Saturday, October 25, 2014

Wednesday, June 04, 2008 kay, Community Member, asks

Q: I want to know if neurofeedback at the Drake institute is a scam?

I want to take my daughter off of Adderall, and the Drake Institute offers a possible "cure" for ADHD using neurofeedback. Are they just a (very expensive) scam, preying on the desperate? Is that why insurance will not cover it?

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Answers (14)
Winifred, Community Member
6/ 5/08 10:59am

Hey Kay,


During the 90's, a couple who belonged to my adult ADD support group decided to investigate the potential benefits of neurofeedback. He was in his 60's at the time. He benefited.


His partner, equally impressed with the results, trained as a neurofeedback technician and then joined the clinic.


She briefly provided services here then a contract was secured to provide neurofeedback to children with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) on the other side of the state. Sadly, less than a year after she began this work, she had an accident following a surgery and passed away. Her mother told me that at the funeral, most, if not all, of the parents of the FAS children related how much the neurofeedback training had improved the lives of their children.


I have another friend who tried it 20 years ago with poor results. Many years later it was discovered that he had a brain injury to the frontal lobes, the result of a difficult birth. He did not respond well to the neurofeedback, but he didn't respond well to medication either.


Neurofeedback appears to be helpful to some people with ADHD, but interestingly, it doesn't help everyone. As mentioned in the previous post, a certain number of treatments must be done before it can be determined if continuing with the treatment will be helpful. This is true for children too, not just adults. 


If there is an support group for parents of ADD children or ADD adults in the area of the Drake Institute, you might consider attending a few meetings. Once there, you might have an opportunity to connect with families who have recieved treatment from the Drake Institute and get some feedback. If that's not possible, the group leader might be able to put you in touch with one or more families by phone. 


Winnie, an adult ADD advocate

Lorena, Community Member
5/23/09 1:52am

Hi there, not sure if you have since gone to the Drake.  I did, it didnt help one bit.  $5,000 later I'm still on meds and frankly ADD is not cureable - i've had to manage it and be creative in my methods of learning.  The neurofeedback lessons were not effective.  They did the brain scan and definitely found deficiencies in the frontal cortex area - but nothing they taught was beneficial.  I sincerely tried too.  i was excited that perhaps there would be something that would help me manage my mind and help with concentration and focus, unfortunately i was very dissolutioned.  i stopped short of 4 contract sessions.  They did not repy to my requests for a refund  and i had a devil of time trying to get them to reply.  I had to take them to small claims.   Shame on them!

DrV, Community Member
5/23/12 2:20pm

Dear Lorena,


Your dated post was recently forwarded to me. I regret that you did not get the relief and improvement that you were seeking from the Drake Institute's treatment.  I was never notified by my office of a refund for unused treatment sessions nor any small claims situation. I apologize for any difficulty you had with our office. There were issues with the office management team at Drake that I take full responsibilty for which were corrected in the summer of 2010 and the management team was replaced. In auditing our records of the last 3 years , we have been unable to verify a small claims case. Please let me know if you were taken of.  


Lorena, anything Drake could do clinically today to try to help you, I would provide at no professional fee. We do get very good results with approximately 80% of our patients and I am sorry that our efforts did not improve your life. Sometimes there are correctable factors or treatment modifications that can improve a patient's prognosis. In our ongoing pursuit to advance patient care, we recently acquired new, breakthrough brainmapping analysis and neurofeedback technology, that has transformed our treatment to another level. As many as all 19 regions of the brain can be trained simultaneously to optimize shifting the brain to more normalized functioning in improving specific symptoms. We have had patients achieve breakthroughs now that were not possible for them before.


Please contact us, if you are still having symptoms, and I can try to ascertain if our new technology, FDA registered, has a reasonable chance of helping you. There would be no charge for additional care.


David Velkoff,M.D.,M.A.

Medical Director

Drake Institute

Wishful Thinking, Community Member
8/28/12 6:08pm

I took my 10 year old son to the Drake office in Westlake Village 9 years ago. He has Auditory Processing , ADD, and after years of searching for help, has been diagnosed as "on the spectrum"...high functioning...Drake's treatment did not help at all. They later admitted that the equipment was not calibrated correctly and closed the office a short time later. We were out $5,000. with no recourse. Should've taken them to court but with 4 children and taking my son to therapies just couldn't fight another thing. I do not see any non Drake studies validating their claims. Avoid wasting your time and money and most of all subjecting your child to yet another therapy that doesn't work and makes them feel even more hopeless. 

DrV, Community Member
9/ 8/12 8:01pm
Dear Wishful Thinking,
I hope your son is doing well today. I am sorry that our efforts at Drake did not improve his quality of life and wish you had contacted me years before to see if more could be done.. Without knowing who you are and the specifics of your son's difficulties, it is not possible to comment on why we were not succeesful in trying to help him. This should be done in private confidentiality anyway, not on the Internet,
I do know it is a very rare occurrence for the instrumentation to have a "glitch" and it is resolved that day. The patient would be administered an additional treatment at no charge. After 32 years of helping most patients improve their lives and capabilities without drugs, it is not 100% as is the case of any treatment, medical or psychological.
Eight years ago as our lease ended in Westlake, we relocated the clinic to Northridge in the medical building across from Northridge Hospital because a majority of our patients felt it was more convenient than the Westlake location. We remain there today and in Irvine.
If your son is doing well today, I would appreciate communication from you with that good news. If he is struggling with symptoms and his life's challenges, I would like to discuss with you the possibilities of seeing if advances in our technology (FDA registered) and treatment could make a difference. These advances are also being used today by the military in different bases around the country. We use it for ADHD and Autism Spectrum Disorders. All 19 areas of the brain can be trained simultaneously to optimize brain functioning , targeting 1 symptom at a time. These advances in technology and treatment have enabled us to help patients with complex difficulties that we may not have been able to impact on before.
I would be open to seeing if some parents would make themselves available to speak to you about their children's breakthroughs with these advances in technology and treatment, if you would like.  I only ask that you respect their privacy and confidentiality.
As positively impactful as advances in technology and treatment are, there still is no guarantee that 100% of patients will be helped, though most are. I will be not be content until we can help 100%, however unrealistic that may be. I have given my home number to our most challenging, complex cases that may need additional support from me that at times may make a difference. I would like a chance to see if we could make a difference.for your son with these advances if he is still having difficulties.
Please call me if he still needs more help.
David Velkoff,M.D.,M.A.
Medical Director
ThankfulParents, Community Member
1/ 9/13 10:08am

I took my daughter to Drake Institute 2 years ago, she was struggling in school, home life was difficult, she was unresponsive, uninterested, and her teachers had pretty well given up.


We tried medications for a few months, that started off to show signs of improvement.  We were hopeful, but as days/weeks dragged on the pills seemed to have less and less effectiveness and seemed to be causing there own sets of problems.


My husband and I found Drake Institute online and thought it was to good to be true.  We went and met with the Dr. at Drake who was sincere, caring and I really believe had my daughters interests at heart.   We debated for a bit, as the treatments aren't cheap, but I'm so glad we made the decision to proceed with the sessions, it was worth all the hardships to make it happen.


