A Mother's Journey Blog

Part 2 Neurofeedback for ADHD


Our Neurofeedback Home training program included an EEG machine and AVE glasses. We would connect the EEG machine into our laptop which had set programs designed specifically to met our  individual needs. From the EEG machine we had 3 electrodes that we attached to our head with wax. Normally AVE glasses do not come with the Home program but we decided to add this to our package. We bought two sets of AVE glasses (The David Pal36), one for our kids and the second for us. These glasses produce stimulation by audio-visual stimuli. It’s very relaxing and enjoyable. Most cognitive and emotional disorders have low blood flow in certain areas of their brain. The AVE glasses will increase the cerebral blood flow and help alter brainwave activity. It’s to my understanding that many individuals will use this method alone to manage ADD/ADHD, depression, anxiety, anger management, etc. But when the AVE glasses is paired with neurofeedback training, it’s suppose to enhance results and lesson treatment sessions. I must say that the AVE glasses was our favorite training program in our package. In fact I still continue to use these glasses on a regular bases. However, you might want to be careful when dealing with kids. It’s very expensive and fragile ($350 or more) Our kids broke our first pair in the first 2 weeks. And our kids were age 15 and 17 at the time. I’m sure younger children would have broken these glasses by their second session if left unsupervised. So keep that in mind if you decided to go this route. I still also advised that you work with a train specialist before using AVE glasses. They will help you select a program that is best for you.

We started neurofeedback training on Aug. 15 2009. We decided to do 50 sessions each (can last about 5-6 months). My husband who has ADHD had a horrible experience. His thoughts were completely scattered by the 2nd session. And after the 3rd session he could not stop grinding his teeth (like all day long). Eventually his jaw started causing him problems and he stopped after the 13th session. Our specialist told him that this was normal. Since new pathways in his brain were being established it was causing him to react this way.

As for me, my thinking was totally scattered until session 35. It would take me twice as long to accomplish anything. But after session 35, I notice my focus was right on target and I had more patience. As for Charlie’s ADHD, he said he didn’t really notice much except that he could focus longer. My husband and I notice that Charlie was becoming more fidgety, his ability to multitask was becoming worse, and his temper was beginning to escalate. Which is crazy because he is so laid back. But because part of his program required him to elevate his beta waves it caused him to become grumpy and irritable. In the end the extra time to focus wasn’t worth his nasty temper and in some ways made his ADHD worse. Again our specialist said this was normal because of the new pathways being established.

The first 10 treatments were exciting for all of us but as for the rest of the sessions, they were kinda of like “hell.” We broke one of the cables…..that’s 75$ within the first month, out of our 50 sessions for each of us we probably lost about 15-20 sessions each due to being frustrated or bad connections (with wax and electrodes), and if that’s not enough we had to wrestle the kids to get their treatments done weekly. They seemed to be totally over it. In the end Charlie’s last 10 treatment didn’t really work, because he didn’t want to focus or read. And Brittney’s last treatment sucked because she was all mad because her and Charlie had gotten into a fight. Whenever you are irritated or mad the EEG starts making this loud beeping sound which only makes you even more irritable. UGH! Basically anything can alter treatment, not getting enough sleep, diet, mood, etc. Lessons here: Don’t do the Home Program! And do your research to find a trained specialist that knows what the heck he’s doing. It’s to my understanding that pretty much anyone can do brain mapping with a class or so but an expert will be able to interrupt your brain waves and help you design a program for your disorder. I had honestly believed that if we finished these treatments we would be so proud we stuck it out and the rewards would have been worth it. Honestly I don’t know if any of us are better from this entire experience and if you ask my husband he’ll tell you it made him and Charlie worse. The brain mapping and AVE glasses were awesome but the actual treatments prove disappointing. I wish I would have had somewhere local here to get these treatments done. Plus I like to ask LOTS of questions and being face to face would have allowed me to do this. We did not get much input from our specialist except the typical “This is all normal, nothing to worry about.” I can’t tell you how many parents, friends, and family members were amazed that I made us finish this entire training program. They told me they would have quit after 10 sessions. 

Enthusiastically yours,

Shirley Highers 

When the grass looks greener on the other side of the fence, it may be that they are taking better care of it.

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