iLs Clinical Director Ron Minson, MD, has been working with people with ADD for over 30 years. In this conversation, he discusses the brain differences associated with ADD and how and why iLs is effective in reducing the symptoms of ADD.
Some Key Takeaways:
What is ADD:
ADD is a neurological disorder wherein the part of the brain – the Right Frontotemporal Cortex – that handles attention, focus and concentration is under active. In brain scans of non-affected people, this area of the brain is quite active in tasks requiring attention. In those with ADD, this area of the frontotemporal cortex is hypoactive (under functioning) while doing the same tasks.
Also, the prefrontal cortex receives energy from the basal ganglia via the dopamine pathway. Dopamine improves attention and strengthens activation of the prefrontal cortex. iLs programs can activate this pathway by stimulating the basal ganglia naturally. And with repeated and consistent effort, this pathway can become activated on its own.
Potential Symptoms of ADD:
- Difficulty paying attention and sustaining attention
- Difficulty organizing tasks and executing plans
- Problems with impulse control and behavioral regulation
- Problems with working memory
- Poor judgment
A diagnosis of ADD requires that:
- Symptoms interfere with the quality of social, academic or occupational functioning
- Symptoms exist in two or more settings
- Symptoms present by age 12
*Note: See The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders - 5th Edition (DSM 5) for a full description.
Other Conditions that have similar symptoms and may even accompany an ADD diagnosis:
- Auditory Processing Disorder
- Sensory Processing Disorder
- Other learning differences
Dr. Minson recommends treating these other conditions first, since by doing so attention may be improved.
How is iLs helpful in addressing symptoms of ADD?
iLs affects the pathways of attention and concentration through multisensory stimulation – particularly auditory, visual, vestibular and proprioceptive input. The auditory system receives input from the treated music. The visual system is activated by the tracking necessary to perform the movement components of iLs. And the vestibular and proprioceptive systems are activated by bone conduction, as well as the iLs exercises challenging balance and coordination. These systems all provide strong input to the cerebellum, the basal ganglia and, ultimately, to the brain centers that govern higher functioning.
Music, movement and bone conduction paired with consistent and persistent effort all work together to strengthen pathways to support better functioning of the prefrontal cortex.