Week Six of NFT: SUCCESS IS HAPPENING!!!

Success!!!

PLEASE NOTE: I am skipping week five since I only had one session.  There was a mess up with scheduling and traffic issues (the kind that involve actual cars on the high way, not the traffic in my brain, got it? J).

RECAP: I am going through the process of Neurofeedback to treat my A.D.D.

  1.  Once I get to the Doctor’s office, the tech puts twenty-seven sensors (wires) on my head.  These wires are connected to the computer.
  2. I am to stare at the monitor for two minutes.  During this time, a green ball appears on the screen.  My brain must make the ball stay on the screen.  The computer is actually teaching the brainwaves to slow down.
  3. The  computer measures how many seconds my brain was able to keep the green ball on the screen.   The goal is to get at least sixty seconds.
  4. After two minutes, I get a forty-five second break.  Then the process starts again.  This goes on for twelve rounds.

September 26, 2013

Between my cats waking me at five am and my bad back, I I haven’t gotten the best sleep.  I think that is why I haven’t been doing too well with my feedback therapy.  After all, my scores were in the 60’s before school started.   They only started to slide after school started and I wasn’t able to sleep as late in the morning.

To recap, I have twenty-seven little sensors placed on my head.

In school, I noticed a common A.D.D problem:  grading.  Since I have visual problems, I also have trouble grading.  I miss the little things.  Ever hear the saying “You can’t see the forest for the trees?”  This saying really applies to someone with A.D.D.    I’m the one who will notice the weird tree that no one else notices and misses the rest of the forest.  Oh well. So, grading is a problem.  Let me show you an example:

 Image

Picture from: http://www.coolmath.com/prealgebra/02-decimals/images/decimals10-02.gif

I would check the student’s answer with the answer key….and completely miss the decimal.   On different problems other mistakes might include missing an omitted number or a repeated number. Not on purpose. Trust me; I try not to miss the little things. Yet I do.  No matter how carefully I am looking at the problem or how deliberately I look at the answer, I still miss little things.  Needless to say, this matters a lot when handing back a graded paper to a student.  If I mis-grade anything…it will look unprofessional. My visual issues are due to the ‘traffic jam’ I was talking about in the previous post.  I just hope to get rid of the traffic!

September 30, 2013

Finally.   My scores are going up!  YEAH!!  Of course there are reasons for it.  For one, I try to make sure I go to bed rather early at night.  Also I have been trying this new supplement for the last two weeks that doc recommended.  It is an over the counter supplement called Guarana.  It is used as a stimulant to reduce mental and physical fatigue.

Not sure I am recognizing any other type of changes at work.  Yet I am happy with how work is going.  I feel that I am reading the students rather well.  I help them when they truly need it and let them solve problems on their own when I know they can.

October 3rd, 2013

The scores continue to rise.  Things at work are going well.  I also feel blessed with the people I am working with.

Every staff member only has kind words to say about one another.  Those that have family or health issues are especially taken care of by the rest of the staff.  For instance, one teacher was recently diagnosed with cancer.  The staff pitched in to get her things to help her through the treatments, like certain tea or spa stuff.   Other staff members volunteered to cover her classes.

Perhaps the reason I am feeling so optimistic about work is because the neurofeedback therapy is re-wiring the brain to make me feel less anxious.  Hmm…

October 4th, 2013

I got the best news today!  Maria said that my scores are high enough to move up!  Hoorah!  This means that we are done working on the cortex of the brain.  Now we will move on to the executive parts of the brain. This is the front of the brain.  The time I have to watch the ‘green ball’ will be reduced from two minutes to 1.5.

Also, I now only have to go to Neurofeedback theraphy two times a week instead of thrice.  PRAISE THE LORD!!!  This means I save $50.00’s a week.  Excuse me while I jump up and down on the coach (leaves to jump on coach). 

 

 My results for the past week

My results for the past week

Neurofeedback Therapy Week Two: Second Week of therapy…..first week of school (glup).

September 3, 2013

“”If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans.” – Woody Allen

“If you want God to REALLY laugh, change your plans again, watch them crumble, and repeat the process.”- Me

 

Even since I was a child, I have always dreamed of becoming a teacher.  I loved working with children and it was a perfect job for someone who hoped to have a family or her own.  As I stood proudly on the stage at my college graduation, I was positive that I would soon start my long, wonderful career as a teacher.  I had always been taught that if you work hard for something, it would happen to you.  So God Damn it, I was going to become a teacher.

                                                                                Yeah right!

Four child-related jobs later, I decided that maybe I should change careers.   So,  I became an activities director.  I loved it and I was good at it.  I thought  “Hey, maybe I could this as a career .”

Fat chance.

