Commitment to Children, Their Health, Development and Learning
Evaluation and Treatment Programs that Maximize their Potential and Success
 

Specialty Programs

Treatment programs at our Center address a child's developing brain as a dynamic system of pathways building upon Attention, Memory, Sensory, Motor, Speech, Language, Mood, Executive Function and Social Functions.  Specialized treatment programs are based upon neuropsychological evaluation results.

View the following- To learn more about child brain development and our Center's treatment programs.

Multi-Sensory Awareness and Attention Regulation Program:
  "Brain Beats that Improve Attention"

This program focuses upon regulating alertness and attention in the brain and easing sensory pathways.  Every time your child hears, sees, touches, tastes and smells, sensory pathways in the brain and body are charged.  Children having developmental difficulties often experience an Over- Excitation  of stimuli (too many "switch-ons') and/or Over- Inhibition of stimuli (too many "switch- offs') among brain pathways that disrupt their attention.  Too many sensory "switch-ons' or "switch-offs' throughout the brain can also affect body pathways (and vise versa- body function affects brain function).  This is why some children having developmental difficulties can experience a heightened degree of immune, food/airborne sensitivities, gastrointestinal symptoms, among other metabolic symptoms.

When a child's sensory system is overwhelmed, stress hormones are also alerted and anxiety increases.  Healthy regulation of a child's sensory system lessens sensory storms and behavioral meltdowns.

This program addresses sensory regulation throughout the body.  The body is a vehicle for brain development.  Knowledge is acquired through our senses.  No sensory system develops in isolation.  Each system reinforces, modifies and influences the other.  All of our senses pass through the body's vestibular system.  This is a system located in the inner ear that adjusts to head-body movement.  It is the first system to be fully developed with onset at approximately 16-weeks in-utero.  It provides the fetus with direction.  At birth, it allows a child to relate with gravity.

Hearing is related to energy through motion and vibration.  Efficient vibration through sensory modulation passes through the entire body-entire sensory vestibular system.  Efficient modulation of sound results in relaxed alertness and promotes learning and development.

The vestibular system is also highly connected with the visual system.  The auditory vestibular impact discussed above is also closely related to the eye-motor system.  Eye movement and eye contact are reliable indicators of brain development and sensory input.  Each eye sees different images.  It is the brain that fuses the images.  The eyes need to team and fix to certain points.  Eyes need to accommodate so as to sharpen focus and adjust to near and far.  Eyes need to track so as to scan from point-to-point.  Eye movement controls directional awareness.  It is like a compass that can give a sense of center so as to move up-down-right-left.  This is one of the ways that the eye/brain understands the difference between similar images such as b-d; p-q; on-no.  Eye movement is one of the first signs of visual attention. As children grow, eye movement becomes more smooth and targeted to specific stimuli including sound and touch.

Touch is one of our first contacts with the outer world.  All senses are closely related to the tactile/touch system.  Even at 5-weeks in-utero, stimulation to the fetus's upper lip results in movement.  During the second and third trimesters, tactile awareness matures to produce reflexes needed at birth that allow for feeding, comfort and exploration of the world. The infant can grab a mother's finger, suck to be nurtured and rock to be soothed. This is why touch in infancy, especially to the cheek/face, results in a calming of hand movements that is highly related to lip pursing and sucking so the infant can be nurtured. Infant massage and tactile sensory modulation ease sensory sensitivity and/or sensory seeking behaviors.

Taste and smell are very significant in early years when the mouth and face are the major sources of information from the environment.  An infant's mouth sensation is highly related to movement through the tongue associated with taste and chewing. Taste is also very connected to smell. Taste and smell are highly related to memory, especially in early years. Nerves of the nasal passages are routed through areas closely connected to the hypothalamus, a major memory center in the brain.

Sensory information from our sense organs transferring to brain connections enables our body to adjust in space and develop our sensory awareness with the environment.  This is called proprioception.  Proprioception helps coordinated movements among all sensory pathways.

Our Center's Multisensory Awareness and Attention Regulation program uses comfortable eye movement technology aiding in the development of visual attention, visual perception, visual memory, expression and social relatedness. Parents are also given visual graphs demonstrating their child's eye movement and tracking progress.

