Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Usually there are lots of questions when a parent realizes their child may have a learning disorder. Here is a series of frequently asked question and answers about ADD, ADHD, treatments, and our Attention & Achievement Center.
We hope you find the resources useful. Please call us at 925-837-1100 if you have more questions and to schedul an initial learning disability evaluation appointment.
Attention deficit disorder (ADD)/ Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is the most commonly diagnosed disorder in children and teens. The symptoms include inattentiveness, over-activity, impulsivity, or a combination. For these problems to be diagnosed as ADD/ADHD, they must be out of the normal range for a child's age and development. Children may have difficulty concentrating, following instructions, sitting still and interacting with others. Some may call out answers without waiting their turn and make inappropriate comments. Others might be quiet and keep to themselves, daydreaming away at their desks. Some children with ADHD primarily have the inattentive type. Others may have a combination of types. Those with the inattentive type are less disruptive and are more likely to not be diagnosed with ADHD.
Fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork
Has difficulty keeping attention during tasks or play
Does not seem to listen when spoken to directly
Does not follow through on instructions and fails to finish schoolwork, chores, or duties in the workplace
Has difficulty organizing tasks and activities
Avoids or dislikes tasks that require sustained mental effort (such as schoolwork)
Often loses toys, assignments, pencils, books, or tools needed for tasks or activities
Is easily distracted
Is often forgetful in daily activities
Fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat
Leaves seat when remaining seated is expected
Runs about or climbs in inappropriate situations
Has difficulty playing quietly
Is often "on the go," acts as if "driven by a motor," talks excessively
Blurts out answers before questions have been completed
Has a tough time awaiting his or her turn
Interrupts others (e.g., disrupts a conversation or game)
ADD/ADHD can be diagnosed by a trained professional at the Attention and Achievement Center. This is done with a face-to-face evaluation. We will take a comprehensive history, including current and past symptoms, medical conditions, co-existing psychological disorders and family history. When diagnosing children, we will gather information from parents and teachers. One way that ADD/ADHD can be identified is through EEG (electroencephalographic) analysis, which enables us to record and understand brainwaves. For example, slow brainwaves are associated with “unfocused" behaviors. In contrast, fast brainwaves are normally produced when a person focuses and concentrates. People with ADD or ADHD often show an excess of slow brainwaves or insufficient fast brainwaves, or both. Typically, this results in impulsive and hyperactive behavior. FDA has cleared qEEG as a diagnostic device for ADHD.
Persons with ADD/ADHD frequently have difficulty concentrating and processing regardless of intelligence level. In fact, the I.Q. of persons with ADD/ADHD is often above average, but ADD/ADHD blocks this potential. This gap between potential and actual performance throughout the lives of ADD/ADHD sufferers often leads to low self-esteem, psychological/emotional problems and underachievement at school and work.
Doctors prescribe drugs for ADD/ADHD because they are presumed to stimulate the brain and increase brain functioning. While taking such stimulants, patients are temporarily able to focus, stay on task and filter out distractions. Unfortunately, once the medicine leaves the person's system, so do the positive effects, thus resulting in a dependency upon such medications.
The most common possible causes include a combination of the following:
Genetics: Studies show that ADD/ADHD runs in families with greater frequency than in the general population. Researchers also have explored the contribution of specific genes. A recent large-scale study demonstrated that many genes are involved in ADD/ADHD. Since many symptoms make up the disorder, that would seem to make sense.
Environment: The maternal environment might increase the risk for ADD/ADHD, including smoking during pregnancy (in an already genetically susceptible child), low birth weight, premature birth, pre-natal exposure to alcohol and/or drugs, head injuries, high fevers (over 105 degrees) for longer than 24 hours, brain infections and possibly chronic/severe ear infections at early ages. Some research has found that preschool children exposed to high levels of lead might be vulnerable to ADD/ADHD. Also, ADHD seems to be associated with traumatic events, such as emotional or physical abuse.
