Neurofeedback For Your School or School District.
Neurofeedback in schools is good for taxpayers, teachers, students, and parents. There is no downside.
Executive Summary – Neurofeedback.
Imagine wearing a headset and playing a video game that only ‘goes’
when you are learning to increase the brain waves associated with focus
Neurofeedback is a kind of biofeedback which uses a sensor and
amplifier to detect the brain’s electrical signature so that it can be
seen, and thereby controlled. By watching your own neural activity
occurring, and gaining control over the brain waves you are producing,
you gain greater mental resilience and flexibility. You naturally
develop better coordinated neural activity. Multiple and diverse
benefits are typical, without any unwanted effects.
The educational benefits apply to all students including athletes,
gifted students and those with myriad special needs. Neurofeedback
yields permanent improvements in attention, learning, and memory.
It is used by the U.S. military, business, athletes and
performers to consistently achieve top performance, summon profound
concentration, and apply greater mental power to solve complex
There are several hundred scientific studies showing complete
and permanent elimination of ADHD, learning problems, and numerous
neurological disorders which cripple learning. The process is
beneficial for everyone to improve focus and concentration. Over
the past 30 years neurofeedback has proven completely safe in all
IQ boosts of 10-20 points are typical in certain special needs
groups. No other training or intervention of any kind has so
substantially reduced students’ need for pharmaceuticals such as
Ritalin. No other technology is as promising to reduce the cost of
providing a higher quality education to all students. No remedial or
didactic program has such compelling supportive data to fulfill the
President’s vision of leaving no student behind.
Several impressive organizations have embraced this technology due
it’s extraordinary results. But because the underlying paradigm in
new, institutional acceptance and definitive research funding has been
slow. The worst that can be said is that more research is
There are many reasons to get out in front early of this wide open
trend thundering at you soon. This may be the first you’ve heard
of neurofeedback, but it will not be the last.
A simple investigation on Google using terms such as ‘Neurofeedback,
QEEG, Lubar, ADHD, or ‘peak performance’ will be very revealing and
convincing of claims made here.
The Broad Range of Benefits to Students from Neurofeedback
Neural Awareness for Mental Self-Regulation.
Biofeedback is learning. Use a special mirror for awareness of a
function, and control of that function ensues. It works on the
principle that if you can clearly see or hear continuous real-time
output of a bodily function such as muscle tension, temperature, or
blood pressure, then you can learn to manipulate it. Neurofeedback
is biofeedback that uses an EEG to display the weak electrical
by-product which all live brains emanate. Some sensors on the
scalp can read blood flood in the brain instead of the electrical
Thus, neurofeedback is simply mental activity awareness
training. With awareness comes the ability to control brainwave
output and opens the possibility for self-regulation. Real time
observation of brainwaves leads to improved control for greater
resilience and flexibility of well coordinated neural activity. It
can look and feel just like playing a videogame with your mind while
wearing a special headset.
Neurofeedback has consistently been shown safe and effective in
improving self-regulation of neural activity in children of all
ages. The benefits are numerous, diverse and profound. The
myriad benefits are obtained by all kinds of students.
Of special note, on the one hand, are student athletes and gifted
students. The US Army academy and U.S. Olympic program have
embraced neurofeedback to optimize peak performance at
There is also ample evidence of substantial benefits for those with
attention, behavioral, and learning deficits. There is definitive
scientific evidence of partial or complete remediation of problems for
those with ADHD, learning disorders and myriad neurologically-based
disorders. To examine this evidence, simply open a search engine
such as Google and enter the terms “Neurofeedback” or “QEEG” and any
other term of interest. QEEG stands for Quantitative
ElectroEncephaloGraph which is a data intensive brain map used for
diagnosis. Caution: There are over 500 high quality scientific
journal articles on neurofeedback or EEG biofeedback.
Nearly all students can derive either intellectual, social,
emotional, or physiological benefits from optimizing neural functioning
through this kind of biofeedback training with an EEG or HEG.
Neurofeedback is safe enough to be approved by the FDA for consumers’
unregulated use. There is no risk in this form of learning.
But choices do have to be made, so the training might be supervised by
certified professionals, but run day-to-day by teachers’ aids. In
competent hands, it is reasonable to expect that 60-90% of all students,
will experience permanent educational benefits ranging from subtle to
The most likely benefits are enduring increases in the ability to
concentrate, focus, learn, remember, and make complex decisions.
Many other benefits are commonly reported. For example, IQ
increases of 10-20 points are common in certain special needs
groups. This result is considered by some to be a combination of
remediation of a certain reading or attentional difficulty plus
generalized improvement in brain functioning.
Quickly Self-Funding, and then Cost Saving.
Special education students make disproportionate use of costly
resources. The cost of implementing a neurofeedback program is not
only small, but it is self-funding. The money to pay for the EEG
equipment, software, and trainers are recouped in the cost savings of
mainstreaming special education students. This effect will be
apparent, even obvious, in any group of students, within a few months of
training in school. Even a pilot program should yield net cost
savings within one year.
No other kind of method has so substantially reduced students' need for
pharmaceuticals such as Ritalin. No other technology is as
promising to enlarge the academic prospects of children with learning
handicaps. There is no alternative program, remedial product, or
didactic curriculum which can make claims this credible and promising to
fulfill the President's vision to leave no child behind.
