ADHD: A Parent’s Story

The following case vignette is from Australia, where reporter Mimi Kwa covered the story of a rageful young child who received neurofeedback training with Dr. Moshe Perl in Melbourne. This story appeared on the program A Current Affair on October 8, 2002.


Coping with a child who suffers Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) often leaves parents feeling helpless and hopeless. But a natural, non-invasive treatment offers new hope in the form of a simple computer game. ACA meets one family who have observed the benefits first-hand.

Today, Kane Loveday is your typical 12-year-old. It’s hard to believe only four years ago, Kane was putting his mother, Lauren, through hell.

“He was abusive, he used to hit me and punch me and kick me and bite me. I didn’t know what to do with him,” she says.

Kane’s ADHD was out of control. Even his sister Kara was afraid of him.

But, after years of violent outbursts, relief has finally been found in a computer game. It’s a system called Neurofeedback, where Kane’s brainwaves are represented as different coloured spaceships.

According to clinical psychologist Dr Moshe Perl, electrodes on Kane’s head sense when he’s relaxed and focused, and as a result, the green spaceship speeds up, overtaking other spaceships that show when he’s tired or tense.

Kane’s mother, Lauren, explains the rationale.

“Of course what he wants to do is to get the rockets to go fast, so he teaches himself to really slow down,” she says.

Following the success of the treatment, Kane’s family hardly recognise him.

“Excellent, absolutely excellent and it’s been long-term. He’s lost, I would say, all of his violence. He’s not aggressive. He’s a happy, happy child now,” Lauren says.

And looking back, Kane also realises he’s become a different person.

“I can’t believe I was like that; Even if I tried I don’t think I’d be able to do it [again],” he says.

After 60 Neurofeedback sessions, Dr Perl says Kane’s attention span has improved dramatically. In fact, his scores have doubled.

“Maybe one in 10,000 children would have scored as poorly as he did. Now, he’s completely average in that area and at the same time he focuses better,” says Dr Perl.

While Kane is still weening himself off the ADHD drug Ritalin, it is only through the donations from the local parish that the Lovedays could afford the $2600 price tag for the Neurofeedback treatment.

“I know it’s expensive but it’s safe, it’s less invasive, it’s better than any chemicals, even natural therapies. You know, we tried the diets and all kinds of things,” says mum Lauren.

Dr Perl says the treatment has an 85 percent success rate with ADHD. The system, however, has also proven effective in treating other disorders.

“It works for anxiety; it works for depression; it works for mood disturbances and it works for panic. I’ve used it successfully for chronic pain, headaches and migraine,” says Dr Perl.

For Lauren Loveday, Kane’s positive outcome has literally changed their lives.

“Anything’s worth a try and it was either that or give the child up and I couldn’t cope with that,” she says.