My First-Hand Neurofeedback Experience

One activity I do on a consistent basis today is neurofeedback, a type of biofeedback. After having initially had a brain scan taken, I now have sensors attached to my scalp over the most affected lobes and neurofeedback uses real-time displays of brain activity to teach self-regulation of its function. 

         “I just wanted to sound normal again,” is exactly what I told the doctor when I entered his office on that first day. 

         Dr. Kamran Fallahpour, neuro-psychologist and head of The Brain Resource Center listened to me intently and seemed to know what I was talking about. See, the dysarthria that had accompanied the TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) I had suffered back on June 14, 2001 made for unclear articulation of speech that was otherwise linguistically normal. I made sense; I was just hard to understand.

         Not only had the dysarthria ravaged my speech and made my unclear articulation difficult to listen to, but it had also ravaged my self-confidence and my feelings of self worth. How many times had I heard from doctors and friends over the years since the accident, “Important people will listen to the content of what you say, not how you say it”?

         Well, today to this I say, not exactly

         One’s speech is naturally the first way one presents him/herself to the world. Everything is in those initial words. No one will listen if the first words out of your mouth present you as being damaged goods. No one takes you seriously, then. You need not even say more. 

         You’re already done for. 

If someone sounds damaged, the words, no matter how well thought-out or perceptive their content may be, potentially declare more severe damage than, solely, some vocal chords. At this point, the outside observer’s mind jumps to other possibilities that could account for the sound. 

         Mental delay? Brain damage? Mental deficiency? “Is she not all there?”

         Wanting to avoid these propositions at all costs, I was quick to join The Brain Resource Center and improve things, no matter how many years after the accident it had already been.

         From the beginning, Dr. Fallahpour made no promises, or guarantees, for the improvement of my speech. He had merely said that, although speech improvement has been known to occur, he has seen so many other facets of the brain that do improve immensely, such as reading, critical thinking, memory. So, compared to all the immense neurologic improvements he had actually seen, the improvement of speech really means so little in comparison.

         Well it’s early January 2019 and after having been a regular client at The Brain Resource Center since July 2018, by going for about four to five 45- minute sessions/week, I, Francoise Gordon, have seen neurologic improvements beyond my wildest dreams. From memory, to critical thinking, to reading I’m a new person. 

         And hey, my speech has really improved drastically too.

                                                        Everyone has noticed. 

                                                                 They tell me all the time.

                   But wouldn’t you know it, that’s been the last thing I care about now.