Learning Disabilities?
Researchers, published in Clinical EEG and Neuroscience, looked at the effectiveness of neurofeedback training with children with reading disabilities. In this study, there was a significant improvement in reading and awareness of the sound structures of language.
Another study, published in Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback, looked at spelling with children who were diagnosed with dyslexia. The researchers found that the group that received neurofeedback training improved considerably in spelling.
There was an exploratory study, also published in Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback, that looked at neurofeedback (NFB) effects in Learning Disabled (LD) children. This study showed that the experimental group of children that received NFB showed behavioral and cognitive improvements immediately after treatment. The treatment was twenty 30-min sessions of NFB.
In a study published in Frontiers in Psychology, researchers wrote an article about the benefits of neurofeedback looking at intracerebral brain activity- in other words, the nerve connections in the brain. With neurofeedback training improving these connections, the authors state that there could be a positive effect that could alleviate auditory-related dysfunctions such as developmental dyslexia.
In the journal, Neuroimage, a 2014 study using neurofeedback and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) showed that individuals who learned to self-regulate activities between the two hemispheres of the brain were able to reduce symptoms of dyslexia.
What Happens During Neurofeedback Training?
For most children, neurofeedback training is very relaxing and quite enjoyable. During a normal session, we attach 4 electrodes to measure your brainwave activity- two to the area we are training and two to your ears. Then, you just sit back and watch a show or listen to music. It is as easy as that!
To find out more about neurofeedback, check out this article- What Is Neurofeedback?
What Can I Expect to Notice From Neurofeedback Training?
Progress in neurofeedback training for learning disabilities is shown in observable improvements in the child’s attention to tasks, in-class performance, learning ability, and behavioral self-control.
We will be using proven psychological tests to measure symptoms before and after neurofeedback training. This is another way you will know that the brain is changing.
Is Neurofeedback Safe?
Yes, neurofeedback is safe! Research also shows that there are very few side effects of neurofeedback. Most, if not all, of the side effects are temporary.
Check out more information about safety here.
What Are The Next Steps To Find Out If Neurofeedback Will Help My Child With Learning Disabilities?
- Schedule a FREE consultation with Dr. Dody
- Map your brain with a qEEG
- Get a Report of Findings of the brain map
- Start training and seeing improvement
At Dody Chiropractic Center for Wholeness, we can help find and fix abnormal brain wave patterns to help your child’s brain function optimally, improve learning, and have a higher quality of life overall.