Clinic Outcome Assessment of a Brief
Course Neurofeedback for Childhood
Kate B. Nooner, PhD
Kirsten D. Leaberry, MA
Julian R. Keith, PhD
Richard L. Ogle, PhD
Neurofeedback (NFB) is a noninvasive neurocognitive intervention that relies on the principles
of operant conditioning to retrain brainwave patterns associated with concentration, relaxation, and
When conducting NFB, electrodes are attached to the scalp and connected to a
computer, which reads the brain waves. Brain waves in the desired range are reinforced (e.g.,
earning points), while brain waves outside of the range are punished (e.g., hearing beeping tone).
Typical neurofeedback batteries for childhood attention deﬁcit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
symptoms involve 30–40 neurofeedback sessions, each lasting 30–60 min.
NFB can help
children with ADHD symptoms learn which brain waves are associated with focused attention and
which are not.
NFB can involve teaching children to modify speciﬁc brainwaves associated with ADHD
symptoms. Beta waves (13–30 Hz) are related to concentration and alertness, while alpha (8–
12 Hz) and theta (4–8 Hz) waves are associated with relaxation.
Additionally, theta waves are
associated with daydreaming and lethargy.
Some NFB treatments for ADHD symptoms utilize
theta/beta training to increase beta wave activity to target concentration and decrease theta wave
activity to target unfocused behavior.
Other NFB treatments utilize sensorimotor rhythm (SMR)
training (13–15 Hz), a brain wave rhythm associated with relaxation and attentiveness.
NFB has received BLevel 1 Best Support^ as an evidence-based treatment for childhood ADHD
according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Receiving this designation means that there
have been studies with sufﬁcient sample size indicating that NFB is safe for use with children.
also means that studies have demonstrated that NFB is effective in reducing ADHD symptoms in
However, evaluations of neurofeedback outside of research trials have been more
limited, meaning it is not yet known how laboratory studies translate to real clinical practice.
Address correspondence to Kate B. Nooner, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of North Carolina Wilmington,
601 South College Road, Wilmington, NC, USA. Email: email@example.com.
Julian R. Keith, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of North Carolina Wilmington, Wilmington, NC, USA.
Richard L. Ogle, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of North Carolina Wilmington, Wilmington, NC, USA.
Kirsten D. Leaberry, MA, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY, USA.
Journal of Behavioral Health Services & Research, 2016. 506–514. c
2016 National Council for Behavioral Health. DOI
506 The Journal of Behavioral Health Services & Research 44:3 July 2017