                Yet after four jobs, three years, a move to the south, a move back from the south and an empty  savings account, I realized being an activities director wasn’t going to work either.  So where did this leave me? Broke, and unemployed.  Yes, at age thirty I was living home with the parents.  Ah, the American Dream (sob).  It seemed that the only logical thing to was to go back to teaching.

  Despite the horrible experiences I had teaching, I knew it was the best chance I had to get a decant job was in the educational field.  I had the experience and a degree with elementary/special education.  So, after I was offered a teacher assistant job I immediately accepted.  What choice did I have….right?

                                                                                               

Here I was, inside the elementary school with my new collegues listening to the principal drone on about the brand new year.  My face smiled so hard, it hurt.  Inside though I was thinking “Oh My God, I’m going to fail…..“Oh My God, I’m going to fail…..“Oh My God, I’m going to fail…..”

                Yet I survived the day!  Hooray!! One down, and only 179 more to go!

 

                Now, back to the real topic of my blog: my Neurofeedback Therapy.

Traffic to the Neurofeedback center was stop and go.  I did rather decent with the rewards.  This time it was 3 minutes on, and 30 seconds off.   No real side effects today.  Yeah!!! 

                Poor Tech One kept apologizing for hurting me.  However, I am very sensitive to touch.  That is because part of my left brain is overactive. 

                Here is the score from today’s sessions.  I wish I could put it in a chart form…but I don’t know how. 

63, 57, 61, 63, 58, 61, 62, 63

               

 

 

September 6, 2013

                Ouch!  That is how my head feels.  What a headache!    I haven’t had one of those in a while.  My score for the sessions was as follows:

60,64,63,62,60,62,64,61,59,63.  I felt extremely tired when I went home.  In fact, I had no desire to even do anything.   I’m sure part of the reason I am so tired is because the stress I felt at work.

  Work actually is going well…which is part of why I am freaking out.  Let me explain.  In my past jobs (and two careers) I have always asked my employers had well I was doing.  They would always insist that I was doing fine.  My co-workers would always praise me.  So you could imagine my surprise when I my employer would call me in to say the following three words: You are fired. 

Okay…it was not normally in those words but it certainly sounded the same!   

Although it is only nine, I’m off to bed.  I am way to tired to do anything else.  Night!

 

September 7, 2013

                Noting like spending my Saturday morning  getting glue stuck to my head and staring at a computer screen.  The session was (again) followed by a massage headache.  Doc said that is normal, especially since my brain was so sluggish.  He offered to lower the interval times, but I refused.  There was no way in hell that I was going to slow the process anymore!

                On the plus side, Doc gave me some more insight about my brain.  The reason I am so sensitive to touch and why I aced the critical reasoning part of the test is because my left brain is over active.  The right side, which helps the mind solve problems and helps one learn visually and auditory.   Both the problems on the left and the right side of the brain is causing a traffic jam, which is another reason why I am so slow!  Today, it felt like electricity was moving in my brain.

                Doc also recommended I try Guaram, which would help me stay awake and help with the cognitive process of my brain.  Interesting.

59, 55, 56, 51, 58, 55, 51, 61, 51, 65

My Experience with Brain Mapping: Paste, Sitting Still and Reflecting….

Hey Readers!

                Good news: I get the results of my brain mapping this Saturday.  YEAH!!  This post will be about what the tests were like a few weeks ago….and how I believe I did as well as my prediction for what Doc will say.

                As previously posted, I wish to try Neurofeedback  therapy in order to be faster with work.  My A.D.D makes me much slower.

First, the doctor tested my brain functioning and cognitive ability.  The doctor then asked me a bunch of questions and had me do some tasks. In order to make this somewhat interesting I am going to list everything by category such as stick/oral instructions, comprehension questions, visual pattern intelligence test, computer test, and EEG (Electroencephalography).

 

Stick/Oral Instructions:  The first thing Doc asked me to do was follow the stick he was holding with my eyes.  That was easy.  Next I had to watch Doc do three things with his hands and then I had to repeat the motions.  That was hard.  I couldn’t remember any of the motions.  After that, I was asked to listen to a list of words and then repeat them.   There were twenty to twenty-five words on the list. I could only repeat three to five items.   That was embarrassing, although I wasn’t too surprised.  Throughout my life, I have always had to ask for directions or important information to be repeated.  Hence, I always had a note taker and tape recorder in college. I wanted to make sure I didn’t forget any important information.  Yet in the working world, it looks a little weird having a tape recorder or asking my colleagues: “Hey, can I look at your notes from the meeting?”

 

Comprehension Questions: I was asked a lot of ‘why’ questions.  Here is one example:

Questions: Why would a defendant ask to have a jury instead of a judge decide the verdict of the case?

My Answer: Because the defendant might have a better chance of an acquittal with twelve people vs. one.

