At the point when Cassandra Blake and her husband Mike first heard about Neurofeedback, they were desperate to try anything new to help Annie, their 10-year-old internationally adopted child.
When they first met Annie, there were early signs that she had experienced neglect. At almost a year of age, she weighed less than 14 pounds and she couldn’t sit up or roll over. However, within a year or two of living in Canada, she caught up on growth and developmental milestones.
It wasn’t until Annie was in grade one that Cassandra and Mike became really concerned about Annie. She resisted going to school and was aggressive with her younger sibling—she bit and hit him, and flew into wild rages.
After attending a workshop with adoption expert Jane Brown, who told the couple that they needed to act sooner rather than later around their child’s behaviour, the couple took her advice. Over the next couple of years, the family saw several therapists who used play therapy and cognitive behavioural approaches. If anything, these interventions resulted in minimal and temporary improvements.
By the time she was 10, their unhappy little girl was still highly anxious, prone to rages and aggression. She was oppositional at home, and was not enjoying, or doing well at school.
At this point, Cassandra and Mike considered taking Annie to a child psychiatrist. However, about the same time, they began to hear within the adoption community about positive results from Neurofeedback in overcoming the effects on the brain from early neglect. They decided to give Neurofeedback a try. It was a decision they celebrate every day.
“Within four sessions, we saw a difference in Annie,” says Cassandra. “She became affectionate, cooperative, and far more confident.” Before the end of the 18 treatments, Annie changed from being a child who couldn’t be in a separate room from the rest of the family, to choosing to do her homework by herself in another room. Her teacher was amazed at the change. Annie’s enthusiasm and effort in her work changed markedly. It’s now three months since she completed her sessions and, though Cassandra has seen some small regressions, Annie is far from being the troubled child she was before she started.
“I see Annie becoming the wonderful person that she is. I see her feeling happy and good about herself, being insightful and respectful, taking an active role in the family, and so much more,” says Cassandra. “Life is so much more predictable. We can plan things and not be concerned that they will thwarted at the last moment. We still have to be careful to protect our attachment and be attuned to our child’s needs, but there is a resilience that wasn’t previously there.”
This family’s experience with Neurofeedback is supported by an ever-growing body of research which reveals that the brain is far more elastic and adaptable than was commonly believed. Not only can damaged parts be repaired, and blocked sections unblocked, but when one part of this fascinating organ can no longer function as needed, other parts can be trained to compensate.