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Natural Awakenings Lehigh Valley

Making Connections : Therapies that Address ADHD

Nov 01, 2012 07:34PM ● By Beth Davis


It’s no secret that the symptoms associated with attention deficit disorder (ADD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are neurological, so why is it that practitioners continue to debate what therapies are the most beneficial? As parents deciding what would be the best treatment for their child, weeding through all the data is a daunting task. If a parent researches a certain therapy and it shows good results, how do they know if it is going to work for their child? It is an understandable frustration. Why can’t doctors figure out what therapy is best and give it to everyone?

Dr. Jonathan Tompkins, owner of Tompkins Institute of Chiropractic, in Bethlehem, says the problem is not that these therapies are ineffective, but that each child has his or her own neurological strengths and weaknesses. One therapy cannot effectively treat every patient and never will because all patients are different. “I have painstakingly researched therapies and developed examination protocols to determine what therapies will be most beneficial to each patient,” says Tompkins. “The therapies I provide turn weaknesses into strengths. It is not up to you, the parent, to select a therapy, you should be selecting a doctor who can determine your child’s weaknesses and has the tools to treat them.”

In his office, Tompkins says he is able select the therapies that fit each child’s needs. Most patients, though, do not need all of them—just the ones that treat the weak parts of their brain. Treatments change over time as patients master each, leading to faster treatment outcomes. “No time is wasted on a therapy that is not needed, and it is not uncommon for patients to graduate from care earlier than initially expected,” he notes.

The main therapies utilized by Tompkins, which he shares with Natural Awakenings below, are all non-invasive, stimulate brain cells, increase their size, make new connections and promote the formation of pathways speeding the transfer of information to all areas of the brain.

Hemispheric Integrative Therapy. Assesses whether one side of the brain is weaker. Therapies are used that stimulate just the weaker side to bring balance and better communication between both sides of the brain.

Interactive Metronome. Patients hit hand and foot triggers to the beat of the computer metronome. Instant visual and auditory feedback is given to keep individuals with the beat. This is effective in coordinating movements on both sides of the body. Studies show improvements in behavior, ADD/ADHD symptoms, better grades and improved reading and math scores.

Hemistim. Computerized or manual eye movement exercises that can specifically stimulate one side of the brain at a time. This is a great tool to exercise the weaker side of brain.

Ocular Muscle Weakness. An examination of how both eyes work together when gazing at a fixed object and when following a moving object. Weaknesses in specific eye muscles are associated with weak areas of brain.

Eyelights. Eyeglasses with colored lenses and blinking LED lights stimulate the visual pathways of the brain. This therapy can stimulate one side of the brain directed toward the individual’s side of weakness. It is shown to enhance coordination and athletic performance.

iJoy Balance Board. Unlike traditional balance therapy, the motorized board moves on its own at a speed that the individuals can safely balance themselves. It is a great therapy for coordination and balance.  

Primitive Reflex Therapy. Primitive reflexes are inborn and normal from birth to one year. These disappear with normal development, but in some cases do not. Left untreated, the brain remains immature in the lower areas of brain and hinders coordination, balance, memory, attention and autonomic processes. When these are seen on examination, specific exercises are required.

Diet/Supplements. While there is no one miracle vitamin, mineral or supplement that cures these symptoms, adequate fuel and nutrition is essential for all brains to function. A comprehensive assessment of diet, sugar balance and nutritional intake is performed and supplementation may be recommended.

Food Allergies/Intolerance. Studies have shown that some patients’ symptoms improve when they eliminate certain foods such as gluten, wheat, eggs, soy and milk. Tompkins says this is because the body’s immune system will react when these foods are eaten; causing inflammation that hinders brain function. “In the past, practitioners would guess which ones were the culprit, or put patients on long and strict elimination diets with the hope that symptoms would improve,” he explains. “Now blood or saliva tests can be done to determine which foods, if any, need to be eliminated.”

All of these therapies are utilized by functional neurologists all over the world not just for ADD/ADHD, but for treatments of all types of neurological disorders like traumatic brain injury, concussion, stroke rehab, Parkinson’s, stuttering, spinal cord injuries, Tourette’s and migraine. “The days of treating and seeing what happens while hoping for the best are over,” advises Tompkins. “On the first examination, areas of brain weakness are determined and specific treatments begin.” 

For more information on Dr. Tompkins protocols, visit or call 484-821-0818.

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