The Center also uses comfortable auditory training technology, including Therapeutic Listening Programs with air conduction and bone conduction. Sound travels much faster through bone than air. Headphones that have sensors on the mastoid bone (behind the ear), skull bone or sensory centers of the hand, for example, ease and modulate vibration throughout the body resulting in relaxed alertness and auditory attention, reception, memory, processing and integration.

Modulating tactile awareness is also an important part of the program.  Sensory/movement therapies, including breathing techniques, vestibular-sensory awareness and brain-based sleep patterns needed for sounder sleep are integrated within this program.

Our Center provides child-friendly sensory rooms equipped with comfortable technology that eases sensory overload.  As children become less sensorially overwhelmed, children can learn with more ease and success:

  • Cushioned and soft squeeze machines that allow a child to go through eased levels of cushion pressure throughout the body
  • Soft fiber optics with adjustable speeds
  • Comfortable cushioned chairs with altered speeds of vibration and temperature
  • Auditory/Sound programs using soothing altered frequencies of sound including metronome modulation
  • Music instrumentation
  • Tactile temperature boards
  • Physio-balls
  • Balance Beams
  • Swings (net and chair)
  • Sight-Sound boards reflecting sound frequencies through visuals/light
  • Interactive Metronome programs

In-Sync sensory regulation results in In-Sync attention and helps children feel peaceful rhythms physically and mentally. Children can better focus their attention, sustain attention, and switch attention to necessary input from the environment in order to grow, learn and relate with others.

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Sensory Processing and Movement:
"Motor Skills Matter"

Our Center's Sensory Processing and Movement program focuses upon health and the relationship between movement, increased awareness, attention and learning. Movement is an integral part of any learning process. Sensory movement therapies improve sensory alertness , coordination and whole-body movement.

During therapy sessions children often express feelings of relaxation and more ease. They breathe more freely, their thoughts have more clarity and they have more body control. Even their wake/sleep cycles ease without artificial means. This process also empowers their esteem and development.

Your child's sensory development and movement rely on some of the very first pathways developed in the brain. Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy are interventions that address sensory development and movement. Our program also utilizes internationally recognized Feldenkrais® Method of Somatic Education and related "Awareness Through Movement" programs. These programs promote "mindfulness of the body". Comfortable kinetic lessons, using gentle movements, and verbal directives guide speed and timing of sensory-receptor and motor-expression impulses throughout the body. Therapy develops communication among these brain pathways through sensory modulation and movement. This enables movement input to flow freely throughout the brain/body. Children can attend to their movements, including right/left, head/neck movement and upper/lower body coordination. Children become aware of the PROCESS of sensory awareness and movement aiding postural control throughout the body. Learning to move with less effort makes daily life easier.

Information found under Mulitsensory Awareness and Attention Regulation Program also describes materials used in this Sensory Processing and Movement program. This connection underscores our Center's Systems Biology Framework: all brain pathways are integrated.

MULTI SENSORY MEMORY TRAINING
"Repetition-Recollection-Reflection"

Learning cannot occur without memory. How well a child's sensory systems are regulated has much to do with a child's memory and learning. When a child's sensory system is overwhelmed- "too- on, and/or, too-off" stress hormones are alerted and anxiety increases. Too much anxiety impedes memory consolidation. The more efficiently sensory information is received and processed (from the environment and biologically) the more efficiently memory is developed.

When children, especially those having developmental difficulties, become sensorally overwhelmed, information from the sensory input is inefficiently consolidated in memory. This can result in information always seeming novel and can impede learning. Much repetition may be needed due to poor recall from memory.

Inefficient memory pathways influence internal self talk that is needed for self-direction and self- regulation. Children may require behavior plans using tremendous repetition so as to aid their recollection and reflection of how to control their behaviors.

This is also the basis of the well known behavioral program founded upon repeated trial learning with positive reinforcement-Applied Behavioral Analysis ("ABA"). As behaviors are consolidated in memory through repeated ABA exercises, a child can better regulate the particular behavior being worked on. Consistent recollection and reflection following repeated exercises improve behavioral regulation.

