ADHD is the most common diagnosis for kids and teens. The CDC reports nearly 10% of children ages 2-17 have been given the diagnosis. ADHD can be a hot topic—is it real? Is it not real? Is medication the best thing? Are medications harming our children in the long-run? While there are many pieces to the discussion, ADHD typically presents as difficulty concentrating, impulsivity, and distractibility. The other lesser talked about issues with ADHD is the impact it has on peer relationships, stress in the home, impacts on self-esteem, and how often it presents with anxiety and depression. Kids and teens with ADHD need support, and you have options around what that support looks like.
Read more on ADHD here.
Adoption and Foster Care
Adoption and foster care is one of the most beautiful, loving, and generous things people can do. Adoption and foster care can also come with intense pain. There is pain for the caregivers who see their child struggling with school, friends, their emotions, and behaviors. It is often also painful for the individual who was adopted or placed in foster care. They may be grieving the loss of their first family, they could also be walking around with a negative message about who they are, who others are, and what they can expect from the world. Emotions are often close to the surface, often confusing, and can result in either explosive behaviors or completely shutting down. Those who have experienced trauma early in life do not have the typical brain. They experience the world and relationships differently than other people, but that doesn’t mean these individuals (kids or adults) can heal from these early wounds.
Read more about developmental trauma here.
Anxiety can look like and feel like many different things. Kids, teens, and adults all experience anxiety. Some experience an excess of worry, while others feel paralyzed by fear. Many feel the symptoms of anxiety in a physical way: tightness in the chest, increased pulse rate, high blood pressure, stomach issues, and panic attacks. Some feel incredibly disconnected from their body and shut down. They feel nothing because feeling detached feels a lot safer than feeling absolutely everything.
Read more on Anxiety here.
We attach to our mothers while we are still in utero. Attachment problems can start that young too. If Mom was stress, if there was an excess of cortisol in her system, or if she was using substances, all of these things can impact attachment. Depressed or distracted mothers can impact how their child attaches. Inconsistent parenting and unpredictability in the home can disrupt attachment as well. If your child has sensory issues, this could have impacted attachment because the typical bonding behaviors might have been dysregulating to your child.
Read more on Attachment here.
Autism Spectrum Disorder
For those with ASD, we often use a two-pronged approach: calm the brain and work on skills. Neurofeedback is helpful for calming the brain. NFB training can reduce the intensity of the symptoms an individual experiences. This intervention will never change the diagnosis but may help individuals function within their optimal range. Neurofeedback can help reduce the number and intensity of meltdowns, decrease sensory sensitivity, and calming down the brain in general will help them engage more with the world.
Even healthy brains need a little boost every now and then. Performance enhancement is often a reason people seek neurofeedback, so while you may not be experiencing mental health symptoms, you might find yourself struggling with word retrieval, memory, and concentration. We all have a combination of slow wave and fast wave in our brains and sometimes things can get out of balance. Once things are back in balance, you’ll likely start feeling like yourself again.
Concussions can be a game changer. The list of post-concussive symptoms is long and can range from mental health symptoms like anxiety and depression to changes in personality and risk-taking behavior. Remember with old box TVs when we used to hit the side thinking it would fix that weird line going across the screen? Hitting our head throws off the electrical activity in our brains too. It can lead to “hot spots” in our brain and depending on where that happens, the consequence varies. With neurofeedback, if we quiet the brain, we quiet the symptoms. And because we start with a qEEG, we can see exactly where the hot spot is.
Major Depressive Disorder is the leading cause of disability in those ages 15-44. Depression can be paralyzing, preventing you from your normal life and relationships. Depression effects young children, teens, adults, and seniors and the rates continue to get worse. Many find themselves taking psychotropic drugs or putting their children on psychotropic drugs. Suicide is the leading cause of death in teens in Colorado. Depression is both painful and powerful. There are several different options for addressing depression. We offer various approaches to talk therapy, EMDR, and Neurofeedback. You have options and you don’t need to feel stuck.
Signs of depression:
- Loss of interest in activities and relationships that were once enjoyable.
- Withdrawal and isolation.
- Eating more or less than normal
- Sleeping more or less than normal
- Craving sugar, high fat, or high carb foods
- Moodiness and irritability
- Difficulty moving on from a loss or traumatic event
- Low stress tolerance
- When someone asks, “What’s wrong” and they just don’t know, but they know they don’t feel okay.
Early Childhood Trauma
Early childhood trauma comes with a lot of challenges for the individual and the family. Individuals with early trauma may struggle in school, particularly with math and reading, they often have an ADHD diagnosis, they may struggle with making and keeping friends, often show either explosive reactions or they shut down completely. Mood instability is common, as is going into a fear response (fight, flight, freeze) at unexpected times and for unexpected reasons. Intense daydreams, lying, making up stories, fits, food hoarding, and much more are all related to childhood trauma.
Read more on childhood trauma here.
Fits and Tantrums
Does your child throw fits past the age when it’s to be expected? Do you find that there’s nothing you can say to help them calm down? Is it like a flip of a switch and getting it to turn off can feel like a never ending process. If your child is having meltdowns that last more than 15 minutes, if it has become an expected part of your day, if it goes beyond your child being hungry or tired, then counseling may be beneficial. Whether we use counseling or neurofeedback depends on what’s going on in your child’s life. With more information, we can direct you to the best place to start.
Impulsivity is to be expected in kids and teens. Our brains are not done developing until our mid-twenties, and impulse control is one of the last things to develop. Some impulsivity is normal, but if impulsivity in your child or teen is impacting their life in a negative way: consistently getting in trouble at school, increasingly risky behaviors, or your worried it’s going to change the trajectory of their lives, then it’s time for an intervention. Whether we use counseling or neurofeedback depends on what’s going on in your child’s life. With more information, we can direct you to the best place to start.
Neurofeedback can be highly effective for sleeping difficulty. Do you have trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking up tired? Do you have trouble falling asleep because of a busy mind or an empty mind? Sleep is imperative to our well-being. If we’re not rested, we struggle with mood, concentration, and being interested in activities, relationships, and being social. There could be a brain reason you’re not sleeping and a brain map can give us a clue into what you have going on.
Being a parent is hard. Really, really hard. And sometimes Mom and Dad are at a loss. How many hours of sleep have you lost? Do you feel like you’re failing your child? Do you day-dream about going on vacation and leaving one of the kids at home? Or maybe you want to leave the entire crew at home. Do you ever regret your decision to adopt your child? Are you the mom who no matter how hard you try, you can’t seem to have the same relationship with your child that he or she has with your spouse? Have you ever considered an out-of-home placement? You are not alone. You do not need to feel shame over any of the emotions, thoughts, or words that have escaped in front of your child—what you need is support. Sometimes other parents don’t get it, especially if their child is typically developing and yours isn’t. Sometimes your other kids won’t get it either, or maybe your spouse doesn’t seem to get it. We’re here to help, either with parenting strategies, understanding your child and the impact of their trauma, or simply giving you safe space to be honest with your struggle.