Food additives: The hypothesis that food additives increase ADHD risk has been a controversial one. A recent study found that drinking beverages with food additives increased hyperactivity in children without ADHD.
What is EEG Neurofeedback?
EEG Neurofeedback, also known as EEG (Electroencephalogram) Biofeedback, is a safe, non-invasive, painless learning procedure during which sensors called electrodes are placed on the surface of the patient's head. The sensors record brain activation level and enable participants to learn to improve mental performance, normalize behavior, and stabilize mood. The information is displayed on a computer screen, together with sounds which change according to the brain's activity levels. Therefore, the patient can read, understand and influence his or her brainwave activity. Once the patient learns to access and activate the brain more effectively, all the symptoms in the cluster of problems begin to improve.
EEG Neurofeedback is a natural, self-regulating approach that helps restore the brain's ability to function in the manner in which it was designed to function. And EEG Neurofeedback is perhaps the biggest breakthrough in non-invasive medicine in the last 50 years.
The following is a list of conditions that can be improved using EEG Neurofeedback.
What is QEEG testing?
Once an EEG test has been conducted the collected data is analyzed and quantified (QEEG). The quantified data of the individual patient's is statistically compared to an age matched norm/average. QEEG determines how the data differs from the norm/average and assigns a "Z-score." These differentiations can aid in diagnosing Major Affective Disorders, Head Trauma, Learning Disabilities, and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
An Evoked Potential test is a diagnostic test used to evaluate functional anomalies in the peripheral and central nervous systems. Evoked potentials diagnose these systems by presenting an external stimulus and eliciting a particular response. There are four primary types of Evoked Potentials: visual, cognitive, auditory and Somatosensory. Below is an explanation of each type.
- Auditory Evoked Potentials (AEP)
These methods evaluate the status of the auditory nerve, brainstem, and cortical auditory sensory pathways. The Auditory Brainstem Evoked Potential (ABSEP or BSEP) assesses the integrity of the system from the peripheral ear to the mid brain regions for each ear, separately, against a control procedure.
- Cognitive Evoked Potentials (P-300)
Cognitive Evoked Potentials are electrophysiological responses related to meaning or significance of a stimulus, and are typically conducted by means of counting the occurrence of a target stimulus in random presentation with non-target stimuli. These tests are broken down in to two categories - auditory P300 and visual P300. Categorizing the P300 is especially useful for detecting processing difficulties of auditory or visual stimuli often seen in children suffering from Attention Deficit Disorder.
- Visual Evoked Potentials(VEP)
These procedures evaluate the visual system from the optic nerve to the occipital lobes of the brain. Each eye and/or visual field can be evaluated separately. In general, Visual Evoked Potentials are often used to evaluate problems like double vision, attention deficits, or damage to the optic nerve.
- Somatosensory Evoked Potentials (SSEP)
Somatosensory Evoked Potentials examine sensory pathways by stimulating specified nerves (generally large mixed nerves) in the upper and lower extremities.
What results can I expect from EEG Neurofeedback Treatment of ADD/ADHD, Autism and other disorders?
EEG Neurofeedback is a very effective treatment for ADD/ADHD, Autism and other disorders. It can provide substantial improvement for many patients by improving/strengthening brain function. These patients are able to learn more effectively and, thus, work up to their full potential at school or work, achieving higher tests scores and improved job performance. In addition, the treatment helps the patient learn to curb impulsive behavior and reduce hyperactivity. The patient's behavior becomes more appropriate, which results in an improvement of social skills, and an increase in self-esteem and confidence.
How effective is EEG Neurofeedback Treatment for ADD/ADHD?
We have been effective in helping the majority of our patient population achieve a reduction or resolution of ADD/ADHD symptoms and no longer require medication.
Will my or my child's condition improve as a result of the Attention and Achievement Center's treatments for ADD/ADHD, Autism or other disorders?
Most patients treated with EEG Neurofeedback achieve mild to profound improvement.
What scientific research is available on EEG Neurofeedback Treatment?
