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Neurofeedback brainwave training for Chinese Special Ed students | Elyn MacInnis | TEDxHultShanghai


Translator: Li Kleing
Reviewer: Denise RQ Hello, I’m really glad to be here today because not many people
know about my topic. And it’s actually biofeedback
for the brain, and it has its own name
which is neurofeedback. I’m going to talk to you
about how brainwave training helped our special ed students, here in a little town called Suzhou, in Guangzhou Province,
in the middle of China, and about someone named Han Ru Fen. In English we just call her Granny Han, an amazing woman who reminds me a little bit
of Mother Theresa in some ways. When she became a grandmother, her first grandson got stuck in delivery, and he did suffer
quite a bit of brain injury; his IQ was in the 30s so when it was time for him
to go to school, there was not school
that would take a child with an IQ that was that low,
at the time. So Granny Han decided
to start a school for him, and four other students
in the neighborhood who were just like him. This school grew, and it flourished. Amity helped. The local government
helped a lot. The Red Cross. Their reputation grew,
and the number of students there grew. They had excellent teaching and some of their graduates
went on to get jobs and actually support their own families. In 2004, a modern school was built
for them with funds from UNESCO. It was the first time
UNESCO built a school, a special ed school in China. They also had help from churches,
and foundations, and local companies. And now, ten years later,
it has 135 students, and Granny Han has received
national awards for her work And it’s really just a top notch school. One of the things
I discovered six years ago, after 25 years there, six years ago,
I heard about neurofeedback. I did some investigation, and I realized that brainwave training
has a huge potential to expand a brain’s horizons
and help it regulate itself. So I applied to a foundation for a grant. Got the equipment and took courses
in how to do brainwave reframing. It’s not easy. You need to do courses
and have a period of time with a mentor. My mentor is Larry Hirshberg at Brown,
and he’s absolutely terrific. He’s helped me a lot. These are some pictures of the school. A lot of the children
have special interests, and many of them love to do paper cuts
especially the autistic children. This is Little Moon. She was abandoned at birth. She was found at the side of a pigsty
by a farmer’s family and the grandpa loved her
so much they took her in. When she was small,
she would talk a little bit, but then she slowly stopped talking. As is often true with autism
and turned inward and seemed very depressed. She had trouble with sleeping, and she really counts
as being on the autistic spectrum. So she began
neurofeedback training in 2010, and she had a training session
about once a week after that. And after three months her Auntie said,
“Oh, she’s much better at home now.” And the teacher said,
“Wow, she’s making big progress.” She was starting to focus in class
instead of being all turned inward. She was starting to look
and see what was going on. And she had stopped drooling And she made academic improvements. Here she is six months later. Do you see her in the peach outfit there? Would you recognize that as Little Moon? At this point, she loved to laugh. She was happy to play with friends. She was socializing,
and in June, she blew me kisses and said good-bye for the summer. This is Little Jo. I love Little Jo. I love her because she is
so compassionate and kind. She was always kind
even when I first met her. I knew I would love training her
because of her amazing soul. Her situation was
that she had cerebral palsy and also learning difficulties. She couldn’t do any math.
One plus one is two was beyond her. And her two goals that I asked her.
“Do you have goals?” She said she would like to do math,
and she would like to be able to run. Now, Little Jo had cerebral palsy so she walked in a kind
of spidery sort of way. And when she went up the stairs, she’d go up the stairs one by one
holding on to the bannister. She began in December 2010, and after six months,
her coordination improved and she could focus in class. She also passed her math tests. She did this. Her teacher wrote out this out,
and she wrote in the answers. And she did it right
in front of me, very quickly. She got 100%. Look at that. She continued training. Here she is in the little yellow outfit. And by a year later, she reached her goal. She could run. Amazing. These children made
this astounding progress because we trained their brains for better functioning
using neurofeedback, brainwave training. Now I want to talk about training. That’s my grand-dog. We’ve trained her to sit. I bet many of you have
trained a doggie to sit, right? You say, “Sit,” or use your finger “Sit.” They can see you so they know what to do.
They learn what to do. They sit. You give them a reward and pretty soon
they’ll sit all the time for you. Even when you didn’t ask them. That’s something you can see.
You can train for what you see. Do you see the heart there? You can’t see it, so can you train it? Yes, with biofeedback,
we can train a heart to slow its beat. You see there’s an EKG machine,
or you can use just simple sensors. And if you use simple sensors and make the beat of your heart
obvious, seeable, you can slowly learn
how to slow the beat of your heart. The same is true for the brain. Now, what are you training
when you train the brain? I am sure that you all know
that the brain has brainwaves. There they are on a standard EEG. Here are some of the areas of the brain. Do you see? You have areas that can have concentration
and problem solving, all you ADDs out there. You may have slow brainwaves
that don’t belong there in your frontal part of your brain. Or if you have trouble reading,
you can see there’s a spot there where you’d be trained
to help increase the function there if you needed to learn how to read. What do the frequencies mean? Well, at the bottom here is deep sleep. If you have plenty of it,
you’ll get restful sleep. If you don’t have enough,
you’ll have poor sleep. And if you have too much
in certain places, you’ll have a depressed
and sluggish feeling. With theta which is just up
from there, four to eight hertz, you’ll feel very intuitive. You’ll have your creative burst. But if you have too much,
you’ll be very foggy, and you’ll daydream. And if you have too little,
you’ll kind of be a bit robotic. In the alpha frequency of the brain, It will make you feel calm and relaxed if you have the right amount
in the right place. But if you have too little,
you may feel exhausted. And if you have too much,
you’ll feel anxious or hyper-vigilant. The beta brainwaves
which are the higher ones Is the ones we have
in large quantities when we are awake. We’ll be focused and engaged
with plenty of beta. But we’ll be tired and unmotivated if we’re lacking in it
in the right places. And if you have too much, you’ll have mind chatter,
and you’ll be tense. This is a map. Scientists have now figured out how to make a map
of the frequencies in your brain. How much quantitative EEG, how much of each frequency
is in your brain. This shows a relatively normal brain. Average is gray. Colors is off. If you do science, you can see
that this is 1 standard deviation, 2 standard deviations,
3 standard deviations. Anyway, you’re getting worse
as you get to the deeper colors. This person, hmm… I bet they have trouble
with word retrieval. I know that, because it’s me. And also, our brains have
connections back and forth. We make very strong connections. Temple Grandin, the famous
autistic spectrum woman who has done so many astounding things. She has incredible connections between the front and the back
for her visual connections. This is a pretty normal person.
This is me again. So these are normal for connections. I want you to take a look right here. This is not normal. This is a brain that is
totally connected, hyper-connected. And this is an autistic child. And now, they know with autism that autistic children have
hyper-connected brains. Now if you look next to it, that looks pretty good doesn’t it? Right? The slide next to it. Guess what? That’s the same child
after a year of neurofeedback training. Was at an autistic school,
and then, after a year, could transfer to a school
for learning differenced children. Not to the normal school, but to a school that was
for normal special ed situations. Now, this is our equipment. How does it work? You can see down here there are
some sensors that are put on your head. One or two up on your head itself,
and one or two on your ears. It is listening to the brain. It does not shock
or stimulate, or do anything. It is just listening. It’s a mirror. And as it listens to your brain, we can target what frequencies
we want it to pay attention to, and where. And for example, in autism,
we never train the left side. We always train the right side
here in the back. We make the frequencies go down. And as we do, the child improves. For depression, you train the left side, you train the vibrations up, and pretty soon the child is no longer– – or the adult, by the way,
this is not just for children – is no longer depressed. In ADD, you work on the front. And this is a game you play with no hands. You only run it, the Pacman here,
forward with your brain. When your brain
makes the right frequency, Pacman goes forward. If your brain doesn’t make
the right amount of the right type of brainwaves, Pacman turns gray, he stops beeping. And if its really bad,
he turns black and sits there until your brain comes around and starts functioning
in the right way again, and gets rewarded
for doing the right thing. When we do this, we do it for 9 to 30 minutes
depending on the person. It can happen once or twice a week. And you often see improvement
after one session. But we usually do 20 before we reevaluate. Neurofeedback is what brought
these astounding changes to the children. This is Lee Chung Shau. He came to school when he was 6.
Isn’t he sweet? But the teacher’s report said
he had a hard time focusing. He wiggled a lot. He was always rubbing
his mouth and his face. He refused to exercise. He found math very difficult. He would say things that made no sense,
just talking to himself. And he would also laugh
to himself, inappropriately. By six months, he was making
progress in math. He started being able to write characters. Which is better than me, because I have
a hard time writing characters. He talked to himself less, and he wasn’t oppositional
with his mother; he wasn’t telling
his mother no all the time. And he started doing his homework
by himself with no reminder. Here he was at the beginning. Here he is later. A year later, he was
very logical in his speaking, and if you asked him what he ate,
he would say ‘apple’, whereas before,
he might have said, ‘auntie’. A year later, he was taking the bus
by himself to school. And he had made great progress in school. He washed the dishes for his mother. Let me tell you,
that really warmed her heart. He was buying simple things
from the store. And he also thanked his mom
for what she had done for him. And there is even better news than this. This is not just for children. This is for adults too. There are many conditions
that could be helped by neurofeedback. Over the last 25 years,
we’ve worked at Granny Han’s school but in my opinion, in the last six years, with neurofeedback, the children have
made progress beyond our thinking. And the progress there gives me hope for what the children
will be able to do in the future. If we have a child who has autism,
or Down’s, or ADD, or anxiety, cerebral palsy, any other
conditions of the brain if they were all able
to have access to neurofeedback, we would have a different world. Thank you. (Applause)