The changes made at Drake Institute weren't overnight, but every day we started seeing improvements.  A light turned on in my daughter that had been dulled out long ago.  Today my daughter is doing well in school, she is keeping up with her peers, and she is off the medications.  I couldn't be more appreciatiave to the staff at Drake and highly recommend them to any parent who's child needs help.



ReginaCA, Community Member
2/17/13 8:54am

Thanks to Dr. Velkoff and the staff at Drake Institute.  My son has been undergoing therapy for the last few months and it has been a life changing experience.  We've been able to reduce his medication and he's just a much happier and manageable kid these days.

Robert Stephanie, Community Member
6/19/12 9:16pm

Dear Dr. David Velkoff,

I wanted to express our sincere gratitude to you and your wonderful staff at The Drake Institute in Irvine. You and your staff have exceeded all our expectations and the results are astounding to us and all who have been watching James over the many years. Comments are “he is social, alert, funny, engaging, courteous, smart, and loving”, he even won serval awards from school for writing and mathematics. These comments and awards were not the opportunities for James until attending the Drake.


We are so grateful for all your work and the dedication put forth to get James and our family to where we are today.

When we met last year, Robert and I where at a loss in regards to where to go with James’s treatment. James was diagnosed with Autism at the age of 2. Now 11 years old James was under the care of a child psychiatrist. His doctor had prescribed several different medications to try to regulate his severe mood swings and aggressive behavior. James was extremely difficult to manage. He had a very difficult time getting along with his sisters and the few friends he had. He was noncompliant about almost everything he was asked to do. During which time James was also falling behind academically in school. His language and social skills were years behind his age. We had been looking for a solution however all of the programs required we take James off all medication before we would proceed. That was not a option since we had spent years and tens of thousands of dollars getting him to where he was. The Drake Institute was the only program who would work with James the way he was and the results are a gift from God.


Today we are so proud to be able say that James is 100% medication free. No
medication at all. This accomplishment goes beyond words. In contrast, our last
program wanted to keep James medicated permanently and leave him to an institution forever, this was not acceptable. When you look at him today, his eyes are clear and bright. Something I have not seen in a long while. James is focusing hard on his school work and is learning and comprehending the information, even received three awards this year at school for academics.


James is much more able to control his emotions and express how he is feeling. James enjoys spending time with his sister and gets along with them and is doing well with old and new friends.e are so grateful for everyone at the Drake in taking such good care of our family and everything we have accomplished through your program.


Thank you for giving us back our son and family. You and your staff have changed our lives forever.

Sincerely yours,
Robert and Stephanie

resilient, Community Member
10/26/12 9:12pm

I had the same experience. I paid $6000 and it didn't help me a single bit. I called them several times for refunding atleast for unused sessions but each time they clearly declined it. This was very frustrating. Myself, I am a very qualified mental health professional, the director didn't care to meet me single time, leave the expectation of him evaluating me or even checking a single time during my several treatment sessions. This was very upsetting me.

I was thinking that if I get benefit, I will refer my patients/family to him. I would have done so even if I would hv not benefited but had I been treated differently because I understand one treatment does not work for all.


justamom, Community Member
6/ 1/09 4:08pm

My son (8 at the time) went through the Drake program for ADHD a year ago. It helped him dramatically. He is still an impluslive child, but now  he has an ability to focus and engage in tasks that he used to lack copmletely, he also now have selfcontrol  (still in need of improvement)  that was not existant then.


ZaksMom, Community Member
5/27/12 1:49pm

It’s been 8 ½ years since my son Zachary went through the Drake Institute program. He was 12 years old and in the 7th grade. Zak was a very smart young man but the older he got the more he really struggle with school and discipline. Not because he couldn’t do the work but because he could not manage the tasks.  It was very difficult to give Zak instruction and teach him things because he had great difficulty staying on task. When he was younger we just figured he would grow out of it but the older he got the more difficult it was to deal with his inability to understand direction, discipline etc. It often seemed as though he was just being a bad kid, not listening and not taking instruction. Zak was not a hyper child, but we often referred to him as busy. He was antsy and often could not keep his hands to himself and would lose focus all the time. He needed to touch things and people unnecessarily. Loud areas like restaurants were often difficult for him. The mixed noises would really bother him and cause him to misbehave. 


As Zak’s mom I knew he had problems but because Zak was not hyper I really felt as though I could give him the tools to be able to handle these issues.  My husband, who is Zak’s step-dad also noticed Zak’s struggles and felt as though he needed help. We both would spend sleepless nights trying to figure out why we could not get through to him. We heard the advertisements for Drake Institute on the radio and a lot of what they said made sense to what we were dealing with at home. We went to Drake Institute for the free consultation and could not believe how much information they taught related to what we was going on with Zak. 


Zak proceeded to attend the 40 sessions. As a family this became a new normal to fit these appointments into our lives. But we understood the importance of Zak going 3-4 times a week. We changed our lives and schedules around to accomplish the goal. Along the way my husband and I gained tools on how communicate better with him and help him use the tools he was learning. We made sure his little sister, grand-parents, aunts, uncles and teachers all understood the program and what they could do to help Zak as well. We all learned a lot about children with ADD and similar difficulties as well.

Zak proceeded to end middle school much better than he began. He went on to High School with much more confidence and an ability to truly understand how intelligent he was and had the tools to do his best. Below is a list of some things Zak was able to accomplish during his time in High School.

  • GPA average 3.7-4.0
  • Honor Roll - 2005-2008
  • Scored above average on all Standardized Testing
  • Outstanding Student-Citizenship 2005-2008
  • Outstanding Achievement Award in Math 2008
  • Football 2005-2009
  • Varsity Football 2007-2009
  • Scholar/Athlete Award Football-2008 & 2009
  • Debate Team Teasurer-2007-2008
  • Debate Team-President Senior year 2008-2009
  • Forensic League/Superiority Awards for Debate 2008
  • Mind Madness 2nd place 2008
  • Volunteer for the Relay for Life 2005-2008
  • Volunteer for Special Olympics 2008
  • Traveled to Europe in Spring 2008 and 2009 (Munich, Berlin, Prague, Lucerne, London, France) with fellow students on an educational trip.
  • Receive multiple acceptance letters from UC colleges

Zak is a Junior at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He made the Dean’s list his first year of college. He plans to do oversees studies his senior year. He is currently a staffer for the UC Santa Cruz Ski and Snowboard club. He has taken many snowboarding, river rafting and camping trips with the club. He also enjoys many of the inter-mural sports and has been a captain of several teams. He is also in a fraternity.


He is pursuing a degree in business and will then continue on to get his Master’s degree. He would like to combine his love of sports and numbers and work for an athletic team or sporting company as a CFO.


Over the years, often times when we are having a prideful moment, we will talk about what Drake did for Zak. We have shared Zak’s story with people and have seen other success story come out of Drake Institute as well. My nephew also went through the program at age 7. He is doing so well in 4th grade and we have really noticed a difference in his behavior.


