Wednesday, February 14, 2001 Bucks County, Pennsylvania

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Bucks County Healthy Living

Yardley Biofeedback Specialist
Treats Hyperactivity Without Drugs

Yardley, PA — Eric is nine years old and has problems in school. He has trouble sitting still. He is a year behind in his reading and math skills, yet at times he is capable of grasping complex information. He is frequently forgetful and disorganized, gets up repeatedly from his seat, and cannot seem to pay attention. Eric has above average intelligence, but his inattention, impulsivity and hyperactive behavior have caused him to have failing grades, and have put him at risk of repeating the fourth grade. Eric has been diagnosed with ADHD, or Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder.

ADHD, once called hyperkinesis or minimal brain dysfunction, is one of the most common mental disorders among children. It affects 3 to 5 percent of all children, perhaps as many as 2 million American children. Two to three times more boys than girls are affected. On the average, at least one child in every classroom in the United States needs help for the disorder. ADHD often continues into adolescence and adulthood, and can cause a lifetime of frustration and emotional pain.

The most common treatment for the condition is the use of drug therapy, most often in the form of the prescription medication Ritalin, which must be used on a long-term basis in order to be effective. Consumption of Ritalin in the U.S. has increased to over 350 million dosages last year. Many parents of students diagnosed with ADHD feel uncomfortable with the mixed messages given to their children — "Say no to drugs, but take your Ritalin." There is a great deal of controversy in the medical and scientific community about the long-term effects of Ritalin and on the diagnosis of ADHD itself.

Barry Belt, biofeedback advocate

"Ritalin is taking the place of patience in schools," asserts Barry Belt, director of Attention Deficit Specialists in Yardley, Pennsylvania. "Our brains are not equipped to do what we do in our society, working a 40-hour work week, handling the stresses that bombard us daily. In my opinion, Ritalin should be the last resort, only after other approaches have been tried. Medication only masks the problems that exist. We are, in essence, training a child to be a drug addict." Belt believes that adults and children with learning disabilities and behavioral problems have the capacity to learn and succeed, in school and work, without the use of medication. Clients are helped to lead a drug-free life by blending neurofeedback with proper nutrition and behavior modification.

According to Belt, research on ADHD shows that brain waves in affected individuals contain an excessive amount of slow (theta) brain waves, and not enough fast (beta) brain wave activity during activities requiring concentration and learning. He asserts that this research has shown that once the brain learns to regulate itself, it will continue to do so. This is accomplished by using a computer-based EEG monitoring system that processes signals from the brain and gives the individual immediate feedback by means of images on a computer monitor. It's like playing a video game with your brain. "Changing (a person's) physiology is the cornerstone of what we do," says Belt, a certified neurofeedback practitioner.

"Training one's attention is the only way we have of manipulating our environment," says Belt. "No one ever teaches you how to pay attention. Biofeedback does essentially what Ritalin does for the brain; it raises your arousal level. But with a difference." That difference, says Belt, is the cumulative effect of biofeedback, administered in treatments of 30-60 sessions. Ritalin, on the other hand, only works as long as it is in the system.

Belt considers himself a pioneer in what he describes as a growing treatment approach. While there are currently fewer than 1,000 practitioners across the country using brainwave biofeedback for ADHD, there are thousands doing so in peripheral ways. It's a solution that goes much deeper than the potency of a four-hour pill. "There is something relentless and immutable about a diagnosis of ADD/ADHD to a child. It says, 'This is who you are.' Our success with biofeedback demonstrates that children need not be the perpetual victims of their diagnoses."

For families, teachers, and others who work with children, Attention Deficit Specialists offers a free monthly seminar where you can learn more about this treatment method. More information, articles and case studies can be found at their website,

Team Pennsylvania CareerLink
Offers Online Employment Services

Bristol, PA — The Team Pennsylvania CareerLink is now open to help fill employment needs. CareerLink is a unique website that's part of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania's online system. The site can be found at and offers both job seeker as well as employer services. Employers can post job openings with CareerLink that offer a number of choices with distinct advantages:
  • User-friendly and intuitive design
  • Simple registration process
  • Candidate search feature for direct access to job seekers
  • Order tracking with employer "activity log"
  • Links to economic development, education, and training services.
The Bucks County CareerLink Office is located at 1260 New Rodgers Road in Bristol. They can be reached at 215-981-1060.

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