Scientists have been researching EEG Neurofeedback for the last thirty years. Treatment applications now include epilepsy, ADD/ADHD, Autism, sleep disorders, alcohol and/or chemical dependency and depression and anxiety disorders. Please see our Downloads/Articles section for articles on the scientific research into the effectiveness of EEG Neurofeedback.
How do I get started?
The first step is to either call the Attention and Achievement Center at 866-881-8820 or complete an Appointment Request Form to schedule an initial consultation/evaluation appointment.
How long does the Initial Consult appointment take?
The Initial Consult appointment usually lasts about one to one and half hour and is designed to be a positive experience for the client. Usually you will all fist meet with our Center Director. During this time, provided the client is over 5 years old and capable of normal functions, s/he will be administered an Assessment of Mental Concentration Ability to evaluate Focus, Stamina, Impulsivity, Transition Ability, and processing speed. These results are then compared to normal same age, gender and population. Additional developmental history is also gathered from parents in order to better understand your concerns. During this meeting, our Center director will make recommendations which are designed to insure accurate assessment of difficulties and selection of the right tools.
How long are the sessions and how many sessions are recommended?
This will entirely depend on the outcome of the assessments and varies significantly for each client. For example, clients with Auditory Processing Difficulties will benefit from 30 to 90 hours of training, most of which can now be done at home and require only one office visit every two weeks. For EEG Neurofeedback, our treatment plans require a minimum of 40 one-hour sessions, while Autistic patients require many more. The specific number of sessions will be discussed after the evaluation. The frequency of sessions is two to three times per week. The more frequent the treatment sessions are at the beginning, the more potent each treatment is in enabling the brain to develop healthier patterns. Once treatment is complete, most patients will not have to come back for further sessions. The brain will have learned to work efficiently by itself and will continue to be stimulated by everyday interactions.
Yes. We work with anyone over the age of 5. In fact, some of our patients did not know that they had ADD/ADHD until adulthood and have found great relief in finally understanding and strengthening a weakened attention system that made work or home life difficult.
We do not accept any insurance plans although most PPO health plans may cover some of our services. We will provide you with receipts to submit to your own insurance company for possible payment. CPT code for Neurofeedback is 90901. You can check with your insurance company to see if you have Out-Of-Network coverage and if they cover this code. There are several codes for neuropsychological assessments ( 96101, 96102, 96125, and 95816) which are most often covered by PPO plans under Mental Health Coverage. The codes for qEEG Brain Mapping are 95957, 90889 and they might be covered under your medical portion of your plan.
We can check your insurance coverage AFTER your Initial Consult.
ADD is considered a disability, and although persons with ADD are protected against discrimination by the Americans With Disabilities Act, being diagnosed with ADD can cause a person to lose their job (for example, if you are in the Army, or if you are a pilot). A national database of your health records is maintained in Boston, which is shared by most insurance companies, the government, and potential employers.
The initial consult is $195 and typically takes 60-90 minutes. Assessments range from $650 to $4,800 depending on a range of factors, and your needs. Therapeutic services packages start from $2,000 with a majority of cases being from $4,500 to $7,500.
What is your cancellation policy?
To avoid being charged for a missed appointment, you will need to advise us of any changes no later than 24 hours prior to your appointment time for regular appointments, and 48 hours for PACE, psychotherapy and Initial Consults.
Initial Consult fees are non-refundable, but with 72 hours notice we will be happy to re-schedule the appointment for another time.
Do I need a medical diagnosis to come to see you?
Generally no, but it mostly depends on the nature of services you are seeking. If a medical referral is required, we can obtain it after your initial consult.
Yes, we offer full neuropsychological evaluation, including IQ and cognitive (memory, processing speed, retrieval speed, etc.) testing which not only helps pinpoint the core causes of difficulties but also checks to see if the client meets IEP or 504 (special educational accommodations) from the school district. We also can attend school meetings to support your request for additional services.
For additional information, call the
Brain Wellness Center at 925-837-1100
Office in San Ramon