“When my daughter was [first] diagnosed …, I was told she had FASD, but nothing would really change except my outlook since I now knew why she behaved this way. I was offered no other services or help. Fortunately, I dove in and read, researched [and] attended conferences, etc. on my own. As I met with therapists and full IEP teams, everything they said to me made practical sense, but [it] didn’t seem to coincide with what I was reading and learning about FASD, nor did it seem to be helping my daughter.
It was not until I found the FASD/Neurofeedback Center, that I finally found people who understood FASD specifically and could help my daughter and myself to put in place things that would help make her successful.
At the center, we have taken advantage of neurofeedback, individual therapy, skills groups and support groups. These services have been critical to my daughter’s success. I have seen improvement in the following areas: attention, listening, hyperactivity, sleep, self-awareness, social skills, understanding, school performance, anxiety and skill building.
My daughter would not be as successful as she is today without the help and guidance we have received.”
I am writing this letter on behalf of my eleven-year-old son, Tanner. Tanner was adopted from Ukraine at the age of 22 months. Tanner came home as a healthy, happy child. He was an extremely social child and made friends easily. As Tanner entered grade school, he was well liked by his teachers and fit into the classroom environment well. As he continued to grow, I started to notice that he wasn’t fitting into his peer groups as well as he did before and that he was starting to fall behind academically. By third grade, it was clear that Tanner was struggling both socially and academically. Tanner had a difficult time reading body language, maintaining social relationships, understanding numbers and time, and reading comprehension. He struggled when focusing in the classroom, completing in-class assignments and became increasingly emotional.
I met with teachers and interventionists at school and was continually told how nice my son was and that he eventually would catch up. I kept wondering how a school district (Dist. 204 known for their attention to special needs’ students) couldn’t see how badly my child was struggling. There resided the problem. My son wasn’t autistic, ADHD, ADD, physically delayed, etc. He did not fit into any of the boxes, yet it was obvious he needed some intervention.
At this point, Tanner started meeting with a social worker outside of school. She tried to help him understand personal space and body language. They talked a lot about age appropriate behavior and worked on activities to help him understand money and time. He also started working with a math tutor to help him keep up with the school’s math curriculum. By fifth grade, Tanner was a completely different child. He was depressed, lonely, emotional and still struggling academically. I worried about what the year would bring and didn’t know how Tanner would survive the following year in middle school.
Fortunately, Tanner was blessed with a great fifth grade teacher. Early on she recognized that Tanner was anat-risk child. She knew that without academic intervention, he would continue to slide by and would be at risk for social manipulation and continued low self esteem. At this point, I started wondering if Tanner could be experiencing delays as a result of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. While he did not display the typical facial abnormality associated with FAS, he did fit many of the other symptoms seen in older children. By January, Tanner was given an IEP and started to receive small group instruction, pre-teaching, testing modifications, etc. Tanner started to feel more successful; he was finally getting the one-on-one help he needed.
The transition to middle school went well, he continues to receive small group instruction when needed and is enrolled in a strategic reading class. With close monitoring and a lot of hard work, he is succeeding. However, Tanner still had many unexplainable “quirks.. His sleep was getting continually worse—sleep walking, night terrors, restlessness and talking. He was becoming obsessed with time and continued to struggle with counting money. Tanner would overreact to the smallest things, lie about things that didn’t matter and was often a victim of bullying. It was at this time that I read an article in the Naperville Sun about Ajeet Charate and his work with neurofeedback and FASD. The patient featured in the article sounded a lot like my son. For the first time, my son’s academic delays and “quirks” were acknowledged and a treatment plan was in sight.
After meeting with Ajeet and reviewing Tanner’s EEG, a treatment plan was established. Tanner started neurofeedback this past October. He attends neurofeedback twice a week and so far we are seeing great results. Tanner now sleeps calmly throughout the night. His sleepwalking, night terrors and talking stopped in December. Tanner is managing his emotions at an age appropriate level and is communicating better in social situations. He achieved the High Honor Roll the past two semesters and is reestablishing his self-esteem and self-confidence. While there is no guarantee that this level of success will continue, I have high hopes that we will continue to see improvement in his focus, reading comprehension and social skills. Neurofeedback has been an excellent, non-invasive treatment for our son, and we remain optimistic that Tanner will continue to strengthen his cognitive abilities.