Reports of Parents and Patients
Due to the complexity of human behavior, psychological research is often beset with the problem of what to measure. The data collected for the research reported in this book focused upon memory as the key measure. In particular, the measure was spontaneous free recall. Memory is a complex phenomenon and not a unitary concept. Memory ability can vary across different measures of memory…for smell, taste, how to do things, for where objects were placed, for a to-do list, etc. Our measures involved spontaneous free recall for auditory and reading memory. In many academic testing situations, the multiple choice format type question assesses recognition memory for information, an easier memory task. Psychological research on memory functioning invariably indicates higher scores for recognition tasks than spontaneous free recall. There were four reasons why we choose this measure as the critical measure.
1)TBI patients report that loss of memory functioning is their most problematic deficit.
2)Recall of a conversation is a critical cognitive skill in our modern society. A conversation is auditorily-presented information of a short length in duration. The short paragraph task reflects this situation and thus is intuitively relevant to “real-life” memory issues.
3)Memory measures are relatively easy to administer and score.
4)The ability of a person to comprehend and make inferences from information logically follows from a person’s ability to recall the information. We can’t comprehend what we can’t recall.
To address the limitation of our measures, it is standard procedure to ask the parents of the individuals or the individuals who are or have participated in our program to comment on what they have observed in the behavior of themselves or their children and to provide what academic reports they have received. As is customary in these situations, we will not be providing specific names or identifying data. This type of information is not intended to be providing proof of a scientific nature.
The relationship between the qEEG variables that we are addressing and human behavior has not been delineated to the extant that we can render precise statements that this or that location or frequency is tied to this or that behavior. We are dealing with a complex system that is in constant interaction with itself and the environment. The behavior changes noted by the parents often reflect changes that we would never anticipate nor imagine to measure. We and the parents offer these comments to the reader with the understanding of the above stated limitations and problems of measurement in this area. These statements are not provided as testimonials, but as the perceptions of individuals who were involved in their children’s care.
Clinical Update shortly after finishing program and returning to school.
I wish to express my deepest and sincere appreciation for the work that you have done for my daughter. As you know, she has suffered from multiple cognitive symptoms that are generally described as learning disabilities, but are due to her complicated medical history as a 1 pound, 15 ounce premature baby. Various medical and educational evaluations have consistently found her to be mildly retarded on standard psycho-educational and neuropsychological measures, despite an excellent vocabulary and good social skills. She has struggled with academic work since kindergarten, and has never performed at age level.
With my professional background as a pediatric and adolescent neuropsychologist and as a developmentally based psychotherapist, my husband and I have researched and tried many interventions, most without measurable results. Since your intensive treatment of her with Quantitative EEG neurotherapy for several hours a day, daily for 2 weeks, her change of abilities and feelings are incredible! She is actually reading proficiently and for sustained periods of time. For the first time in her life, she asked me to wait a few minutes until she finished the chapter of a book she was reading. Before your intervention, it was a battle of wills to get her to read even a paragraph! Her ability to communicate her observations and articulate questions has increased dramatically. I am highly confident that she will now be able to perform much better in school in the coming year, and eventually leave her LD designation behind.
As I told you, we have spent much of our savings on reading and math interventions over the years, and now with 2 concentrated weeks, everything has changed.
Her progress since we were at your clinic has brought us to the point where she can sit down and work on catching up on math for 2 and 3 hours at a time, and make real progress, and without any emotional meltdowns. Reading is still a chore for her, but she has found some books she likes, and now she reads herself to sleep most evenings.
Clinical update several months later.
The changes in her life continue to piggy-back on one another. While it would have been nice, of course, for the neurofeedback to have filled her with content as well as solve the underlying processing issues, she is re-structuring her approach to learning and problem solving one synapse at a time. This has been difficult for her, as she has so much experience with failure, and many emotional and cognitive mechanisms in place to protect herself from the feelings that have for so long accompanied her failures, that she continues to revert to them when stressed. Her successes, however, continue to happen, and we are now at the point, 6 months after we worked with you, where she can no longer pass them off as chance occurrences. We have had some rough times during this transition, as she acclimates to a new self-appraisal, new work-habits, and the challenges that come with re-organizing an entire world-view. I had her parent-teacher conference this morning, and unlike previous conferences, which focused on her problems and resistances, this one was a catalog of successes and the pride everyone, including herself, is taking in the changes.
