Treatment of ADD/ADHD with Audio-Visual Entrainment

ADD/ADHD

Traditionally, educators have viewed conditions such as Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) as primarily medical conditions and therefore outside the realm of education. Typically, children with such conditions are referred to the medical world to identify an appropriate medication to ameliorate the problem behavior.

ADD/ADHD is also one of the fastest growing conditions leading to children receiving special education services in the public school setting. Children with ADHD are often disruptive in the classroom, require frequent teacher input, do not generally keep up with their peers in academic pursuits, and often require additional services due to their significant difficulty with all aspects of learning. Additionally many children are misdiagnosed and actually have conditions of depression and anxiety. Medicating such children with stimulant medications in these cases is contraindicated and can even make their conditions significantly worse. More recently, schools have become involved to a much greater degree, and now provide screening tests to identify students with attentional disorders.

ADD/ADHD spans a broad diagnostic category, which is being applied to more and more disorders and therefore evaluation and treatment has traditionally been left to the medical community. ADHD is recognized as one of the most complex psychiatric and neurologically-based disorders of childhood with significant representation in adolescents and adults. ADHD rarely occurs in isolation and is often combined with other conditions including depression, oppositional defiant disorder, conduct disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, learning disabilities, anxiety disorders, and other significant psychological, psychiatric, and neurological problems (Barkley, 1981; Ross & Ross, 1982; Rutter, 1983, Whalen, 1983).

 

In several projects and studies (1997, 2000-2001), Michael Joyce, a school psychologist conducted studies in showing how audio-visual brainwave entrainment can effectively treat ADD/ADHD.

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1997 Study – Audio-Visual Entrainment (AVE) Program as a Treatment for Behavior Disorders in a School Setting –  Michael Joyce & Dave Siever

In 1997, Michael Joyce, a school psychologist, tested a unique dual frequency AVE session using the Tru-Vueyesets with attention deficit disorder and reading challenged students in a primary school in Minnesota. He measured the ADD children for inattention, impulsiveness, response reaction time, and variability (how inconsistent the child’s responses were) using a computerized continuous performance test called a TOVA. For two weeks, the students received sessions that stimulated primarily in the alpha band (8 to 12 Hz) after which they were stimulated with dual AVE, comprising high alpha in the right hemisphere and low beta (18 Hz) in the left hemisphere. The control group was given self-esteem classes during the same time as the AVE group received their therapy. All students were instructed to drink water before sessions to help remove neurological by-products as a result of the metabolism increased by AVE. Figure 1 shows the children’s improvements after 10 weeks of treatment. A normal score is 100. A score of 85 represents one standard deviation away from the norm.

Figure 1

These results clearly show a reduction in impulsiveness, inattention, reaction times and variability. Joyce furthered studied reading challenged children to evaluate AVE for improving their reading ability. Joyce selected the students with the poorest marks in the SPALDING reading class for his study. The children were tested on the STAR (Standardized Test for the Assessment of Reading). The reading challenged group showed substantial academic benefits from using AVE.

Figure 2 shows the students’ improvements in grade performance for reading. The grade equivalent (GE) ranges from 0.0 to 13 and represents a child’s actual grade reading level. For instance, if a child is assessed with a GE of 4.7, this means that the child is reading at a grade 4, seventh month level. Figure 3 shows the percentile rank of the students. The percentile rank (PR) ranges from 1 to 99 and indicates a student’s performance compared to his/her peers nationally. For instance, if a child has a PR of 78, then the student is performing at a level which equals or exceeds that of 78% of the children in the same grade, based on the national average.

Figure 2

In addition to their academic improvements, as in reading, parents noted general social improvements as well. The Spalding reading teacher reported her experience as follows, “during the time students participated in the AVE program, behavior began to change. Brains were engaged, and students were more alert. And they began actively participating in the teacher-student dialogue portion of the class.”

