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Biofeedback Talk

How does neurofeedback work for a small child who has difficulty staying still?

Perhaps an example will be helpful. A three-year-old boy suffering from Fetal Alcohol Effect was brought in for training by his grandmother. His mother had been drinking throughout her pregnancy with him. The grandmother reported that the child would have fits of rage during which he would bang his head on the floor until he became unconscious. Other symptoms he exhibited included repetitive hand movements, fascination with anything that moved in a circle, and delayed speech.

Training parameters were determined and neurofeedback began. The grandmother sat with the boy on her lap, distracting him with toys and books while sensors were placed on his head. A pillow that could vibrate was placed between the grandmother’s lap and the boy’s back, giving him a pleasing sensation each time his brain produced the proper brainwaves.

The first session lasted four minutes before the boy ripped the sensors off his head, ran into an adjoining office, and began banging his head on the floor.

Six minutes into the second session on the very next day, the child again tore off the sensors and began to bang his head.

Session three, on the third day, lasted eight minutes. The boy ripped the sensors off his head, ran into the adjoining office, threw himself down on the floor—but simply laid there. No head banging. A minute went by before he picked himself up, went over to some toys, and began playing. Subsequent sessions averaged 15 minutes. He completed 20 sessions in all. His grandmother reported he never returned to head banging after that third session; his speech and interaction with other family members were greatly improved.