I hope Zak’s story will inspire other families to go through the program for their children. Zak had potential to do great things. Drake Institute gave him the tools to accomplish them.



Gayle Johnson
Proud and grateful mom



joegina, Community Member
6/28/12 7:50pm

To future clients of Drake Institute: 

We are parents of two boys who are both being treated here at Drake. Our oldest son, Nathan, is 16 and has Asperger's Syndrome. When we came to Drake we were absolutely desperate for help for him. He had been suspended from school and a friend of his gave us the website information and we had an appointment within two weeks. Nathan struggled not only with social skills but also any kind of change in his routine threw him into a major fit, and often had to leave class because he just couldn't handle the noise and distractions of other people around him. We had him on an I.E.P. since he was in 8th grade to help get him the help he needed and to help his teachers understand him as well. It was a constant battle of worrying about what would happen this week at school and how we were going to deal with it. And because he'd been bullied all his life by peers, by this time his self esteem was almost non-existent and he was a ticking time bomb. 

Our youngest son, Noah, is now 13 and has ADHD and what we now know is Auditory Processing Disorder. Noah had been very impulsive, hyperactive and seemed to always be fighting at school. By the time he got to 7th grade, he began to withdraw from sports, friends, family and even his grades were suffering. We originally came to seek help for Nathan, but when we watched that video we knew we had to get help for Noah also. We were shocked at what we learned from the video. Our boys were on so much medication that it was a hazard to their overall health and what we didn't know about their issues, we learned during that video. Dr. Velkoff definitely described them both as severe with their diagnoses. We started Nathan within the week and Noah two months later. 

What we have seen happen to our boys in nothing short of a miracle! Nathan is able to have conversations with people, is trying new things like foods and clothes and we are having the greatest time getting to know his sense of humor! It's like a cloud has been lifted from him and we have a son we never knew before. He is so proud of himself and feels like a million bucks! That is priceless to us as his parents. He is off of ALL of his meds and just this week was exited out of the I.E.P. program due to the fact the he no longer qualifies for services. No longer qualifies! Can you imagine what that means to him? WOW! 

And Noah is doing just as phenomenal. He only has one more med to get off of and is about to start the Fast For Word program. For the first time in his life he is able to use his brain to think before he does anything and he tells us all the time how good it feels to have control of himself. He'd never been able to do that before, it was always just pure impulse. He is even learning to try new things and enjoy them like learning to play the guitar. Where did that come from? And he's actually very good at it! We can't wait to see how much further he will improve as his treatment goes on, but even with just where he is and Nathan, it's amazing! 

We live 1 1/2 hours from Drake and 3 days a week we drive to and from for our boys. For their betterment, their lives, their futures. Yes, it is a costly commitment and investment, but how could we not do it? We were already spending so much time and money on doctor visits and medications, why not put it into something to actually give them a better life and future? That's our job as parents, right? It's not just the treatment, though. We have to be willing to use the tools and support we get from our facilitator as well. The help and support we get from Elaine is enormously helpful, even when we didn't see anything happening for a long time, she understood and encouraged us that it sometimes takes longer for some patients and boy are we glad we stuck it out! 

Because of what Dr. Velkoff and his staff are doing, Nathan has a great chance of achieving his goal, becoming a Marine. And Noah now has the ability to do whatever he sets his mind to. Obviously we are so pleased and excited at what has happened to our boys since coming to Drake Institute. We believed in something that was different and trusted Dr. Velkoff with our kids and we were right to do so. We encourage all of you to give this a chance, give your child and family a chance at a great future and a great life. Commit to it, the program and the behavior modification and watch what miracles will happen! 

Thank you Dr. Velkoff and thank you for reading our story! 

Joseph and Gina

brian tara, Community Member
7/ 6/12 10:49pm

Dear Friends at the Drake Institute:


We can’t thank you enough for all of the help you have given Trevor.  We have so much to say, it is going to be difficult to fit it into this letter.


We began to notice that something was up with Trevor from infancy.  Sleep was almost impossible for him and, therefore, for us.  He was a really happy kid, but he was always “on.”  He spoke at an early age and is very smart, and his tendency toward manipulation caused great difficulty with other kids.  Trevor was the loudest kid in the bunch and other kids would use that to get him into even more trouble.


We spent incredible amounts of time and money on conventional and alternative therapies, with temporary, little or no relief. Medication ‘took the edge off’ for a short time, but when he developed a tremor from it, our gut feeling that meds were wrong was confirmed.  When he started coming home from third grade in tears from being teased and not being allowed to play in the games, he took his anger out on the family with violent, aggressive and frightening tantrums.  It is hard to believe that we nearly called 911 on our eight year old son…several times.  We were running out of options when we figured either Drake or a resident care school were all that was left. Fortunately for our family, we chose Drake!


From the very first treatment, we began to see improvement in many of his difficult behaviors.  The morning after his first neurofeedback, he woke up saying he slept so well, he had never felt better in his life.  He had not wet the bed that night, and hasn’t since (5 months).  Where it used to take one to three hours for him to get to sleep, he now falls asleep within minutes of going to bed and no longer wakes us up screaming in terror.  The morning routine used to be full of conflict and frustration, but Trevor now takes pride in being the first one ready to go and often voluntarily makes lunches for everyone in the family.  Tantrums used to be several times per week and last two to three hours; they are now rare and short lived.  We even find ourselves asking Trevor to repeat himself because he is talking so quietly we can’t hear him.  Chores that used to be routinely refused, even with great incentives, are now done with only the complaints that we would expect from any kid.


School has also improved for Trevor.  He enjoyed the Fast Forword program and really believes it helped him focus at school.  Classwork often came home with D’s and F’s, he had detentions for talking and not completing work, he was ostracized by his classmates.  He now brings home the A’s and B’s we knew he was capable of, has not had any detentions, and gets upset when he is not at school early enough to play games on the playground before school.  He still is a talker and a wiggler, but is working hard to get that under control.  He still struggles with some relationships that won’t acknowledge his hard work and the changes he is making.


Homework was never fun for him or us, either taking several hours and full of screaming and excuses, or he’d be “done” in minutes with illegible and incorrect work.  Our corrections of work that was sloppy or wrong were, to put it nicely, not well received.  He would do the bare minimum to get by and often “forget” to bring home important items.  Homework is now done rather easily and he takes pride in turning in good work, although he would still rather not have to do it.  He has discovered that reading can actually be fun.


Yesterday, we got a letter from Trevor’s school which prompted that old feeling of dread.  We opened it up and were shocked and pleased to find out that Trevor will be receiving an award for “Character and Integrity” at the “Super Citizen” assembly…I’m getting teary-eyed even as I write this.  We entered into The Drake Institute with what we thought were realistic expectations, but higher hopes.  With Drake’s help, our son has put in a lot of hard work and surpassed all of those hopes and expectations.  Trevor is still by no means an “easy kid,” but between the therapy he has done and the skills we learned, there is finally peace in our home.


