Neurofeedback For Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, Dyspraxia, Dyscalculia

Can Neurofeedback Help Dyslexia, Dysgraphia and Dyspraxia ?

Dyslexia

It has been identified that the brains of dyslexia sufferers show different activity than those that don’t.

brain deregulation with dyslexia

The areas of the brain associated with reading skills, visual distortions and over-sensitivity to light are well understood and Neurofeedback protocols have been established to help difficulties in this area. Dyslexia is known as a ‘reading disorder’, manifesting in slow progress and difficulties with reading. It is essentially identified by reading achievements being substantially below what is expected given a child’s ages, measured in intelligence and education. Dyslexia significantly hinders (academic) activities requiring reading skills and is associated with certain characteristics.

Characteristics of Dyslexia
Hesitating over words;
Confusing letters with similar shapes, such as ‘u’ and ‘n’, visually similar words like ‘was’ and ‘saw’ and small words such as ‘it’ and ‘is’;
Omittng small words such as ‘it’ and ‘is’ other words, or word endings or
Making errors regarding semantically related words (reading ‘cat’ for ‘dog’), polysyllabic words (‘’animal, ‘corridor’, ‘family’ and so on) or grammar (including inconsistent use of tense).

This paper gives a comprehensive description of the neuroscience behind problems with reading in dyslexic and brain-damaged patients, and describes case studies where Neurofeedback resulted in a 400% improvement in reading memory, a 109% increase in reading ability, a 250% increase in reading comprehension:

  • Thornton, Kirtley E., and Dennis P. Carmody. “Electroencephalogram biofeedback for reading disability and traumatic brain injury.” Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America 14.1 (2005): 137-162.

This randomised controlled trial published in 2009 showed considerable improvement in spelling following Neurofeedback training:

  • Breteler, Marinus HM, et al. “Improvements in spelling after QEEG-based neurofeedback in dyslexia: A randomized controlled treatment study.” Applied psychophysiology and biofeedback 35.1 (2010): 5-11.

Dysgraphia

Like dyslexia, dysgraphia is a neurological disorder. Dysgraphia manifests in difficulties with (hand)writing and is often identified by an inability to write properly, difficulties with fine motor skills/control and pain when writing. The effects of dysgraphia can manifest in several in many ways; poor, incorrect or distorted writing (considering language development), varying sizes of letters and spaces between letters or words and difficulties following a straight line or margin when writing. Other characteristics are associated as well.

Characteristics of Dysgraphia
Writing that is impossible to read
Mixing printing and cursive writing
Writing in all directions (i.e. right slant then left slant)
Mixing up capital letters and lower case letters
Forming letters abnormal and irregular.
Very slow writing
Copying slow
A very tight pen grip, a ‘fist grip’
Holding a pen very low down so fingers almost touches the paper
Watching the hand intently whilst actually writing.
Poor or bizarre spelling
Difficulties with spelling wrong words (i.e. ‘brot’ for brought and ‘stayshun’ for station) or spelling words (i.e. drink as ‘brink’)

The areas of the brain associated with writing are also well understood. This 2012 study showed significant improvement in handwriting for all 24 participants who undertook Neurofeedback training:-

  • Walker, Jonathan E. “QEEG-guided neurofeedback for remediation of dysgraphia.” Biofeedback 40.3 (2012): 113-114.

Dyspraxia

Dyspraxia, is a neurological disorder as well and is considered as a developmental co-ordination disorder (DCD). In general, dyspraxia is identified by difficulties in basic and fine motor skills that affect movement and co-ordination. This manifests for example in a lack of co-ordination and clumsy behaviour, as well as difficulties regarding language, perception and thought. The specific characteristics of Dyspraxia can differ in children and adults, although there are a few overlapping characteristics.

Characteristics of Dyspraxia
Difficulties in fine movements (i.e. handwriting, using scissors, tying shoelaces, doing up buttons and using a knife and fork)
Movement and co-ordination problems (i.e. hopping, jumping, running, and catching or kicking)
Difficulties keeping/ sitting still
Difficulties in processing thoughts
Poor attention span, difficulties to concentrate on one thing
Not automatically picking up new skills and the need of encouragement and repetition to learn
Problems with writing stories and copying from the blackboard

This Case-Study-–-7-Year-Old-Girl-with-Dyspraxia describes the success achieved by a young girl in the UK who undertook Neurofeedback training for Dyspraxia.

Dyscalculia

Another neurological disorder is dyscalculia, also called a ‘Mathematics disorder’. Dyscalculia identified by difficulties in understanding and learning mathematics and manifests in problems regarding understanding numbers, learning how to manipulate numbers and math facts. A characteristic that typically occurs is difficulty in counting (back and forth). But again, it depends per individual which characteristic manifests.

Characteristics of Dyscalculia
Difficulty reading clocks / telling the time
Difficulties with the number zero
Problems regarding handling money
Difficulty conceptualizing time (often late or early)
Lack of understanding spatial orientation (differentiating between left and right)
Difficulties in (following) directions and navigating
Difficulty reading music notes
Having difficulties in measurements of objects, distance, temperature and/or speed
Often unable to understand (and remember) mathematical concepts, rules, formulae, and sequences
Inability to concentrate on mentally intensive tasks
Over-sensitivity to noise, smell, light
Poor name/face retrieval and/or problems in recollecting names

The areas of the brain associated with mathematical calculations are also well understood and Neurofeedback protocols are available to improve the function in these areas.

If you are interested to see if your child’s symptoms respond to Neurofeedback as the research has shown they can, please call us today on 0207 118 0887.

 

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