Reynold King

14 Replies to “Neurofeedback brainwave training for Chinese Special Ed students | Elyn MacInnis | TEDxHultShanghai”

  1. 95% is a view of the speaker, I would like to have seen the diagrams, when she speaks abiut the diagram which is no longer visible mans its particularly difficult to follow

  2. Elyn, I have a question about Little Moon's NF training. What frequency range do you typically train at? Do you do infralow training? Thank you for this TED Talk.

  3. what a lovely inspiring women. Also very interested in biofeedback at the moment so it was good to hear more case studies.

  4. Thanks for the Video clip! Forgive me for butting in, I would love your thoughts. Have you considered – Schallingora Success Key Scheme (just google it)? It is a great exclusive product for creating health minus the hard work. Ive heard some great things about it and my buddy finally got cool results with it.

  5. Appreciate video content! Excuse me for butting in, I would love your thoughts. Have you thought about – Schallingora Success Key Scheme (Have a quick look on google cant remember the place now)? It is a smashing exclusive product for creating health minus the hard work. Ive heard some unbelievable things about it and my friend Sam at very last got amazing results with it.

  6. I am so down for this, but her language is in the world of right and wrong, good and bad…I dont think thats a real holistic and real understanding to things…idk

  7. As a neurofeedback provider in Alpharetta GA, I completely concur with this speaker. The changes in children are absolutely amazing. Love it!

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