Friday, June 14, 2013

Neurofeedback Therapy Update #1

Many of you have asked for updates on our adventure in neurofeedback therapy. Nurse Brainley says we shouldn't expect to see any behavioral changes for like five weeks, so for now I'll just tell you about the process.

We drive.

A lot.

I pick Ryan up at school at 3:30 and we drive for a solid hour to the clinic. At 4:30 Ryan scampers right in to the waiting room - on our second visit he asked if we could have a sleepover there. Then we walk back to Nurse Brainley's office, where there is a padded office chair and a mismatched ottoman in front of a large computer monitor. Ryan wiggles and laughs as we try to clean his earlobes with an alcohol wipe. He fights putting an electrode clip on his right earlobe, but accepts the left clip without a struggle. He asks if he's going to get a shock; we assure him he's not. Then the nurse glues an electrode to the top of his head, exactly seven inches up from the bridge of his nose. She sticks a cotton ball on top of the electrode and calls it a cotton ball hat.

Cotton ball hat. This is not Ryan. The clips eventually go on the earlobes.
Then Ryan is instructed to sit quietly and focus on the screen. The screen has a video game-like graphic - the first time we went there was a race car, the next time there was a spaceship. When he focuses on the car (or on a spot on the wall or really anything) the car zooms around the track. When his attention shifts or his body moves, the car veers off to the right or slows down. This exercise is supposed to train his brain to focus for longer periods.

He plays 5 or 6 rounds of this "game," Nurse Brainley cleans the goo off his hair, and then at 5pm we get back in the car for another hour.

We're supposed to do this three times a week.

For the next three months.

We've only had two sessions so far, and already I'm annoyed.

But if this therapy pays off, the drive will have been totally worthwhile.

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