Assessment

Assessment

Neurosequential Model of Therapeutic Metrics—This metric assesses the impact of developmental trauma on the brain, which in-turn impacts day-to-day functioning of your child. If your child has sensory issues, memory and learning challenges, emotional outbursts, social challenges, academic challenges, or they just seem younger than their physical age, there may be a brain reason. 

qEEG—This looks at the electrical activity in the outer layer of the brain. It provides a map that shows us where there’s over/under activity or over/under communication in the brain. When our brainwaves get out of balance, it can create all kinds of symptoms. Maybe your anxiety isn’t because of your thinking patterns—maybe it’s because of your brain.

Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics (NMT Metric)

This assessment process was developed by Dr. Bruce Perry, Senior Fellow of the ChildTrauma Academy. These metrics assess for developmental risk during the child’s life, from the intrauterine experience to the child’s current age, taking into account epigenetic factors, and genetics. Based on the developmental risk experienced by the child, the relational health, and current functioning, these metrics show the child’s current developmental age, which is typically younger than their physical age due to the trauma experienced. Based on the regions of the brain affected, it offers therapeutic recommendations of where to start interventions because in order for us to make the most progress, we have to tailor interventions at the lowest part of the brain first. That may be sensory interventions, self-regulation interventions, relational, or cognitive.

Depending on the severity of sensory processing dysfunction, your child will either be referred to an Occupational Therapist or we will integrate sensory interventions in session.

Next is self-regulation. At this stage of intervention we will work with parents and child to develop a plan for regulation. Kids with regulation issues are quick to go into the lower regions of the brain: they’re reactive, emotional, and language goes offline, so it’s not about what you say, but what you do to help them regulate. Neurofeedback is also incredibly beneficial for self-regulation. We’re working directly with the brain. See the Neurofeeback page to learn more.

After that, we’ll work on relational. Kids are socialized in stages: one-on-one with adults, one-on-one with kids, and finally, groups. For many kids with developmental trauma, they do well with adults or at home, but struggle in the school setting. Groups can be incredibly overwhelming. Friendships matter greatly and it can also be a source of incredible stress for kids. They may also be overstimulating causing hyperactivity, impulsivity, or meltdowns. In sessions, we’ll practice learning to feel safe with someone new. We’ll process what goes well in their relationships and what they could do differently. It’s a lot of side-by-side play, regulatory activities, play, and even healthy touch like giving each other manicures.

Last is a cognitive approach, so traditional talk therapy. In talk therapy we’re going to give names to our emotions, look at thinking patterns, take control of our narrative, and look at how our experiences affect our world-view.

All forms of therapy have their place and where we start is entirely dependent on where your child is developmentally. To see change and development, we have to go in order. The brain decides the approach.

Quantitative Electroencephalography (qEEG)

QEEGs are used to measure the electrical activity in the outer layers of the cortex. There are essentially 5 brainwaves:

  • Delta
  • Theta
  • Alpha
  • Beta
  • Gamma

This assessment is completed by using a cap placed on the head. We are measuring the electrical activity at 19 different sites in the cortex. We’ll measure the activity for 10 minutes with the eyes open and 10 minutes with the eyes closed. The initial raw data looks like waves going across a page. The data is then processed to remove any artifact (artificial brainwaves caused by muscle tension such as eye blinks, a sniff, etc.), and converted into a brain map. It’s a picture of the head and shows a color representation of what is going on in the brain, whether that be over activity, under activity, or within the typical range. Based on what we see in the brain map and based on symptoms, we choose a site to train and how we’re going to train in.

Please see our Neurofeedback page to learn more.