The State of the Art is Continuing to Develop.
Neurofeedback is not a new technology. It is not a popular technology.
Longitudinal studies for ADHD are now older than the term ADHD (20
years). The results often show that 90% of students experience
complete and permanent relief of attentional symptoms. Enter
“Lubar ADHD” in Google.
There are a few theories about how and why it works. But our
brains may not be complex enough to understand the complexity of our
brains. Compelling to many are the before and after brain maps
done with QEEG, SPECT, LORETTA, and other brain imaging
techniques. The math and physics are esoteric, but the before and
after pictures are obviously more balanced, healthy, and robust.
My opinion is that the body will choose health and reject dysfunction
when shown how.
Thousands of practitioners all over this nation are performing
miracles (according to the Moms) in just 40 sessions. The field is
specialized and developing rapidly. Experts are not of one mind
on several topics. Advanced and skillful practioners prefer
certain equipment, theories and nuances to approaching neurofeedback
treatment. There is a lively debate about optimizing training
methods. Some seek to reduce the number of sessions while others
seek to derive all possible benefits. Several hardware vendors and
software technologies claim similar results.
There may not be one ‘best’ approach now. There are not enough
well-funded research studies to have settled all these issues. But
any of these issues are all minor points when compared with the
big picture: massive educational benefits and savings await the
willing. Courage and leadership will be rewarded. This is an
international opportunity for excellence.
How Much Neurofeedback Should We Start … and How Soon?
There are three primary issues when considering adoption of any
neurofeedback proposal. Safety, effectiveness, and the evaluation
When conducted by volunteers or professionals, there is no credible
problem with safety. Even in a partially self-insuring district
with a litigious population, risk is not an issue. The only real
potential litigation problem is NOT adopting neurofeedback in a timely
manner, or in rejecting it unfairly.
Hundreds of studies and thousands of testimonials say this is no
placebo effect. Despite the evidence of effectiveness, there are
not plenty of neurofeedback programs in schools in surrounding
districts. The worst that can be said is that neurofeedback is
experimental. There are only 500 peer reviewed journal articles
with results that range from mild to extraordinary. The big,
definitive multi-university, randomized, replicated, double-blind,
prospective, controlled scientific study has not yet been funded.
We could be a major factor in the coming revolution. This is a
highly significant opportunity in all respects.
The only expert competent to judge neurofeedback is one familiar with
the specific technologies. This kind of proposal has been
defeated in other districts because of uniformed and erroneous criticism
by experts without expertise. In other districts, it has
languished because decision makers had no clear criteria to evaluate
degree of effectiveness required for adoption. When a proposal is
new or strange, it is subjected to extraordinary levels of fit and proof
which apply to no other decision.
In still other districts, those who saw a proposal die, do not say
why. Therefore, an open process of evaluation by those qualified
in the science and practice of neurofeedback is essential.
Reasonable criteria for adoption should be recognized early and then
honored in the light of day. The results of fair pilot studies
should determine the degree of subsequent steps toward greater use of
neurofeedback in the School District. The risk is nil, the upside
extraordinary in many ways.
Adopting neurofeedback to any degree requires courage, vision, and
openness to good ideas which aren’t entirely understood. The
potential rewards are awesome. The risk of inaction is merely
Self-controlled brain wave training has benefits to offer special
education students, athletes, gifted students, and all students.
There is substantial scientific evidence of complete remediation for
those with attention deficits and myriad learning disorders. The
largest benefit is for normal students in the form or greater ability to
focus on learning.
It is believed that all students can derive either intellectual,
social, emotional, or physiological benefits from optimizing neural
functioning. There is no risk of harm or downside to this form of
learning. In 80-90% of all students, permanent health and
educational benefits range from subtle to profound. Most often
cited are enduring increases in abilities to concentrate, focus, learn,
remember, and make complex decisions. Other benefits such as
improvements in sleep are commonly reported. IQ increases of 10-20
points are typical in certain special needs groups. Apart from
relieving a deficiency, nothing else increases IQ by 10-20 points.
No other educational program, therapy, or treatment has proven claims
to reduce or totally eliminate ADHD students’ need for pharmaceutical
stimulants such as Ritalin. No other technology is as promising to
reduce the cost of providing a higher quality education to all
students. No remedial or didactic program has proven this
effective in fulfilling the President’s vision of leaving no student
Beware of expert provincialism, defensiveness, unwarranted caution,
and unrevealed economic motives for squelching enlightened forward
movement. For example, psychiatry has well funded studies proving
drugs are a temporary remedy for ADHD. The drugs don’t work for
everyone and there are significant deleterious effects to powerful
stimulants. Therapy based on interaction with child psychologists
lack the kind of scientific verification for safety or effectiveness
enjoyed by neurofeedback. They are naturally in conflict with a
technology that can end their usefulness. There are no outspoken
critics of neurofeedback who don’t have conflicts of interest, such as
livelihood or having received pharmaceutical funding. The entire
field of ADHD treatment is due for a paradigm shift.
Every claim in this paper is easily verified with an internet search
engine. All the errors and a couple of the opinions are from Gary
Ames. I hope you found this introduction useful and that it impels
you to rapid, courageous, and dramatic action.