I have been a school psychologist in northern New Mexico for the past 13 years and prior to that was a nurse for 20 years. With a medical background I began my career as a psychologist recommending medical interventions (exclusively including pharmaceutical interventions) for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and mood disorders. Within the first two years of psychology practice, I had two elementary children who responded to the psychotropic medication with severe psychotic episodes. Other side effects included failure to thrive, gastro-intestinal symptoms, insomnia, excessive anxiety, and neurological symptoms including facial tics. Not only were these side effects a nuisance to the children and their families, but classmates and teachers were often frightened and avoidant of the children who had these responses to their medication regimen.
About eight years ago, Dr. Pam Bell began offering neurofeedback treatments for children with ADHD and mood disorders. I researched the procedures in my professional journals and felt hopeful that this may be a viable alternative for my most critical students. I have repeatedly seen children who were on strong stimulant medication, SSRI’s, and/or anti-psychotic medications, make miraculous recovery once they received neuro-biofeedback treatments. Not only have these students been able to discontinue their psychotropic medications but their mental health conditions have been stabilized and in every case, I have been able to exit each child from special education services. Is this not our goal in serving patients and disabled students: to treat them and advance them towards a normal life with their peers?
Over the past five years, when I evaluate a student for mental health issues and testing is positive for mental health diagnosis, I discuss with families alternatives for treatment and I always suggest neuro-biofeedback with Dr. Bell as my first choice of treatment intervention. I tell parents that there are other treatment modalities we can try including behavior interventions in school and psychotropic medication prescribed by their pediatrician or child psychiatrist. I like my parents and students to be educated about their treatment options, however, I am always clear that, in my opinion based upon my research and personal experience, neurofeedback is a positive solution and often can be a permanent treatment.
Thank you for this opportunity to express my admiration and appreciation to the wonderful work that Dr. Bell does with children. I initially heard about her from a colleague of mine who was being treated by Dr. Bell, so I know she does some great work with adults as well as children. How fantastic though, if we can treat children with mental health disorders during their childhood and give them the opportunity to reach their full life potential.
Sincerely,Michelle Ulibarri, MS, HES, LMHC Licensed School Psychologist, Licensed Educational Diagnostician,