Neurofeedback at Schools: Exercise for the Brain
What is Neurofeedback?
Neurofeedback is a type of treatment that provides the person with specific information about their own brain activity.
When information about brainwave patterns is provided, the person can learn to change them. This can be thought of as exercise, or training, for the brain.
The brain plays a role in regulating sleep, emotions, thinking, behaviour and all body functions. With neurofeedback training we can help the brain to regulate those functions more efficiently.
How frequent are the sessions?
In the initial stages of learning, the sessions should be regular and frequent; twice per week.
After learning begins to consolidate, the pace can be reduced to once a week.
Initial goals may be met after 20 sessions, at which time assessments are re-administered.
How can neurofeedback be helpful?
Neurofeedback is used with children and adults, in the treatment of a range of issues including:
▪ Attention difficulties
▪ Learning difficulties
▪ Behavioural difficulties
▪ Emotional dysregulation/anger outbursts
▪ Sleep Problems
▪ Post Traumatic Stress Symptoms
▪ Panic attacks
What is involved in Neurofeedback?
Neurofeedback training is non-intrusive, enjoyable and fun. Sensors used in training are attached to the scalp to measure brainwaves while the person plays a computer game. When the brain produces certain brainwaves which we want to reinforce, the person progresses through the game (receiving direct feedback). Through operant conditioning, the brain learns new patterns for better functioning.
Is Neurofeedback effective for everyone?
It is not possible to predict with certainty that neurofeedback training will be successful for a particular person or for a particular condition. However, the effectiveness of the training can usually be assessed within the first ten sessions.
Referring for Neurofeedback
Parents/carers, teachers and counsellors can make a referral to STARTTS, using the general referral form on startts.org.au, where they may request neurofeedback. Everyone referred to STARTTS goes through a general intake process and waiting list. They will be allocated to a general counsellor, who will assess the person’s suitability for neurofeedback. If appropriate, treatment will commence with a neurofeedback counsellor.
The school needs to provide:
– Permission to work on school grounds.
– A dedicated, confidential room without interruptions at a specific time.
– Time from teachers to provide information to the counsellor about the student’s behaviour, areas of strength and difficulty, as well as ongoing feedback on progress.
The teacher’s role
Teachers will be asked to closely monitor the student’s learning, mood, behaviour (in class and in the playground), and to inform the counsellor of any changes noticed, prior to each session. This feedback may be provided using a form to track changes. The teacher’s input is highly valuable in guiding the therapist to adjust treatment as required, to best suit the student.
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