When asked for another reason, I couldn’t think of another one.  Honestly, I’m not sure if there is another good reason.  However, the fact that there could be makes me question my intelligence. Of course, I was never that good with comprehension questions.  Probably because I hear things differently.   Here is an example of a lesson from my days in kindergarten days:

Teacher: President Lincoln is regarded as the second greatest president of our country.

What I heard: President Lincoln was the second president of our country.

                When later asked who the second president of America was, I answered Abraham Lincoln.   My classmates thought it was funny.  My teacher didn’t.  She thought I was acting stupid when in reality I just heard her wrong.  This was one of the reasons I was very hesitant to volunteer answers in class throughout my education career.

 

Visual Pattern Intelligence Test:        I had to complete certain patterns.  The easy ones were like this:  Image

 

 

Then the pictures became more complicated:

Image

 

I suck at patterns and puzzles.  Probably why Geometry is my worse subject.  It didn’t help that my mother was a mathematician.  She would get very frustrated with me over my math homework because I couldn’t understand how to solve the math problems.  I feel the visual test had to do more with visual skills vs. intelligence so I’m not very embarrassed by how I did with this test. 

 

Computer Test to measure attention span: Doc had me look at a computer screen.  There was a square in the middle of the screen.  When Doc activated the software, the square would frequently move from the center of the screen to the top of the screen.  I had to click on the mouse when the square reached the top of the screen.  Needless to say, this task prevented me from looking anywhere but the screen.  That was the point.  The test was to measure my concentration level.  The test took twenty minutes.  It was only during the last five minutes that I found my mind thinking of other things.  Doc said this meant I probably only have mild to moderate attention problems.  No surprise there!  As I have posted before, concentration hasn’t been a problem for me as an adult.  The main issue has been my ability to finish work as quickly and efficiently as the rest of my peers.  Still, it nice to know I aced at least one part of the battery of tests.

 

EEG (Electroencephalography):  A nurse led me to a white room where I sat in a dentist type chair.  She cleaned my scalp and covered my head with something that felt like tooth paste.  Then the nurse put twenty seven white circle little wires on my head that looked like the ear plugs of my I-Pod.  The picture below best shows what my head looked like:

 Image

Bubble Head!

 

It was hard (and painful) to get this gooey stuff out of my hair.

The wires were connected to a computer.  My brain waves were monitored by a computer with my eyes shut and then wide open.

 

Image 

Bubble Head connected to computer

 

                The nurse asked me to think of names that started with the letter “F.” Then she asked me to think of as many names as possible.  Lastly, she showed me a piece paper which showed two separate patterns: 1,4,7 and AZ, BY, C_.  I had to finish the pattern.  The hardest part was I couldn’t refer back to the piece of paper. 

                Throughout the EEG (30-45 minutes), I was told not to move a muscle, not to blink or move a finger.  I couldn’t do this at age six nor at age thirty.  The longest I could stay still was for one minute.  The nurse needed me to stay still for at least two minutes.     

                While she was redoing the test for the third time, I reflected on the last time I did an EEG test:  the fall of 1987.  After suspecting that I had some type of learning disability, my pediatrician recommended I go to New York to see Dr. Arthur Gold, Professor of Clinical Neurology and Pediatrics.  The term “learning disabilities” was still rather new.  The Americans with Disabilities Act was not introduced yet and most schools didn’t have accommodations for special education students.   Dr. Gold was one of the few knowledgeable in the field of Learning Disabilities.

                In 1987, the EEG sensors looked more like big black buttons.  The nurse put hot glue on them and stuck them on my head. It hurt like hell. Then she told me to lie on the table and not to move.  At age six, this was a huge problem.  The nurse yelled at me for moving too much, and my father told her off.

                Reflecting on this story finally allowed me to be still for two minutes.  I was so relieved to be allowed to move around again and go home!

 

What is next:  As I mentioned above, it has been almost a month since I have had the testing done.  I finally get the results on Saturday.    Doc will explain what parts of the brain are not functioning properly.  We will discuss what type of brain mapping is appropriate for me.  

I feel I have done poorly with most of the tests.  While it embarrassing I will at least know what part of the brain isn’t working.  Still, Doc warned me that if there is something wrong with the executive functioning part of the brain then there might not be much Neurofeedback therapy can do.  Neurofeedback does great for concentration problems, but I don’t believe that is my issue.   If Doc says that Neurofeedback therapy will not help, I’m not sure what else I can do to work more efficiently in the workplace.  Neurofeed back feels like my only hope….

-Mary R. Shine

Pictures are from:

http://www.intechopen.com/books/management-of-epilepsy-research-results-and-treatment/dense-array-eeg-epilepsy

http://www.thehealthage.com

and
http://sfari.org/images/blog/157138/image_medium