We are so pleased with the changes The Drake Institute has facilitated in our son.  Believe it or not, we miss the hour-and-a-half commute each way because of the wonderful staff at the office and the impromptu “group therapy” in the waiting room.


Thank you,

Dr. Brian & Tara


LuisMirna, Community Member
8/ 4/12 6:54pm

Dear Dr. Velkoff:


I am writing you because we feel the need to express to you our gratitude for all you have done for my daughter Ashley’s well being.


I remember seven months ago, I heard about your center and Neurofeedback treatment for children with ADHD through a local radio station.  I felt like it was God’s response to our prayers.


So my husband and I, as many parents do, went to your Center desperate looking for some kind of help and hope.  It has been since then, seven long months of sacrifices for our family.  But now we can see the wonderful results.


The treatment has come to an end, and we are so thankful to you for helping Ashley.  You and your team at the Irvine Center have been to us “angels” from heaven.  Your kindness, patience and great knowledge have made a big difference in our life.


Ashley is doing so well.  She is behaving much better, thinking and communicating more with us, getting along with her sister, and others.  She’s taking more responsibility for her actions, and she is setting up her goals to concentrate more in school.  Overall she is happier, and understands better her condition, which is helping her to cooperate more and deal with it.  Our family is now more content because of that.


My husband and I would like to let you know that if we can ever be of any help to your purpose of improving other’s lives through your program; you can always count on us.  So far, we already have shared our experience with others in need of this information, hoping they get the same results we have accomplished through your Center.


May God continue guiding you to change the lives of many families and provide you with the resources needed to accomplish such humanitarian work.


God bless you and everyone else at the Drake Institute!



Mirna E.


nelsong, Community Member
6/ 4/08 11:57pm


I can give you a good objective answer, but it won't be too brief. I live very near Drake but did a lot of on line  and phone research of many opportunities before I decided to go to Drake (There are a lot of opportunities to be found as well as devices that you work at home with under the direction of a medical person as well as a Dr Amen and another clinic in Lake Forest). I am an adult so Drake would only do 15 initial sessions "to see if I could respond" to their treatments. I did and at the same time resolved the goal of this whole thing is to separate mental (thought) and physiological stresses and anxieties through the process of relaxation and focus. Soon after, I further resolved that the pace of improvement they set would be extremely expensive so I cancelled my last month's appointments. Also, after about twenty sessions I was not able to reduce the huge amount of medications, which is the original reason for my starting.

I met with them and stated that I was not getting much 'bang for my buck' and would not continue. The result is I will have to take them to small claims court to get my unused deposit returned.

Are they a scam; not an apparent one. The field of neurofeedback is relatively young and not approved by the FDA(?). In retrospect I think that the field is too new and holding field trials with control groups would be very expensive --and what person would want to invest the time and be getting a placebo. These are at least some of the reasons insurance won't cover it.

My biggest disappointments are slow speed of improvement and inability to reduce the medications I am taking.

PS: I have all their relaxation exercises as well as Tai Chi exercise DVD to use if I could just slow down and focus enough to use them.





DrV, Community Member
5/23/12 2:14pm

Dear Nelsong,


My staff has recently brought your dated post to my attention. I do not know who you are but you seem to be a genuine patient who didn't get the improvement you were hoping for. Without knowing who you are and reviewing your file, I cannot comment on why the treatment was not more helpful for you, but it does take at least 30 plus treatments. Even more sometimes if significant dosages of medications are involved. Seeing the treatment through to the end is essential as patients vary in their rate of improvements. We recently were able to help an Autistic child improve to a level whereby he was able to get off of all 8 medications. It took over 100 treatments, but his life has been rescued.


We do help approximately 80% of our patients and always regret when someone's life is not improved. Though no treatment works 100% of the time for every patient, sometimes there can be correctable factors and treatment modifications that can increase an individual's prognosis.


If there were unused treatment sessions, please let me know if you were taken care of.


In our ongoing pursuit to continually advance patient care, we recently were able to acquire breakthrough brainmap guided neurofeedback technology, FDA registered, that enables a patient to do neurofeedback on as many as all 19 areas of the brain simultaneously to strengthen brain functioning . We have patients today who make extraordinary improvement with this new technology that would not have had this level of improvement before. The military is now using it to treat victims of Traumatic Brain Injury and Post Traumatic Stess Disorder.


If things are not going well for you today, you are welcome to contact me to discuss your case to see if I feel we could further help you with the new technology. You would not be charged for additional care.


David Velkoff,M.D.

Medical Director

Drake Institute

Amin's Parents, Community Member
9/28/12 9:54pm

Amin has been a patient in this professional treatment for Autism and other disorders the likes of Asperger and ADHD and other focusing disorders for almost three years. The experience has been rewarding, enriching and above all deeply inspiring.


Amin, our son was prognosed as having autistic and ADHD disorders. He was different from his siblings and behaved differently from all conforming behaviors. As parents we were devastated and pained and felt for Amin beyond description. We looked every where for help to no avail. Finally we stumbled on Drake Institute headed by the great Dr. David Velkoff. Reading about the institute seemed to attract out attention and so we decided to call the clinic in Irvine.

After demonstrating via videos the effectiveness of the treatment to autism, we felt comfortable to join in and we decided to do so.

We have been coming to visit with this group of professionals for almost three years. Amin has changed from a raging angry person almost uncontrollable to a calm, communicable loving person. The professional staff, Maria , Andy, Monique and the front desk ladies seemed to take to Amin and Amin took to them. Amin seemed to connect with them very well and his discourse and socializing became more acceptable. We at home have been living a better serene life. Amin’s different charm and nice personality has been overwhelming and more positive than before.

We would like to extend our thanks and heartily felt appreciation for the institute and its staff for a well done job. We recommend highly for all parents who have children with Autism and other disorders that demand focusing better in daily life to give Drake institute a try. Thanks again everyone who worked hard to make this institute an asset to help in those particular disorders.

Amin's parents

Erin, Community Member
10/ 4/12 6:06pm

My daughter, is 8 years old. She has a combination of ADHD and Trichotillomania, a form of OCD, where she pulls out her eyelashes and eyebrows. Our family suffered for 7 years, not knowing how to help her. In Montessori school, she could not slow down enough to work in groups without bothering others.

In first and second grade, she pulled out her hair and started scraping her feet. At the beginning of third grade, she was so impulsive, she was almost hit by a police car once when she darted across the street, and another time jumped out of my car window when I was at a stop sign. We had never had a sit down family dinner. We would not take her to a restaurant. And, it was very difficult getting her ready for school or any function.


Before Drake, she had been on medications for ADHD and Trichotillomania. Some symptoms would get better and some would get worse. There were always side effects. The one time I felt like both were getting better, she was so drugged she couldn’t even play. As her mother, I was in agony. I wanted to help her so much but didn’t know what else to do but to keep bringing her back to the psychiatrist, who always wanted to give her more medication.