Today on the way to school, when still struggling with parts of the times table, Emily said that she has now made the decision to memorize them once and for all, so that she can get on to more interesting work. This is quite a change in attitude on her part. In the last 10 weeks she has covered almost an entire academic year’s worth of math curriculum, including the enhancements in the program for advanced students. For the first time, we expect that she will advance beyond the basic arithmetic operations into algebra. She is already doing very well in basic geometry. Her reading fluency and comprehension continue to improve, and most of all, her ability to retrieve previously learned information has made the most dramatic turn for the better. All of this progress has now allowed us to concentrate more on broader concepts and tying individual pieces of information together to form a network of knowledge.
There has been a basic change in her ability to act as an independent, self-regulating individual in the world, which has been remarked on by everyone who has worked with her, and especially by those who have spent extended time with her. It is truly the difference between health and developmental disability. I thank you and your staff for all that you have done to help make this time in our lives come to pass. I only regret that we did not know about you and your work sooner.
Subject No. 2:
Clinical Update #1:
I find that I am a lot less forgetful. With the ongoing medication adjustments, though, the metabolic swings make it harder for me to achieve a steady state, cognitively and otherwise, but in the last 2 days, things have finally started to feel more predictable. Still some problems with word retrieval, but overall, I notice improvement in myself.
Clinical update #2:
Since my work with you over the summer, I have noticed several areas in which my memory and learning are better than at any time in my life. This is an enormous comfort as I enter that time of life when memory and learning are said by many professionals to be on the decline. I am very much enjoying not having to work so hard to stay in the same place as before, and also to see improvements in areas I thought were destined never to improve!
Subject No. 3:
As to myself I find that I am choosing a whole different set of words to express ideas and thoughts. I felt a shift in consciousness, like shifting train tracks… a quick like a flash of light, in choosing words to express self. That was a major effect. Felt much more comfortable after that expressing self and choice of words.
Subject No. 4:
The changes are dramatic. He can now find a car in mall parking lot. He used to refuse to look for car, he would sit on curb and wouldn’t even attempt to find it. Now he confidently comes out and finds it.. a major change. He is also better with driving, knowing directions (N, S, etc.), whether to turn right or left at corner. He is more oriented to where he is and where he is going, dramatic…he had no clue before. He couldn’t find the lake before (Lake Michigan). He is much more aware of surroundings. Before he couldn’t find something in the refrigerator. He now finds it immediately. He couldn’t find things in his closet, now he can. He is not getting speeding tickets anymore, observing road conditions better and slowing down. He didn’t do this before. He had 5 speeding tickets and had lost his license for 21 months. Now he is more cautious, more control of his energy and emotions. He isn’t seeking thrill seeking with the car’s speed. He is more of a B personality now. He has more control over his behavior. He is less caustic, more careful in saying things that will upset people. He takes less of the devil advocate attitude and goes with the flow of the situation.
Subject No. 5:
His grammar and punctuation are much better. There is much less run on sentences. His choice of words have improved dramatically. His overall writing ability has improved. He always had good ideas, but struggled before with word choice and getting ideas down in proper structure. His spelling is better. He got a couple of speeding tickets. Now he is not speeding anymore. He is more responsible about taking care of things that need to be done. His room is neater. There is improved perceptive about other people. He has dramatically improved his ability to read other people and tune into them. He doesn’t get upset as much. He monitors where the other person is at better. He is less lazy. He stays on task better than before.
Subject No. 6:
It definitely aided him. He is now on the honor roll, but is still tutored daily. The teachers find him enjoyable. He occasional zones out. He has better attention now. I think it helped with his strabismus.
Subject No. 7:
My daughter came to you for a series of biofeedback neurotherapy sessions last summer. Her sessions were covered by the school system supplementary educational program. She had a total of ten or eleven sessions with you, which I’m sure you remember. I just wanted to write and tell you how she’s doing.
I have noticed a clear and definite improvement in her academic performance. This is hard to quantify, as she has not been formally retested, and has had only one report card since then (which was overall very good). Nevertheless it is clear that she is doing much better.
Actually, there is one very clear indication of improvement: For the last few years, in the middle of every marking period, I always received a warning notice containing items such as:
Wastes time in class Difficulty staying on task
Citizenship needs improvement Frequent tardiness hurts progress
Creates behavior problems in class Not listening to group instruction
And so forth. However, this past marking period, I received no warning notice! In addition, at her IEP Review meeting in December, her case manager, her guidance counselor, her study strategy teacher, history teacher and science teacher all agreed that she is an earnest and motivated student, has a good attitude, and is a pleasure to have in class!
She is now in her first year of high school, and all her teachers without exception feel that she is keeping up with the material quite well. I find this really delightful and frankly surprising, because academics have always been a major challenge. She has always tested in the low average range, combined score of around 86. But she is functioning well in the middle track —-not the basics track. She is doing Pre-algebra, which I find remarkable, since her last nationalized test score in math last year was consistent with previous years, where she tested in or around the 8th percentile!
