Effectiveness of Neurofeedback Training in Children with Reading Disabilities
Dr Shelley Hyman
Neurofeedback training is an emerging intervention that has shown to be effective in regulating electroencephalogram (EEG) abnormalities, which has led to improvements in behavioral deficits in children with reading disabilities. Neurofeedback uses the principles of operand conditioning to reward or repress the specific electrical brain activity.
A 2012 study by Dr. Nazari and colleagues evaluated the effectiveness of neurofeedback on children with reading disabilities and deficits in phonological awareness. Phonological awareness refers to the child’s ability in acquiring letter–speech sound associations and recognizing and manipulating the sound structure of language. Six children with dyslexia were given twenty 30 minute session of neurofeedback and follow-up assessments 2 months after the children completed neurofeedback. Pre and post-treatment measurements found significant improvements in reading ability, as children show a reduction in reading mistakes and reading time following neurofeedback.
Results from the study also showed significant improvements in phonological awareness deficit. Both the improvements in reading ability and phonological awareness were also maintained at the 2 month follow-up.
Further EEG analysis also showed positive changes in the temporal lobes of the brain following neurofeedback intervention, suggesting a normalisation (increase) in the central-frontal and central-parietal areas of the brain. These significant changes suggest that integration of sensory and motor areas of the brain may explain the improvements in reading skills and phonological awareness.
Results from this study indicate that neurofeedback training has a beneficial effect on children with reading disabilities, in particular improving their reading abilities and phonological awareness.
- Nazari, M. A., Mosanezhad, E., Hashemi, T., & Jahan, A. (2012). The effectiveness of neurofeedback training on EEG coherence and neuropsychological functions in children with reading disability. Clinical EEG and Neuroscience, 43(4) 315-322.