I had finally had enough. Over two years of medicating my daughter, five different medications tried, and she was behind in school, impulsive, anxious, getting stomach aches, not sleeping, and still pulling out her hair and scraping her feet. That’s when I went on line to look for other solutions and found Drake. I filled out a questionnaire, and Dr. Velkoff called me within minutes. He explained to me what was going on in her brain and how he could help. I met with him that week and my daughter started treatments. We noticed a change after a few visits, and continued to attend all of her sessions. Dr. Velkoff continued to meet with us as we lowered her medications. She is no longer on any medication for ADHD, and shows no signs of impulsivity. She is still energetic but directs it in positive ways . She sleeps better and we have family dinners. We take her to restaurants, and parents say she can come and play anytime. We are a completely different family than we were before we started treatments at Drake. I am so grateful to Dr. Velkoff and the staff that helped our family get to this point. Drake gave
my daughter the opportunity to succeed in life.





Vanessa, Community Member
9/28/12 4:08am

Before I even knew I had ADHD my peers in school never accepted me. It made me upset and discouraged because I was raised to be kind and considerate of others. I would ask my mom through a flood of tears, “What’s wrong with me?” “Why am I so different from the other kids?” What made me so remarkably different is that I was an actively busy child, forgetful but always optimistic. My entire academic life has been a frustrating struggle especially with retaining numbers. I always prayed that one day my brain would miraculously recall information.


Well before my treatment I felt I couldn’t be accomplished in anything except club volleyball.  It wasn’t until my junior year of high school I was diagnosed with ADHD. I used no medication but a natural alternative; The Drake Institute of Behavioral Medicine, in Irvine California. At the Drake Institute, they used biofeedback and other exercises combined in the proper order improved my visual tracking, visual and auditory processing speed, working memory, and listening comprehension.  I also noticed, the further I advanced in my treatment I sustained focus for longer periods of time. Deeper in my improvement, tasks that where asked of me where done with less hesitation.  This treatment gave me hope, which in turn became my will power to succeed. When I learned that my working short-term memory was at its ‘peak’ at 28%, that was the day that I finally understood myself and had many questions answered. I stopped criticizing and refused to see myself as a failure ever again.


What makes The Drake Institute so unique is that they exercise the brainwaves in ways it’s not accustomed to. The brain will start to adapt through learning processes such as, captains log and fast forward programming. They placed electrodes on the surface areas of my scalp, which allowed me to control brainwave ‘games’ on the computer. Feedback was instantaneous and memory improvement was weekly. Unexpectedly, a few months into being under construction, I saw a big change in my life.


First thing I noticed was my consistent low GPA had blossomed to a new estimate. What seemed surreal was the fact that I was retaining information. As treatment continued I was able to recall what I learned easier. With cheerleading, I was able to fluently keep up with counts and movements, which had been a flustering task before.  There was also a dramatic improvement on my impulsiveness, and temperament. I was more cautious on how I responded in situations and practiced self-control. This was the first time in my life I was truly proud of myself. I wasn’t ashamed of my problem or of me anymore.

Along with my new and improved grades I grew a fruitful tree of confidence inside. This new beaming light lead me to the glamorous world of pageants. I am currently a finalist in the 2012 Miss Covina Scholarship Pageant. It is a wonderful experience. I have met many girls who have a positive view towards community service and success. Never in my life would I have thought that my learning disability would be an open door leading to opportunity.


Once I understood what was holding me back I broke through those chains by loving and accepting how I was made. Quitting is never an option. I feel now that I need to bring awareness to what ADD/ADHD really is and how it affects people. Even though it is a disability, with the proper diagnoses and care it doesn’t have to limit my future. I have learned through all of this, no one is perfect, we are all variables blessed with unique gifts. The ADDed Charm really isn’t a curse, it can be something beautiful if embraced.  


I appreciate all of the encouragement, support and love I received from everyone on staff at the Drake Institute. Maria was always so positive and interested in the things I participated in. I am very grateful they were able to help me find the way to learn so that I could reach my potential. I had only dreamed of ever pursuing a degree in higher education let alone ever being awarded a scholarship for college.  With my newfound confidence and ever-positive work ethic, I now can look forward to my bright future.



Velkoff's Victim, Community Member
7/31/09 9:27pm

In my opinion the Drake Institute is a scam. My son was suppose to start a program at the clinic in Vista and just when the program started, they closed the Vista clinic.


I have been trying to get my money back since they were unable to deliver the program that we paid for at the Vista clinic, but NO ONE will call me back. I just keep getting promises that someone will call me back and even Dr. Velkoff fails to return my calls. I have been calling for 7 weeks now.


Please do not make the same mistake that I made, DO NOT trust these people!


I am seeking legal advice on how I should proceed to get a refund.


Parents who have been scammed by Drake should get together and file legal action!


How sad that Drake takes advantage of Parents who just want the best for their child. These are the Parents who have struggled for years to try and help their child only to get scammed by Drake. This is like pouring salt into a wound!

Velkoff's Victim, Community Member
8/ 3/09 1:03am

Here is an update regarding my comments about the Drake Institute not returning my phone calls after I requested a refund. The day after I entered the email on this website, I received a call from the Drake Institute promising once again that I will receive a refund within the next few days. Let's see what happens!  I will keep you updated on my progress.

Velkoff's Victim, Community Member
9/24/09 11:16pm

I am please to say that I finally received a refund from the Drake Institute as promised. It is to bad that I had to go through so much grief to get my refund.

I am no longer a Drake victim!


InsightOnDrake, Community Member
10/ 9/09 5:06pm

Regarding the Drake Institute:


I have had the privilege of obtaining a very in-depth understanding to the operations of the drake institute. I would like to express my personal view on this matter.


I cannot attest to the validity of their treatment I would however like to point out the following:


After months of working with this company I soon realized that the program they offer is not a diamond in the ruff, it is my personal opinion that your children can benefit greatly through treatment at a different clinic. Although they have a developed program, the cost of such programs are enormous in comparison to other clinics in the immediate area that offer a more personalized treatment. Many of the operations I bared witness to were unethical and unjust using promotions to obtain bizarre payment methods such as cash.


I have seen a very close personal friend of mine undertake the treatment with outstanding results, changes that would have taken years to adopt. I am very optimistic about the program, but must emphasize that a company is as good as the people managing it and after my experience I would never recommend this treatment through the Drake Institute as the people running it only want one thing "money" at all costs.


A clinic should at all times be about the patients, and not the profits; issues that any company has should never be taken out on the clients as I have seen time and time again with Drake.


I would like to express that I too have Aspergers and ADHD, and would like to relay a message to many parents that do not fully grasp the benefits of being Aspergers and ADHD. The Drake Institute will repeatedly tell their patients that they need the treatment as if this was a malfunction. I would like to point out through my personal experience that Aspergers and ADHD has only worked as a blessing for me. It has given me an edge in the work place allowing me to understand complex situations, most would have never seen through my point of view. It has also assisted in my high IQ of 161 and my immense liking to science subjects and business finance as a result, this liking has sky rocketed me into becoming an Executive Director of a financial firm structuring multi-million dollar transactions all of this came from my parent just taking the time to recognize my strengths. I understand how Aspergers and ADHD effects lives very well as all of my 4 siblings have it as well. I strongly encourage all parents that have children with this blessing of Aspergers and ADHD to find the subject that your child thrives in and support them as much as you can for you will find that these kids are child prodigies if presented with the right opportunity.