She, as I’m sure you remember, is what you might call a “character”; she has always been fun, but at times very difficult and challenging. Lately, though, we’ve been running into far fewer problems, and she is clearly maturing.
So, I am delighted to report that the neurocognitive sessions have had a highly beneficial and broad effect. I hope many more students will have the opportunity to receive this form of help.
Subject No. 8
He was not very helpful although he agreed that something that has changed since June is that he keeps remembering things he said or did in the past that might have hurt someone else’s feelings and feeling guilty about them. Now, this could also be related to a traumatic incident that took place at school before we left for your location. I have also noticed that he seems more physically affectionate as in putting his arm around my shoulders and allowing me to rub his back. As a small child this physical reciprocity was not a problem (hugs etc.). As he grew older he became more resistant to physical contact. He is still not very social or chatty. His speech slurs at times and spelling is a major problem. We are working on all of these. Incidentally, we saw an Imax movie yesterday, “Wired to Win.” It talked about rewiring the brain through building neurological connections. They used the Tour de France as to illustrate this. It’s hard to believe that doctors and other professionals are still questioning the validity of neurocognitive treatment.
He has become more sociable, re-joined Scouts, went on social outings with his summer theatre troupe, and has begun to discuss his interior life more spontaneously with his mother.
Subject No. 9:
Hi Dr Thornton ,
We are so happy with the results of the treatment. I am still waiting for the academic reports. We were out of town during finals and he has some incompletes that he needs to make up sometime in the next 2 weeks. He had a really awesome report card I did see part of his report card and it was awesome, he did get 2 F’s but that was for gym, same teacher 2 separate classes he was an aid for gym and he just didn’t get along with her.
The changes we have noticed in him are: His vocabulary has tripled. He now reads books. Before treatment he wasn’t able to even read a chapter and remember what it said. He reads for pleasure now that it isn’t a huge chore like it was before. His short term memory has greatly improved. I seldom have to repeat instructions to him. His self confidence levels have improved 100%. He used to be a boy who hardly spoke to anyone, now he will come up and introduce himself to strangers. He is even teaching a children’s Martial Arts class. As for academic. His grades keep improving, he has gone from an F student to a C and B student. He has lots of catching up to do and I believe if we had started this treatment sooner he would be an A student by now.
My wife does the vast majority of the school work with him, so I asked her to write some of her observations down. My own observation is that in the activities he and I do together, he is more “with it” verbally and attentively. We went deer hunting this year and he is completely focused on that and on following my instructions relative to that. He still wanders off in his own world when things around him don’t interest him. His friends say he talks too much about his video games and not much about what they do together, but enough so that he is participating in their activities more. Here is what my wife had to say: He has had a better school year this year.
He is still slow in schoolwork and homework, but the difference is that he is able to learn from drilling. (Last year, even this was an almost an impossible task.) Weaknesses still are reading comprehension, verbal attending, and keeping up with what is going on around him (classroom discussion, instruction, mealtime conversation, etc.) He still has a lack of language for his age. This is rapidly coming up to speed with the fast pace curriculum of the school he attends, but has a long way to go. Anecdotally, he seems more often in our world then he was a year ago. He still wanders off into his own imagination and “world” but not as frequently or to the extent he did last year. Hard to say if the improvement comes from the biofeedback, maturity, better classroom management, the one on one tutoring he receives from mom, or a combination of some or all. If biofeedback was locally available, I would not hesitate to incorporate it regularly in our lives.
I would add to what my wife says above, that his grades are pretty good. Still makes one C on a report card, the rest A’s and B’s. He’s doing better than a lot of kids that don’t have his issues.
My daughter is a twenty-two year neurologically impaired female with developmental delays, sensory integration, learning disabilities, visual impairments, speech and language, anxiety and a secondary diagnosis of ADD.
She had an IEP and was “included” throughout her educational years. She has difficulties with Math however has always excelled in reading despite her learning disabilities.
I did not know what to expect when she began biofeedback but I felt confident after reading the material that she had to make some improvement. With a child like her I have and continue to try innovative treatments to boost her level of learning. When I learned about Dr. Thornton’s method of biofeedback, I knew it was something she could handle since it was just a matter of sitting and listening and watching a screen.
While her expressive language is weaker then her receptive language, she has a flare to write and can express her thoughts and feelings at a higher level vs verbally.
After a few sessions subtle changes were noticed specifically with the anxiety. She graduated in June and has not had any formal educational training since. Therefore from an educational standpoint it is difficult to note whether or not any changes are occurring. However, recently, I have structured her day to include at least 30 minutes of reading and a summary of what she’s read.