Memory training incorporates multi sensory programs using repetition, recollection and reflection exercises based on the child's level of development and as documented by formal evaluation results. Multiple aspects of memory are addressed including visual memory, auditory memory, tactile memory, rote memory, short-term memory, working memory, long term memory, implicit and explicit memory. Memory consolidation empowers further attention, receptive and expressive behaviors. Memory facilitates self-talk, self-regulation, planning and organizational skills that guide our behaviors and allow us to learn and adapt with the environment.

Therapeutic-based memory programs improve sensory regulation, verbal and non-verbal communication, ease mood and strengthen executive function, self-direction, improve learning and the ability to adapt with health.

Speech/Language Development and the Listening Center:
"Let us hear your voice"

Healthy speech and language involves in-sync connections among multiple brain pathways. Multiple sensory attention, reception, memory and expression pathways interrelate. The auditory cortex (sound brain) is strongly connected with pathways in the sensory motor brain cortex (sensory-movement brain), the visual cortex (seeing brain) and the limbic subcortex (mood and sensory-memory brain) and executive function/planning/self-regulation brain (frontal brain). The vestibular nerve/system (sensory-balance brain) influences vibration movement throughout the body. All of these pathways and their connections govern the development of a child's speech/language. Decades of clinical research among multiple professions involving neuropsychology, medicine, acoustics, physiology, music therapy, education, etc. have increased our knowledge about speech/language development.

Children having developmental difficulties often experience an ear-brain connection problem. Hearing is not usually the problem. It is the ear-brain connection that experiences delays. Sound travels through the auditory canal to the eardrum vibrating the middle ear bones. The inner ear takes this vibration energy and converts it to electro-chemical messages and carries them through auditory pathways to the brain. The brain interprets these messages as sound. When auditory perception is distorted, a child's attention, emotional, cognitive, social and academic development becomes difficult.

Formal speech/language therapies and listening programs including music-based auditory modulation through air and bone conduction programs and sensory-vibration modulation programs train brain areas to process sound. Comfortable headphones using air conduction and/or bone conduction programs transmit modulated vibration and modulated sound. Home-based auditory training programs are also provided. Auditory related pathways throughout the brain and body influence not only speech/language but increase a child's attention, perception, memory, sensory, motor, mood and self-regulatory executive function skills. Language reception (understanding language), memory and expression (speaking, singing, signing) occur when the brain recognizes and interprets the sound through vibration, movement, visuals, touch, music and multi sensory stimuli.

Our Center's Speech/Language Program and the Listening Center incorporates acoustic/auditory-based training programs building upon speech/language development. Evaluating the multiple brain pathways and relationship among the pathways needed to develop speech/language aids in providing specialized treatment programs. Treatment targets the PROCESS. Speech/language development must embrace the inter-relationship among all brain pathways. Attention, reception and expression pathways are necessary steps toward the advanced development of thought, self-direction/executive function and higher level language. This process is fundamental for all human behavior.

Our Center also uses home-based auditory training programs developed by Advanced Brain Technologies.  The scientists at our Center show you and your child how to use the programs at home and monitor progress throughout the program. Home-based programs are often used in conjunction with therapeutic listening programs. Pre-and post-testing documenting progress is also available.

MOOD AND SOCIAL SKILLS:
"Building Relationships"

Fundamental to all learning is the ability to regulate mood, relate and adapt within the environment. Body regulatory behaviors including sleep/wake cycles, appetite cycles, respiration, digestion and other metabolic processes are vital processes of development. Sensory Regulation of stimuli from the environment is also vital for healthy development, learning, wellbeing and social adaptation. Healthy social adaptation and healthy social networking need healthy development of Whole-Brain attention, sensory regulation, memory, speech, language, motor, mood and executive function behaviors.

Children having developmental difficulties can be sensorially overwhelmed, often affecting mood regulation. This can impede social skills and social relationships.

Specialized behavior programs (therapeutic, home and school-based) are developed according to your child's evaluation results. Family support is a very important part of this program. The behavioral programs help to relax and calm your child and guide healthy social behaviors.

