Lois & Jack Schwarz
Tools for Self Discovery
About Jack Schwarz
About Lois Schwarz
1051 NE 6th St., #144
Grants Pass, Oregon 97526
Pilot Project in Basic Learning Skills for Children
From May of 1994 to October of 1995, the Aletheia Foundation carried out
a pilot program for basic learning skills for young children.
One small group of three children with their parents were in the three-year study.
During the initial ten weeks of intensive training, instruction in techniques
of breathing and perceptualizations, eye movement exercises and use of
autogenics to monitor brainwave states were given, along with the principles
underlying their use. Each child had one parent who joined them for a
one-hour weekly session following the two-hour intensive. Weekly and monthly
follow-ups were continued for the remainder of the first year; periodic
follow-ups continued for the remainder of the three years. A tremendous
growth in self-esteem and better concentration was shown in the first
year. All parties were happier and were relating well. The techniques
that contributed to relaxation and self-knowledge appeared to be the most
effective for growth.
Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) is a complex psychological problem that requires a flexible approach
with a range of options and perspectives for effective treatment. Reductionistic
conceptualizations that promote single causative factors and unitary modes
of intervention have proven inadequate and, in some cases, detrimental.
The interactionist position is a conceptual trend reflecting the increasing
consensus that multiple variables in the social and non-social environments
of children contribute to ADD.
Hyperactivity is generally defined in the literature as a cluster of behaviors including overactivity, short
attention span, low frustration tolerance, impulsivity, distractibility
and academic difficulties. Although the clinical pattern of hyperactivity
has been noted in scientific writings since the beginning of the century
and has been recognized in virtually all areas of the world (Ross &
Ross, 1982), it remained a relatively obscure issue until the 1960's (Jellinek,
1981). During the 1970's, scientific interest in the study of hyperactivity
expanded tremendously (Douglas, 1976). Over the last half century, as
increasing and more structured attempts have been made to manage learning-
and behaviorally-deviant children, categories of deviance have evolved.
Of these categories, "the most common child psychiatric disability
is hyperactivity" (Safer & Allen, 1976).
Hyperactivity is no longer a widely accepted term among professionals, because a high level of inappropriate
activity is not considered the primary symptom (Ross & Ross, 1982).
The focus has now shifted from motor activity to a neurocognitive perspective.
The "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders"
(American Psychiatric Association, 1980) established a more accurate term,
Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) with and without hyperactivity. The critical
common factor is the deficit in attention.
The diagnosis of ADD is most often made during the child's primary school years and is diagnosed ten
times as frequently in males than females (American Psychiatric Association,
1980). Lambert, Scanoval, and Sassone (1978) evaluated the prevalence
of the disorder among elementary school children and reported rates ranging
from one to six percent.
In preparation for the new project, Lois A. Scheller Schwarz and Jack
Schwarz reviewed current research literature in the field and attended
a seminar given by Dr. Joel F. Lubar from the University of Tennessee
on the subject of EEG, "Diagnostics and Biofeedback for Attention
Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorders", as well as a workshop with
the Research Unit at the Menninger Foundation.
Properly employed EEG biofeedback training, though it is time consuming, can lead to improvements in psychometric test measures, in school performance and to significant changes in EEG
measures. EEG biofeedback training needs to be integrated with academic
type work and children phased out gradually with a long follow-up period.
Suitable EEG instrumentation now available makes this training practical,
though expensive in time. Lubar encourages attention to ratio measures,
especially alpha/beta ratios.
Summary of Major Conclusions
- Learning skills improved in all three children, especially
when parents were sharing the same exercises.
- The instruments and exercises used were manageable
by all participants, including the parents.
- Self-esteem of the children as well as the parents
increased during the intensive training period as indicated by self-reports
and observations made by staff in discussions.
- The activities in the program reported as most useful
to participants were the breathing techniques, exercises and drawing
with two hands. The autogenic and EEG work were also seen as useful.
- The activities in the program reported as most interesting
to the participants were the breathing techniques and the drawing with
- The 'right' support parent was an important factor
in the growth of improved family relationships and self-understanding.
- The project staff was reported as being loving, caring,
wonderful people working in a friendly atmosphere that generated insight
and positive feelings.
- The selection of staff is very important, objectivity
must be maintained.
- The alpha brainwave state was the most difficult in
- All parties were happier and relating well, empowerment
and maturity was taking place.