Recently, my 2 year old daughter took a hard fall. While there will be no long-term damage or scars, the event was very frightening and gory. She tripped and fell, landing with her full weight on her upper teeth, on the edge of a steel-edged stair. Needless to say there was a lot of blood, a lot of pain and tears, and in the end, she had to lose her top four front teeth. The whole family felt traumatized by the experience and that's when I thought: this is exactly a situation for neurofeedback but, for my two-year old?
Is NeurOptimal® Safe for Children?
I have been using NeurOptimal neurofeedback training on myself, my family and friends, and many clients for 8 years. I have trained families and even young children throughout that time, but my youngest client to date had been 5 years old. Even though I know the neurofeedback device is safe and there is no risk because it optimizes every brain's performance without forcing change, I had never trained a two-year-old an noticed I was cautious.
Signs a child could benefit from NeurOptimal
After we returned from the hospital and began nursing her back to health, it was clear that my daughter was trying to release some of the stress energy accrued during the accident and hospital visit. The day after we got home, with her face swollen beyond recognition, and still bleeding from the teeth extractions, I could barely get her to sit still for a minute. She was running and jumping all over the house, jumping on her bed, off the couch, slamming her body into the walls and furniture—behavior we have never allowed in our home. She was frantic. Both my children were.
After that first morning trying to help them to burn off some of that energy (and trying not to let it further exacerbate our own stress and shock levels), my wife and I quickly agreed it was time to let both the kids have their first neurofeedback training sessions. The 5-year-old was thrilled, the 2-year-old was not. No surprise, she had very little interest in letting anyone touch her, let alone hook five wires up to her scalp and ears and then sitting still. Nevertheless, with some gentle coaxing, patience, and a little help from a very mild television show, we were able to get her hooked up.
What if a child can't sit still for neurofeedback?
That first session was only 15 minutes. She fell asleep shortly after, and was much less frantic and speedy when she woke up from her nap. The next day, we were able to do 20 minutes, and the next day, a full 30 minute session. She proclaimed that she didn’t want to do it each time, but gave in to a little television bribery each time and fell asleep immediately after each session. After four days of training we had to take a break for about a week, because we didn’t have access to a home system at that point. Because she was doing better during the days, and the visible injury had improved significantly after that first week, I didn’t feel compelled to give her NeurOptimal® training. However, our nights were very fraught. She began having night terrors, screaming and kicking while still asleep, and keeping us awake through much of each night. It went on for weeks.
"I want a neurofeedback mamma!"
Almost four weeks after her accident, she had an enormous melt-down that took me completely off-guard. Nothing in particular preceded it, she simply started crying while eating her lunch, and then escalated into a full-body reaction and sobbing. It lasted for 35 minutes. This was the first time she had ever had a tantrum and I had the strong sense that she was expressing some of the fear and rage she had felt and contained during the accident and the subsequent oral surgery and healing period. By the end, she was crying and begging for “a neurofeedback.” I was surprised because she had only ever complained and fought with me about having to do the training. But now she was crying out for it. So, I hooked her up, she relaxed and fell asleep at the end of her session. And that night, for the first time since her accident, she had no night terrors and slept quietly through the night! I was so thankful for the rest we all got, and so happy to see how helpful the neurofeedback training had been for her.
We were able to do a few more sessions on her that week and she has been steadily on the mend since then—no more night terrors!
I have appreciated the subtle and not so subtle effects of neurofeedback training for years now, but this was the first time I used it for recent crisis, or on my own children, and I was blown away by the immediate and longer-lasting shifts. From now on, I plan to train my children whenever they are going through periods of heightened stress.
Still Wondering how NeurOptimal® Works?
The system we use for sessions and rentals at Neurofeedback Training Co.. is called NeurOptimal® and developed by Zengar Institute. Their proprietary neurofeedback system is a highly personalized brain training software that prompts the central nervous system to optimize it's use of energy and only perform functions that are needed for present-moment needs. For example reactive yelling at work, which is the stress response, is not an efficient use of brain energy when speaking calmly will do the task. The brain needs feedback that here-and-now is not a threatening and that it's about to use a huge amount of energy to solve a simple issue: your employee sent out the wrong information to a client just address calmly. This is the automatic brain that reactively, habitually uses the 'yell response' in communication. NeurOptimal training allows that brain to register that inefficiency and re-wire itself to use energy more effectively.
Author: Kate Linsley, Denver, Colorado
Certified NeurOptimal Neurofeedback Trainer and Rental Manager Coach (Mid-West Region)
Kate has worked with Neurofeeedback Training Co. and Neurofeedback Training in NYC since 2011. After relocating from NYC to live in Denver, Colorado, Kate is now managing the rental program for Neurofeedback in Colorado while completing her degree in Nursing and keeping her two children out of trouble.
Read an interview with Kate on how to get the most out of your home system rental.
Talk to a Neurofeedback Trainer!
Questions about neurofeedback and whether it's right for you or your family? We're here to help! Schedule a 15 minute phone consultation with one of our experienced neurofeedback trainers, Alison, Kate, Natalie or Sara.