Our Center offers Individual and Group behavioral/social development programs. Parent Workshops are also available:

  • ABA-Applied Behavior Analysis: All children are unique and require individual attention. Our Center customizes ABA to the needs of each child. ABA is structured and builds upon a child's strengths using repetitive learning and positive reinforcement. Parent involvement is very important so the child can generalize what they learn through ABA into other environments including school and developing social relationships. If a behavior is followed by a pleasant event-positive reinforcement, it will occur more often. In the 1970's Dr. Ivar Lovaas from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) conducted research using these behavior principles. He and his colleagues pioneered ABA using behavioral principles and treating children with Autism/developmental delays. Some of his design included working in the child's home environment. Lovaas' research revealed "40% of children who received 35-40 hours of 1-to-1 behavioral intervention in their home demonstrated an increase of 30 IQ points and were indistinguishable from their peers when placed in a school setting" (Lovaas:1998). ABA is a behavioral conditioning technique that provides repetitive trial behavior teaching. Trial methods teach the specific behaviors. It is very clear to the child what behavior is expected of him/her and consistent positive reinforcement aids in learning the behavior. The program covers 3 components: the discriminating stimulus (SD) is the instruction given to the child; the response (R) is the child's response to instruction; and the reinforcing stimulus (SR) which is the reinforcement given to the child. This technique can be used to teach social/play skills, language skills, self-help, self-awareness skills and academic skills. The use of multi sensory materials such as picture exchange communication programs (PECS) and social stories-visual representations of behaviors are often incorporated into the ABA programs.
  • Social Relationships/Social Skills/Cognitive Focus: Individual Sessions and Group Sessions are offered. Clinicians develop individualized Social Stories using drawings and other visualizations that describe social relationships and behaviors. Role-playing, cognitive behavioral techniques, relaxation techniques and Picture Exchange Communication programs (PECS) are also used. Healthy beliefs/thought processes can guide healthy development. These programs develop awareness of self and others and the ability to adapt within the environment.
  • Attention-Executive Function/Cognitive Behavior Focus: It is very important for children to develop the ability to self-direct their behaviors. Infants and very young children need adults to help guide their behaviors. Our Center uses multisensory programs to guide a child's self-awareness of the social cues within their environment. Children are guided to develop expressive language (talking out loud, signing, gesturing) with visual cues regarding mood, social skills and social awareness. Clinicians further emphasize the development of the child's internal speech (silent self talk, gestures) to guide and self-direct behaviors. Healthy beliefs/thought processes guide healthy development. Your child's comprehensive evaluation results allow the clinicians to develop Attention-Executive Function/Cognitive Behavior programs based specifically upon your child's level of development.
  • Mindfulness Stress Reduction Programs: Mindfulness, establishing a sense of safety and acceptance with children, helps shape and develop their brains, develop learning and maximize their potential with health and well -being. Relationships with MINDFULNESS become part of children's implicit memory that they carry with them into adulthood. Think of a person in your childhood who reflected a mindful presence with you. The memories of that person with be filled with feeling of safety and well-being. Programs focus upon MINDFUL eating , sleeping, breathing, planning, playing and relating and incorporate stress reduction techniques.

EXECUTIVE FUNCTION PROGRAM:
"Be your own CEO"

Executive function refers to the ability to organize, plan, set goals, put plans into action and verify actions in order to accomplish more goals. Children face a remarkable journey of learning how to think, plan and do on their own. From day one, multiple steps are involved in a grand brain design of the Attention-Executive Function connection.

Children can learn ways for promoting in-sync executive attention skills that are age appropriate. Brain science has shown us that executive function begins to develop in infancy, dramatically develops during early childhood and predicts success in school. We quide parents how to build upon executive function from day one. For instance, infant play should include brightly colored objects to help them focus attention. Parents can hide the object and show excitement when the infant finds the object by imitating them, reinforce the infant to keep focusing until eventually the infant finds the object without imitation- early executive function! Parents of preschoolers can ask their children their opinion (i.e. what do you think will happen at the party?; ask them to plan (i.e. your brother is not feeling well today, what do you think you can do to make him feel better?); ask them to recall from memory (i.e. what did you do at school today?, what did you do at your playdate? Active interaction that promotes imitation, sensory alertness, memory and regulated mood promotes thinking and planning, helps children execute their plans, achieve goals and relate with others--whole brain attention!