Before biofeedback she would tend to panic when writing her summary as she could never summarize what she’s read. She’s use the book to copy from the book. I have been amazed, as I have noticed that her writing ability has much improved in that it’s a lot more coherent.
Dear Dr. Thornton:
I would like to provide you with an update on the progress and performance of my daughter since you treated her about a year and a half ago. In summary, the results have been outstanding and they have persisted with no apparent reversion.
Prior to her treatment by you with Quantitative EEG neuro-therapy, she had great difficulty with her homework, particularly mathematics, and keeping her mind focused on her school work. This has lead to emotions of frustration, some paranoia about the teachers, and even a certain amount of suicidal thinking by her. She often stated to me that she thought she was “dumb.”
Since your treatment of her with Quantitative EEG neurotherapy, her change of abilities and feelings is nothing short of phenomenal! She is completing her daily work at school in the allowed time, and she is having no great difficulty doing her homework at home. Indeed, she has even termed work “easy.” This is a stunning change in behavior. She has a positive attitude, and happy and no longer complains about school or the teachers. I am certain that this is all a direct result of your intervention techniques. She is performing near the top of her class academically. In addition to her academic recovery, her social recovery has also been dramatic. Recently, she decided to run for president of her class, which she did, and she was elected! This is quite wonderful.
Thank you again for your wonderful work.
From a very early age he was a child who could not sit still, fought taking his naps, had great difficulty transitioning out of one activity into another, was prone to temper tantrums, and had difficulty calming and soothing himself, and play alone. I, as his mother, would become quite exhausted and overwhelmed with him at times.
I began reading various books on parenting and found one called “The Difficult Child”, which was an excellent resource. It identified my son’s personality traits such as high intensity, reactivity, difficulty with transitions, high energy level, and tendency toward getting locked into an activity with difficulty letting it go, temper outburts, and difficulty playing alone for any period of time. I wondered about an ADHD diagnosis, but felt it was too premature to apply that label to him.
Upon starting kindergarten and subsequently1st and 2nd grade, I received frequent notes from the various teachers regarding his inability to sit still and to focus on the task at hand, in addition to reports of poor self-control and excessive talking. He is very bright, so academically he was able to maintain above average grades for the most part, but had difficulties with reading, i.e. learning fully and attending to consistently the phonetic rules of reading.
Finally, in 2nd grade upon being exasperated with teacher notes, conferences, and phone calls, I called your office to screen my child for possible ADHD. You conducted a rough screening of my child, which suggested a strong possibility of hyperactivity/ADHD. I pursued further brain mapping which revealed he was about 2 standard deviations off the norm for hyperactivity and distractibility. I felt some relief, as I had wondered if I was just miserably failing as a parent. We initiated treatment and first addressed behavioral control. Approximately 8 sessions into the treatment, I began to notice a gradual change in him in that he was slowly becoming less reactive and intense. Over the course of continued treatment the temper outbursts significantly decreased and he gradually appeared to have more of a choice in terms of controlling his anger, reactivity and behavioral responses. Also, his reading significantly improved as the treatment continued and we supplemented neurotherapy with a reading tutor for about one year. His Terra Nova reading score went from bottom 25th percentile to almost top 25th percentile as a result of this treatment. The teacher commented on the incredible jump in test scores. The treatment continued and he now can exercise control over his reactivity, talkativeness and anger.
He is a honors student consistently, studies piano, and participates in many sports. He is well liked by teachers and peers, although he still requires redirection to sit still and stay on track. I have never felt the need to use medication. He holds his own in a structured, competitive Catholic grammar school setting. His memory is excellent and he excels in math, science and music. Language arts grades range from A+ to B. Writing paragraphs is the biggest challenge for him, as he wants to hurry up and get it over with. Leisure time reading is not his preference, but when structured into his day, he can quietly read for at least 30 minutes and comprehend. He practices 30 minutes of classical piano each day and responsibly brings home all his books for studying and completes all his homework. He is a leader with his peers and loves socializing. At times, this distracts him from his work, but again with redirection guidance and structure he excels as an above-average student. Your treatment has been completely and thoroughly effective for him and has changed his life and the family life for the better. This has been truly a gift and maybe a miracle.
We have been to other EEG biofeedback practitioners in searching for help for our son. Dr. Thornton’s approach produced results with every series of treatments.
It is hoped that this discussion has provided the necessary information and logical arguments for a basic change in our approach to several major societal problems. The most logical and important place to start is in the school systems with the special education child. Whether the educational and political system will respond is uncertain at this point. I would like to thank the reader for your time in reading this discussion.
To the world a child is only one child. To a child, there is only one child.
If you know how to change the mind of one child, you know how to change the world.