To conclude I do recommend biofeedback and neurofeedback as treatment to assist children with Aspergers and ADHD weaknesses such as sociability, keeping on task, and self-confidence boosting, but I DO NOT RECOMMEND THIS TREATMENT THROUGH THE DRAKE INSTITUTE OF BEHAVIORAL MEDICINE.


PS I have read other posts referencing that Drake is horrible with refunds, I also personally understand the frustration as I too am owed thousands in arrearages from drake, my firm has waited now 6 months for payment and damages payment nothing has come of it.


Thank you for reviewing this post as I hope it will not cause any legal consequences for me I will keep you posted as to the outcome of this honesty and freedom of speech on this forum.

Greg T., Community Member
10/21/09 2:00am

Who are Drake Institute competitors that you recommend in Los Angeles or San Fernando Valley?

shaaaronz, Community Member
2/28/10 5:56pm
Bud, Community Member
2/ 5/12 9:18pm


Can you tell me what does this cost at

win, Community Member
3/16/11 3:23pm

I hope this reaches you. I would like to ask some questions and will try to make it as brief as possiable. My 8 yr old nephew is recently come to stay with me for a while. He has ADHD and has a severe case. He is behind in school and has already been held back a year. He does much better with me I feel maybe because the structure is more at our house. I can not find anything he is interested in. Everytime he does well at something he doesnt want to stick with it. I am open to any suggestions.



DrV, Community Member
5/25/12 5:30pm

Dear InsightOnDrake,


I am glad for you that you were blessed with a combination of a wonderful parent, a gifted IQ as well as other personal strengths and abilities that have enabled you to create a fulfilling life. Many children, however, who come to us with the symptoms that make up the diagnosis of Aspergers are in deep social pain and cut off from having meaningful relationships. Sadly, they are vulnerable to being ostracized and sometimes bullied no matter how loving their parents are.


Children with ADHD frequently come to us with damaged self esteem because of their academic struggles and unfairly comparing themselves to their peers. We have many parents of our patients who are exceptionally loving and nurturing of their children, but it still cannot fully protect them from the increased vulnerabilities their children have because of ADHD and not meeting behavioral or academic expectations.


We have an extraordinary treatment with the most advanced neurofeedback technology in the world. However, without the support and insight that my clinical staff provides parents, the neurofeedback treatment would not help these children/adolescents develop to the same degree.


I do not know who you are, but agree that Drake Institue was being mismanaged that was personally painful to me. Fortunately, it did not interfere with our clinical services. I take full responsibility for the management problems and by the summer of 2010, I was able to correct the management issues and have replaced the management team. If you are owed any debt that was missed, please go through the normal channels of contacting our accounting department.


Again, I am pleased for you that your life has worked out so well.


David Velkoff,M.D.

Medical Director

Drake Institute

Stefoosh, Community Member
7/11/12 3:33pm


My name is Stephanie and I recently found out my son has Aspergers through his school. He is 9 years old and I am at a loss as to try to find a "cure" or as you put it see it as a blessing. There are so many of his traits that are so amazing and I am in awe of. I would really love if you would be so kind as to talk to me privately so I can make sure I head in the right direction with my son from this point forward. My email address is

Thank you,


happy mom, Community Member
9/ 7/12 4:28pm
Stephanie, we did Drake and loved it. I would be more than happy to discuss our experience if and when you would like to. Good luck and many blessings. Reply
sndrtst, Community Member
3/23/10 8:40pm
It didn’t work for me -very expensive--I think it's as close to a scam as you can get--he promised an over 95% success rate-WAAYYY over promising results/selling this---the relaxation bio-feedback helps you be aware that you are tense-but the actual treatment to retrain your brain was pure crap---I only wish I could have gotten a refund---suspicious during my treatment i asked several administers of the treatments what they thought of this and they seemed positive but with ambivalence towards my non-success.  I went back on adderal then after sometime when it didn’t help at all I moved on and have since decided to go off is more challenging without meds but when I get sleep and am interested in what I’m doing I’m ok I reckon---- Reply
DrV, Community Member
5/24/12 1:46pm

Dear Sndrtst,

My clinic recently sent me your dated post. I am sorry that you did not experience the improvement you were seeing. Unfortunately, you misunderstood what our expected clinical success rates are and what was communicated. We are very open and proud of our approximately 80% significant improvement rate. We go out of our way to communicate this to all new patients, including stating it in the informed consent with each patient before beginning care.

Without knowing who you are and examining your file, I cannot comment on why it didn't work for you. Your comment of "the actual treatment to retrain your brain was pure crap" was made I assume out of your frustration and disappointment. Majority of our patients are significantly helped and their lives are deeply improved. Not everyone gets off medication but many do, and most of those patients that may not be able to eliminate medication completely still achieve an improved level of functioning. 

There is overwhelming peer review scientific studies on the effectiveness of EEG biofeedback (neurofeedback) for ADHD. You can easily do an online search with the National Library of Medicine by going to PUBMED and search for EEG biofeedback for ADHD. It has been classified as "an evidence based treatment" which is the gold standard in Medicine.

Aside from all of this, my concern is you came to us to be helped and felt that your life did not improve from our efforts and your participation. If you are still experiencing difficulty, I would like you to call me to discuss the possibility of helping you with our newest technology. We would not charge you. If I feel there is a possibility that you may be able to benefit from the newest brain map guided neurofeeback, FDA registered, that we recently acquired, then I would give you additional care at no fee, This new technology is an extraordinary breakthrough, leading edge in the world, that enables the patient to train and strengthen multiple functional connections in the brain simultaneously. As many as 19 regions of the brain can be treated/trained simultaneously. We have had patients of all ages make exceptional improvements utilizing our new technology that were not possible for them before. The US military is now utilizing this technology in treating veterans with Traumatic Brain Injury and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Please recontact us if you are still in need of care.

