Don’t Diss the Dys – or Why a Label Is Not Necessarily a Bad Thing

23 July, 2010 (16:11) | dyscalculia, dyslexia, dyspraxia

Many people who get neurofeedback training do so because they’ve been given a diagnosis of a condition that starts with a “Dys” – dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia, and so on.

They often feel a bit ambiguous about this label. After all, it carries the idea that something is “abnormal” or there’s a “difficulty” – with reading, writing, maths, hand-eye coordination. And of course, there is! But being labelled doesn’t make them feel particularly good about themselves.

On the other hand, though, it can give them a sense of relief – finally they have confirmation that they’re not lazy, stupid or crazy (by the way, one of my favourite books about ADHD), and also it means that there’s the beginning of a reason for why they’re experiencing the situations and behaviours they are. They’re not making them up. Their teacher, psychologist, whoever diagnosed them, has recognised their similarities with other people in the same boat. So it’s the beginning of power, the search for information, a word to put into Google, the idea that there’s some help out there.

Now when you come to do neurofeedback with me, I’m not so interested in your particular Dys. For sure, it gives me an indication of what you are finding difficult, but it doesn’t tell me how that is working out in your own particular brain. I want to know about your brain. That’s why the first thing we do is an assessment where I measure your brain activity while you’re just sitting and resting, to get a baseline. Then I measure it while you do some simple tasks related to the difficulties you’re having. That gives me much more specific information about your brain than a simple Dys. It gives me lots of clues about what sort of brain training will be likely to help you – not someone else in your school class with the same Dys. So I can design a programme that is yours.

Of course, and this is where I am VERY interested in the things that make up your Dys, I do want to know about the difficulties that are particularly getting in the way of you making the progress you would like, because we want the training to address those first if we can. And those are the things we’re going to keep track of to see how the training is progressing. But your programme will not be the same as your classmate’s, your sibling’s, your neighbour’s – it will be tailored to your own brain.

So in the end, the neurofeedback training will be aimed at helping you to get to grips with your own particular Dys. So I don’t diss the Dys – but I do want to get underneath it and behind it to know about you.

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