Too many children suffer from pediatric brain-based disorders like attention deficit disorder and autism. Using neurofeedback therapy, brainwave entrainment therapy, and functional nutritional counseling doctors can help rehabilitate these kids.
What are the most common pediatric brain-based disorders that you work with?
Dr. John Silva: The most common that we see in our clinic here in Port St. Lucie is attention-deficit disorder or sometimes attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. It’s a mouthful, ADD for short or ADHD. It’s unfortunately running rampant in our society with our children these days, and statistically it’s showing no trend of getting any better unless we start doing something about it. That’s probably the top of our top three conditions.
Second on that list would be autism spectrum disorder or ASD, and there’s a number of levels or degrees that a child might be suffering from that, from the most extreme where they have no language capability, they do not speak, to very severe gastrointestinal problems. They have no social interaction. They cannot maintain eye contact. It’s just a shame to see these children with such broken brains suffering as they are at such a young age.
The other that we see quite a bit, and it would be quite alarming to people to think that a child could suffer with anxiety disorder, but we see it quite a bit as young as five, six, seven-year-olds suffering with anxiety disorder. So much so that we’ve had several boys, in particular, who have been pulled from their school because of the extreme anxiety attacks that they work themselves into where they basically isolated themselves in a room of the school and had to have police come in and take them out extract them from the school. I mean it’s just amazing how our brains or a child’s brain can become so disrupted to cause these types of thing that are not typically associated with children and it shouldn’t be associated with even adults, but especially our children.
What treatment or therapies do you use to treat children with these disorders that typically are not provided in a traditional family doctor’s office?
Dr. John Silva: The gold standard therapy in our office, we always start with neurofeedback therapy, and I’ll just briefly describe that. Neurofeedback therapy is using QEEG technology. EEG stands for electroencephalogram. These are completely noninvasive, but we start with an EEG brain map, which is a noninvasive way to measure brainwave activity, so we can then direct a personalized approach using what’s called neurofeedback therapy. Neurofeedback therapy uses the same EEG, but instead of using it diagnostically, we can now use it to basically retrain the brain towards normal brainwave activity patterns that have become disrupted, causing their outward symptoms and expressions or diagnosis of ADHD, ADD, autism, and anxiety. So that is definitely the gold standard.
Next in line, we use what’s called brainwave entrainment therapy, and you notice the theme here is where these are brain-specific types of therapies. The interesting thing is they’ve been in existence for well over 50 years. They’re becoming more mainstream. They’re highly researched. There’s plenty of research articles and studies out there proving the effectiveness, and of course, we see the effectiveness every day in our practice. Brainwave entrainment therapy is similar to neurofeedback, but it uses light and sound stimulation at specific frequencies to allow the brain to fall into normal firing or functioning patterns.
Then the next big thing that we do is functional nutritional counseling, just helping patients or parents of children that come to see us direct and personalize a dietary plan based on that child’s needs. That alone sometimes can really, really work wonders, especially for children.
Which brain-based disorders have you had the most success treating and what were the results?
Dr. John Silva: By far the most success we’ve seen with childhood-based disorders is ADHD or ADD. Typically, boys, but we see girls often as well. But once you uncover what’s going on in the brain with the QEEG brain mapping process, it really sheds a lot of light and really helps parents finally get an understanding because up to this point they usually don’t have much of an understanding. They’ve usually seen plenty of other therapists and doctors, not knocking what they’ve done for them and their approach, but it really sheds a lot of light on why this person or this child is still behaving or having the emotions that they are and their lack of attention. We see some tremendous results with particularly those conditions, ADD and ADHD.
It seems like children with these disorders see many different doctors. Do you coordinate your treatment plans with the other medical professionals that these children are seeing?
Dr. John Silva: We always try to coordinate our treatment plans and get everybody involved as a healthcare team to better serve our children and the parents who are bringing their children into the different therapists and doctors. Most definitely, in fact, the people that we often coordinate with is the therapists or counselors, so the speech therapist, the occupational therapist, sometimes the physical therapist if we have a child with autism who needs that. So, it’s a great team approach and we always try to coordinate that.
Which treatments provide children suffering from brain-based disorders the most long-lasting benefits?
Dr. John Silva: That would definitely be the neurofeedback therapy as described because we are getting to the root cause of why a child will be suffering from ADHD, autism, or anxiety, which is basically disruption or dysregulation of brainwave activity.
We can break brainwave activity into beta, alpha, theta, and delta states, they’re just different frequency states. When you can map those out in a brain map and see what regions of the brain are most affected, whether it’s the front or the back of the brain, it really sheds a lot of light as to why that child is suffering with their conditions.
By applying neurofeedback therapy, which is a process, it does take time, but each time we do the process it’s usually 20 to 30 minutes. In fact, we even have neurofeedback available now where a child can do it and it can be inside of their home with their parents’ guidance, and I can monitor their sessions remotely via computer on the internet. So, it’s a training process, but if you allow it enough time, and their brains can become rehabilitated basically. They can recover.
To speak with Dr. John Silva, visit www.drjohnsilva.com or call 772-429-8800 to schedule an appointment