For children with out of sync executive function, performing even a simple task can be very challenging. Following a couple of directions to get ready for school, remembering their book bag, finishing a test on time, trying to relax, can all be struggles. However, we can guide children to make and execute plans, while developing their own voice/internal speech to guide themselves.

There are many bright children with mild to pervasive attention disorders who have difficulty with executive function: they cannot organize tasks, manage their time, accomplish goals, verify their actions, or plan their days. Children don't feel good when executive function problems make it difficult to have the high degree of attention needed to be the CEO of their life. They often feel devastated when they understand 'what to do', but can't figure out 'how to do it' and because they're bright, everyone around them expects they 'should be able to do it.'

Executive function coaching targets development of planning, organization, verification of plans and executing plans. These behaviors rely tremendously on ability to be alert, work with memory related to a plan, and a regulated tempo of mood. This is why the pre-frontal executive brain is often referred to as the most advanced midbrain that empowers sensory alertness, memory and mood.

We have seen thousands of children’s I.Q. scores significantly increase following Whole-Brain Treatment that fuels sensory attention/regulation, mood regulation, reception, memory and expression of information. This brain power fuels executive function/direction. Whole-Brain development (the earlier the better) boosts Whole-Brain intellect and IQ potential and helps children become their own "CEO". NO TREATMENT WILL MAKE CHILDREN BRIGHTER THAN THEY ARE, BUT WE CAN HELP CHILDREN TO BE AS BRIGHT AS THEY ARE!

In summary: It is very important for children to develop the ability to plan and direct their behaviors. Young children need adults to help guide their behaviors. Treatment programs at the Center guide children and empower parents to help children, direct their attention to a specific behavior, necessary at the specific time, set a goal to achieve the behavior, organize and plan, verify their goal and achieve the behavior with pride.