David Velkoff,M.D.
Medical Director
Drake Institute


PS. I need to address your comments on a personal level. I am a second generation physician with an MD and a Masters degree in psychology. This year The Drake Institute is 32 years old and has seen and treated upwards of 12000 individual patients. There has been much sacrifice and care and concern and commitment to maintain the Institutes reason for being here, to help patients. The word scam was never more inappropriate, not just to us but to our patients and their families who have helped contribute to our clinical success and, without the use of drug therapy, a short term only solution. It would be appreciated if this type of unkind and insulting and uncivil language, which couldn’t be any further from the truth, be eliminated. Thank you, Dr. David Velkoff 

DrV, Community Member
5/24/12 5:45pm
Dear Patient,
In carefully auditing our records of the last 3 years ,we have been unable to verify if this occurred. Please contact us with your name and the patient's name so we can be sure you were taken care of. We were disappointed that we had to relocate the Vista clinic to our main center in Irvine and tried to give families at least a month's notice, and stopped accepting new patients to be treated at the Vista location. I am very sorry for any difficulty you had with our office and the inconvenience. There were issues with the management team at Drake that I take full responsibilty for which were corrected in August of 2010 and the management team was replaced.
I hope your family member is doing well today.
David Velkoff, M.D.,M.A.
Medical Director
Drake Institute

PS. I need to address your comments on a personal level. I am a second generation physician with an MD and a Masters degree in psychology. This year The Drake Institute is 32 years old and has seen and treated upwards of 12000 individual patients. There has been much sacrifice and care and concern and commitment to maintain the Institutes reason for being here, to help patients. The word scam was never more inappropriate, not just to us but to our patients and their families who have helped contribute to our clinical success and, without the use of drug therapy, a short term only solution. It would be appreciated if this type of unkind and insulting and uncivil language, which couldn’t be any further from the truth, be eliminated.
Thank you,
Dr. David Velkoff
Will, Community Member
11/14/09 11:26pm

I'm in the process of starting home use of a unit for neurofeedback (NeuroMatrix).  I'm actually researching it right now to find out info about it because we didn't have any documentation on how to use it at home.  It seems pretty straight forward to use from the description.  Some of the keywords I found while reading tonight are shown below.  It sounds like Brainwave Entertainment is the most important concept behind the treatment.  I went to school for electrical engineering and it sounds like Faradays law, like mutual inducance for a transformer.  The part I'm not clear about is how specific networks of the brain are targeted.  But it seems that if they can target certain areas of the brain, then they can send electrical impulses through areas that are not functioning correctly and open the pathway up so it works.  My wife teaches music and one of her students has gone through the process with Dr Sams in Dallas.  The parents and my wife have told me that the results were pretty impressive.  I went in for an evaluation to analyze my brain functioning.  I did really well on the tests they administered, but there were some areas that were isolated that weren't functioning correctly which showed up on the brain scans.  The doctor asked me if I had ever had any traumatic injuries which I have, and it turned out that the area where I was hurt was one of the trouble spots.  There were areas where the signal frequencies and levels were abberant, and other areas which were not communicating properly with other areas of the brain. 

I've checked out my doctors credentials and they are pretty impressive.  The neurofeedback sounds to simple to be able to solve such complex problems with the brain.  But just because it's simple doesn't mean it doesn't work.  I should add that I take adderral, and it's become more of a detriment than helpful.  The medication is really hard on my system, and the generic adderall cause mood swings, particularly agressive behavior.  I've switched to the XR and have had better results but I have to honestly say that I can't function without it and I don't want to take it anymore.  I started taking this prior to my wife and myself becoming more educated about naturopathic medicine, organic food, etc.  So, know the goal is to get rid of the adderal. 

I've found from my own personal experience that doctors most frequently are not healers.  They band-aid the problem with prescription drups which helps big pharma dig in deaper.  A side note, but the same train of thought... I hurt my hand in college and had to quit playing music because of the pain which was devastating.  I've been playing since I was 5 years old and have seriously studied piano, classical guitar, and violin until my injury.  For 12 years I couldn't play music and every doctor I went to said I had tendonitis.  I went to a chiropractor because of a back injury working out.  He ask me if I had any other pain that needed work on, and I told him my hand.  He identified the problem quickly... it was scar tissue on the nerve of my middle finger that was causing referred pain on the top knuckle of my index finger.  He broke up the scar tissue, and the pain was completely gone.  I can't explain to you the feeling of being able to play again.  My chiropractor said I had my bliss back and he was right.  Sorry to go off on a tangent, but the point is is that there are many folks involved in other ways of treating our health issues, and they are the true healers.  You need to get away from the adderall and any other heavyweight medications.  So many of them are addictive and are just a trap.  And also, you may want to check out stuff related to your diet such as excitotoxins, which I believe MSG is defined as.  It causes brain cells to fire without reason which can lead to the brain cell(s) dying.  There is an article by Dr Russell Blaylock call Excitotoxins - The Taste That Kill if you would like to read about it that's pretty good.  I wish you the best of luck, and I'll provide feedback if you like about how my treatment goes.   Dr Sams in Dallas invented the NeuroMatrix and I think he's made a tremendous contribution with the work he's done from what I've read...


Best wishes



Brainwave Entertainment



EEG Topography



Michelle, Community Member
4/ 6/10 4:39pm

I took my son to Drake when he was 11 years old.  He was having difficulty in school to a point where he couldn't do any homework at all by himself.  He also was having trouble socially with all the boys in his small private school.  After he had treatment everything changed.  He could sit and complete big reports on his own and kept up with his daily school assignments.  I need to add that he was completely resisitant to the whole treatment.  He said he was faking it during the treatments, but it helped him regardless.  His social skills also improved.  He is now a well adjusted 15 year old.  We are very happy!

Drake Institute, Community Member
7/27/10 2:06pm

Drake Speaks


In four of five patients, Drake significantly reduces or eliminates symptoms. However, one patient in five changes slightly or not at all. At Drake, we are always searching to improve results which are very substantial for 80% of our patients but no doubt disappointing for the one in five. Sometimes the unsuccessful patients blame themselves; sometimes they blame us; and we wish they would not blame anyone. We have treated well over 11,000 patients in 30 years and that means over 9,000 patients moved forward with their improved lives,  with appproximately 2000  having had limited to no results. We, at Drake,  regret that a small few of the patients with limited or no results are presenting (in blogs) a distorted picture of the overall results which, by all medical standards, are excellent.


Our concern is that this small number may be blocking any of the four of five we can help. We want those who can be helped to join the group that have had their lives significantly improved, like the 9000 we've help. That is the reason this practice is here.  We regret the one in five, however, Drake and medicine as a science is not perfect.


At Drake we are the best at what we do and after 30 plus years, we want to help all of you that we can.

Sue Miller, Community Member
9/ 4/10 9:56am

I just wrote a long answer and it disappeared.  The short answer is YES!

Sue Miller, Community Member
9/ 4/10 10:00am

I just wrote a long answer and it disappeared.  The short answer is YES!

Bob Goldman, Community Member
10/28/11 10:21am

Neurofeedback ? It sure helped me.

ADD and me strugled through elementry school with two popular medications. High school was a little better in my seinor year. In college I was offered meds and briefly tried them again. This brought me back to mood swings and consentration and focus ups and downs. So I did not revisit this cycle. I pressed forward with out meds.

Much later and to my suprise after my first LENS ( Low Energy Neurofeedback System ) treatment things really got better like a mirical ....for me. All of a sudden the teacher was able to teach the class......but it was ME processing better. I was not so prone to impulsive moments,. Listing was improved...... I really wish this stuff was avaiable when I was eight or younger.

 If you look around you read about the Othmers. How they discovered Neurofeedback for their son. Then dedicated their lives to this neuroscience.