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New Visions School NeuroTechnology Replication Project 2000 – 2001 by Michael Joyce

This hallmark study is the largest, most convincing study showing the effectiveness of the DAVID Paradise driving a multiple system to treat children with attentional disorders. The data generated in the NeuroTechnology (NT) replication project are the result of the efforts of seven Minnesota public schools (five elementary, one middle and one K-12). The NeuroTechnology sites, referred to as Designated Learning Sites (DLS), provided one to several school personnel to participate in a three-day NT training at New Visions School (NVS)/Minnesota Learning Resource Center (MLRC). This training (by Michael Joyce and Dave Siever) provided the skills used to initiate brain training on the children in their home districts. All of the hardware, software and related supplies were provided for each site through a charter school dissemination grant. Scheduled on-site mentoring was offered along with email and telephone correspondence as needed. The following report describes the results of their efforts.

Four of the elementary schools are located in rural Minnesota (Cold Spring, Perham, Naytahwaush, Bemidji) and another is located in the west Minneapolis suburb of Hopkins. The middle school is located in a north Minneapolis suburb, Fridley. The K-12 school is in the small northern Minnesota farming community of Greenbush. The Bemidji site was represented by several elementary schools that were serviced by a Bemidji State University psychology professor.

All sites, at this time, continue to successfully operate their programs. Through the successful implementation and demonstration of these sites, there are presently nine public elementary schools and one parochial school in Minnesota, along with three schools in Wisconsin and a K-12 school in South Dakota, who have started NeuroTech programs without grant assistance. These visionary schools have found that developmental neurological functions are a necessity for all successful learners and that NT tools can address essential developmental foundations of learning.

Participants
Students selected had a history of learning and reading challenges, impulsiveness, and a propensity to be distracted and to distract others. The students were selected by an ongoing, dynamic evaluation process based upon referrals from classroom teachers, parents, special education staff, and/or other concerned people in the student’s life. Parents were notified about their child’s possible inclusion in the project and they were invited to information sessions conducted by project staff. Parents and teachers completed a behavior rating scale, while the students completed a standardized reading inventory. The majority of the 204 students participating in the NT project were of elementary age.

Apparatus

The AVE device used was the DAVID Paradise XL (manufactured by Comptronic Devices Limited, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada). The eyeglasses for the DAVID Paradise XL are field independent, in that they are able to independently stimulate the individual left and right visual fields of each eye thus producing a different frequency in each hemisphere of the brain. In this project, independent field stimulation was chosen.

At two sites the DAVID Paradise XL was attached to a multi-user amplifier, which enabled up to ten students to receive treatment simultaneously. Each student had his/her own station, which consisted of a set of headphones and an eyeset. The students could control both the audio volume and the light intensity. The students preferred brighter intensities, between approximately 400 and 600 lux (full spectrum) measured approximately 0.3 inches from the eyeset screen (approximating their average eye distance from the screen).

Procedures

Students participated in two or three AVE sessions (20-30 minute) per week. Occasionally there were compelling reasons to increase the frequency of sessions, so some students with severe impairments may have had daily sessions. The training is part of the student’s regular curriculum, scheduled around other activities. Training is accomplished using protocols established by the foremost clinicians and researchers in the field, modified to reflect New Visions’ experience working within the school environment. Protocols were occasionally updated to reflect the continuing growth of knowledge in this field.

Results

Data was gathered for a total of 204 students from seven different school districts that participated in the NeuroTechnology Program statewide. The average student completed nearly 30 twenty-minute sessions over a period of three months, and gained eight months in grade-equivalent oral reading scores. Pre- and post-intervention data was obtained using direct assessment and behavior rating scales completed by both parents and teachers. Oral reading proficiency was assessed with the Slosson-R reading test (Figure 3). Behavioral and personality ratings were obtained via the BDS, both the home and school versions (Figure 3).

Figure 3

The above excerpts are from the Appendices of “The Rediscovery of Audio-Visual Entrainment Technology” by Dave Siever, C.E.T. copyright 1997

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