  • Neurofeedback-EEG Biofeedback:Your child's comprehensive evaluation results are used regarding recommendations for Neurofeedback. Neurofeedback referrals are given. Neurofeedback training is unique in that it does not introduce anything chemical or foreign into the brain. It uses the brain to improve itself. Neurofeedback: EEG Biofeedback is a comfortable brain wave training method that increases attention, memory and learning. The mind/body connection is incredibly powerful. We respond to multisensory stimuli from the environment through our senses (i.e. eyes, ears). As we respond to sensory stimuli brain wave activity is excited ("switch-ons") and inhibited ("switch-offs"). Optimal learning requires relaxed alertness: comfortable and regulated states of "switch-ons" and "switch-offs". The brain performs at different levels for different tasks. Electrical signals fire at different frequencies depending upon tasks/activities. Neurofeedback is a technique from which the brain learns to regulate switch- ons and switch- offs. It measures the electrical signals and builds upon learning that facilitates efficient "switch-ons" and "switch-offs", comfortable frequencies that regulate a child's attention and learning. Two computers are used. Representations of brain activity are visualized on one computer screen. The child views another computer screen that displays simple to complex learning related games. The child plays a game on the computer and when optimal brain frequencies are produced (efficient "switch-ons" and "switch-offs") the child earns points. When optimal frequencies are not being produced, there is no reinforcement. Overtime the child learns how to regulate his or her focusing of attention, sustaining attention and switching attention in order to earn more points. With training, the brain learns to produce these frequencies on its own. Advances in neuroscience technology and research have increased the clinical use of neurofeedback. Neurofeedback offers evidence based technology in being able to improve brain development and learning. Frank H. Duffy, a professor and pediatric neurologist at Harvard Medical School, has said that scholarly literature now suggests that neurofeedback "should play a major therapeutic role in many difficult areas..."if any medication had demonstrated such a wide spectrum of efficacy it would be universally accepted and widely used" (Duffy, FH., Editorial: The state of EEG Biofeedback therapy (EEG operant conditioning), (In editor's opinion clinical electroencephalography, 31 (1): V.III, 2000).
    (The Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback)
  • Interactive Metronome (IM): Improves timing in the brain by combining movement and cognitive tasks simultaneously, providing real time millisecond feedback to help synchronize the body's internal clock. I.M. helps to promote your child's ability to reach his/her full potential at home, school and beyond by synchronizing whole brain pathways that activate attention and learning.  (www.InteractiveMetronome.com).
  • Therapeutic Listening Programs: Our Center uses multiple programs developed by Advanced Brain Technologies. (www.advancedbrain.com) Neuropsychological evaluation helps to specify which program, the best listening schedule, and training, that is best for your child and measure progress.ABT explains "Your brain health and brain-body connection depend on rhythm". Children, can engage with the rhythm-based music of in-Time to help stimulate rhythm awareness, focus, timing precision and adaptive responses to stress, all of which supply your brain with the highest quality of stimulation it needs for optimal function. As brain health and the brain-body connection improve, these abilities improve as well.
    • THE LISTENTING PROGRAM-"TLP": SPECTRUM-"a foundational program for children and adults with sensory sensitivities in need of a therapeutic intervention, or for those listening for wellness." ACHIEVE -"intermediate to experienced level program for older children teens and adults seeking changes in leaning, communication and peak performance". LEVEL ONE-"flexible, offering a foundation to experienced level program for improving brain fitness at all ages, with options for Classical music only, or blended with sounds in nature."
    • in-TIME-"dynamic rhythm-based world music and fun activities created for anyone looking for changes in focus, rhythm awareness, timing and adaptive responses to stress."
    • WAVES- "offering a deeper more immersive listening experience than conventional headphones can provide: through your ears (air conduction) and through your head (bone conduction)"
    • SLEEP- "Specialty recorded music and embedded sounds developed by a neuroscientist to help children and adults go to sleep faster, and stay asleep longer".
  • Therapeutic Play: Play Develops Early Childhood Whole Brain Attention. Brain science advances show evidence of the power of play for enhancing attention and learning. Play implicitly fuels voluntary attention and excites learning and social adaptation. Play empowers relaxed sensory alertness, regulated mood, memory, movement, language and executive function. Play empowers children’s intelligence, ability to relate with each other and socially adapt. When parents/adults play with children it shows children that they are interesting people, fun to be with, and helps them imitate interaction and play with their peers. Play teaches children relating with calm and purpose, and also provides an outlet for anxiety/reduces stress. It promotes active interaction and learning that goes beyond one-dimensional screen time. Play that coaches whole brain attention empowers whole brain intellect. It promotes children’s potential so they can grow up to become healthy teens who not only meet but exceed expectations.
  • Feldenkrais Movement Program: The brain has extraordinary ability to develop synchronized patterns of movement. The Feldenkrais Method is based on principles of physics, neurology and physiology that help promote in-sync movements that energize whole brain attention and learning, and relaxed alertness. Gentle exercises of movement develop your child's whole brain health, reduce stress and energizes physical and mental well being. (www.Feldenkrais.com)
  • Clinical Research: Brain Waves and Learning: For greater than 35 years, scientists at the Center have studied the impact of electrophysiological dysrhythmias (brain wave patterns) affecting child development and learning. We correlate sleep deprived and/or 24-72 hour ambulatory electroencephalograms (EEG test), that monitor brain wave activity, with formal neuropsychological-brain behavior evaluation results. Children having developmental delays can have an increased incidence of electrophysiological dysrhythmias affecting their development. If dysrhythmias reveal seizure activity, then medical treatment and specialized treatment programs have shown promising results, particularly with early intervention. Therapeutic interventions can be used without medication depending on EEG results. This research emphasizes the need for more specific identification, especially early age identification and treatment of this subgroup of children experiencing electrophysiological disturbances that affect development and learning.

Pediatric Neuropsychology Diagnostic Center
Century Medical Park
16001 S. 108th Ave., Ste. B
Orland Park, IL  60467
708-403-9000
ndcbrain@gmail.com
www.ndcbrain.com


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