Well, I mean kids' brains have a lot of plasticity. That means flexibility, right down to each nerve and its connection with other brain cells.
At this point, I think I may be to old to be a protege of any sort, and I wasn't one of those kids who is a violin or calculus genius.
No, I think "spazzy" might have been used more commonly. Or "very active," "busy" or "curious" if one was trying to be nice. I like to think that I was just very interested in everything, and wanted to do everything at once. But if I had ever become too much for my parents, I very well could have ended up with an ADHD diagnosis (or ADD as it was known just a few years ago).
Lucky for me I grew up in the time before prolific medication of young ones. Today, around 5-7% of school-aged children are diagnosed with ADHD and with the development and widespread use of medication for this population, many children are on behavior-altering medications for years. Both intentionally and unintentionally, this affects developing brains, since the meds specifically target the part of the brain which is most plastic (prefrontal cortex), which actively grows and matures into one's 20s.
At the bottom of the page is the full research article I came across recently- it's 9 pages long and dense on the topic of psychophysiological coherence- one of my professional passions.
This is what I am tapping into when I use when I train people with stress and anxiety using in-office and at-home biofeedback therapy techniques. Knowing how simple and powerfully effective it is in children (and adults) with ADHD, I incorporate biofeedback into my patient plans before starting strong, potentially habit-forming psychostimulants- particularly with my pediatric patients.
To sum up the research results, all of the children (ages 6-8 grade) showed improved cognitive function and behavior after a series of 6 weekly biofeedback sessions (involving a Heartmath game to make it fun). Some of the surprising findings are that most of the kids were using Heartmath skills every day after a three month check in, on their own, with no adults prompting them. Another is that some (18%) of the children at that check in were completely off their psychostimulant medication (at be beginning of the study, all the children were medicated).
No parent wants their child to be excessively medicated- and with some emotional and psychological conditions, medication can allow someone to better function in their day to day activities. Looking at non-pharmacologic options is my focus when working with children (and adults) with ADHD, and I look forward to continue reinforcing these positive results using biofeedback for these individuals.
As with any chronic issue, there are often multiple factors at play- people experiencing ADHD often have food or chemical allergies or sensitivities for example- so my approach always takes into consideration each patient's unique history in order to make a customized plan of action for improved quality of life.
Stay happy, healthy and warm,