 Maybe if it is not working for you you are not doing it right or are not able to make the commitment necessary for success. Remember there is always the family support system to concider, diet, and maybe a change in life style.

 Neurofeedback is not a scam.

Drake Sales Pitch, Community Member
12/ 6/11 12:53pm

We recently went there for an introductory meeting to the Institute.  This has to be a scam, there were so many things wrong. The whole thing was one big sales pitch from beginning to end. First they put you in a room and have you watch an hour long infomercial about the Drake program. You get excited because you want to believe. They boast a 3 out of 4 or 8 out of 10 success rate. The video has success stories but not one is after 1995 and there are no follow up stories. They talk about "curing" a kid who had NEVER spoken to his father in a matter of 7 sessions but they show no footage of this person. After the video you are pumped up and the Doctor comes in to go over your situation. He basically regurgitates the exact same information you spent an hour watching. He asked questions about our daughter but didn't seem to really listen to our answers, like he was going through a set of questions in his mind predetermined to lead us down a path.  I asked several times when explaining behavior of our child "I'm not sure if some of this is common behavior for an 8 year old and if some is from a greater issue?".  Not once did he confirm or even respond to this, any conscious doctor would have given SOME feedback.  Our daughter has very slight signs of ADD and was tested at our school.  He repeatedly tried to discredit our school system and their testing while reading their report.  My wife and I were heavily involved in the school process and we had 5 different people from the district in their analysis, this was not some bogus report and we felt our school took this very seriously. Then he brought in two women that run this clinic to go over the next steps.  They put us in this TINY room where we couldn't move and we soon realized these women were the "closers".  If you have ever been involved in a high pressure sales situation where they don't want you to leave, you know what I'm talking about.  It was like we were suddenly at a meeting for a timeshare or at a pushy car dealership. It suddenly became all about the money and getting us to sign on the dotted line before leaving that room. Every time we told them we wanted to think it over they had a reason why we should do it now, or hand us a different form to fill out.  They wanted $6,000 with no payment plan, insurance credit, or even meeting our child. Once you pay, they have you. Fortunately we left without signing anything, then I did a search and found a lot of people who have had bad luck here. The Drake is the worst kind of scam, people who are desperate and struggling, people who want to believe there is help, people who will do anything to help their child, and this "Institute" picks their pocket in their time of need.  I could get a year or more worth of private assistance for my daughter at a real learning institute with that $6000. If these people could actually "cure" autism and ADD/ADHD they would own an entire city block and be world renowned. Not only do they claim to cure these things, they say it can be done in a few months, you just need to sign the papers and pay up front in full. Three labels come to mind...Charlatan, Quack, Snake Oil Salesman.

littlemama, Community Member
5/28/12 7:37pm

Thank you for this descriptive answer. After hearing about the Drake Institute repeatedly on Dr. Laura, I called to get more information. I was impressed at first that the medical director himself called to get more information about my child, but as I spoke to him, I began to feel that he had a distinct bias against seeing the benefits of having ADD. He also kept calling me "dear" and "honey", which I find extremely annoying. When we began to set up the appointment for the initial consultation, he told me the two times available. Because I am married to a physician and I  have two children, i make more than my fair share of appointments and when I selected my preferred time I mispoke out of habit and added, "if that time is available". He immediately responded with, "If it weren't available, I wouldn't be offering it." I realize I have the occassional mental burp, as most of us do, but I found his response rude and his basic manner arrogant. Still, out of an earnest desire to help my child, I scheduled the appointment. Fortunately, fate intervened, and my husband who never gets sick started vomiting on the designated day. I'm glad to have read these reviews. 

PatientRelations, Community Member
11/19/12 9:29am
Dear Sales Pitch,
I do not know who you are, but we certainly had a mis-connection in trying to help you.
Your condemning and harsh, distorted viewpoint of the Drake Institute based on a limited contact and data is harmful, and should be identified for what it is.  A false impression of who we are, couldn't be further from the truth, and may have prevented patients in need of this care from receiving the help they needed.
We do not cure Autism nor ADHD, nor ever state that.  We help patients maximize their capacity for improving neurophysiologic functioning targeting their specific deficits.  We have patients with severe disorders who may only improve 30% but it can be life changing for that child and family. We have other patients who are able to reduce or eliminate medications with reduced or no symptoms. It is still not called a cure for some of these remarkable outcomes.
There have always been payment plans, and there would never be a treatment program payment required before a child is evaluated and determined that the child was treatable and the family dynamics were stable. Sadly, very recently, we had to turn away 2 families for treatment because we felt the family dynamics would not support a successful treatment outcome for the child.
Furthermore, we provide a limited number of scholarships with reduced fees to families with financial hardships. It wasn't easy for us, but we are gratified when we can do it. There have been patients who required additional care but didn't have the funds, and were always provided the additional care at Drake's expense. It was our priviledge to do that.
We have helped over 12,000 patients in 33 years, many of them who were not helped previously by other therapies or treatments.   Many physicians and other professionals in the health care specialties have brought their family members to us for help over these decades whereby we have been able to make such a diffrence in the patient's and family's lives. If what you stated was true, we would not have been able to help patients over 3 plus decades.
We do hope that you were able to obtain the help for your child that you were seeking.
Patient Relations
Drake Institute
patricia, Community Member
5/18/12 1:09am

I took my son to the Drake Institute for his ADHD in westlake 7or 8 years ago.

It did not work.  we tried for almost three years.  I spent thousands of dollars.

I don't know if neurofeedback works for everybody.

DrV, Community Member
5/27/12 9:41pm
Dear Patricia,
This was forwarded to me by our Patient Coordinator at the Drake Institute.  I do not know who your family member was that we treated 7 years ago at Drake, but am sorry that you did not obtain the improvements you were seeking from our treatment program. The average treatment program is 3 to 4 months duration unless you come from out of town whereby it is then 1 to 2 months. I agree with you that the treatment is not inexpensive in the short run, but can be highly cost effective in the middle and long runs compared to other treatments. Neurofeedback is the most direct treatment available in improving a neurophysiologic disorder such as ADHD.
Our treatment program utilizing brainmap guided neurofeedback significantly helps approximately 80% of our patients. I have doctor colleagues around the country who experience similar improvements in their patients.
Sometimes there are correctable factors or treatment modifications that may improve a patient's prognosis.You are welcome to contact me and I would be pleased to discuss your case and try to understand why your family member was not benefited. There would be no professional fees or charges if I felt there may be a reasonable possibility that additional treatment could help with our new technology.
In our continuous efforts to advance patient care, we recently acquired breakthrough brain map analysis and neurofeedback technology that is so far advanced beyond anything ever available previously to help our patients. As many as all 19 areas of the brain can now be trained simultaneously to optimize brain functioning in targeting specific symptoms. We have had some patients acheive life improving breakthroughs through usage with the new technology that were not possible for them before.
If there is a possibilty today that we can help your family member from 7 years ago, there would be no charge for additional care and treatment probably would not take more than 2 to 4 months.
David Velkoff,M.D.,M.A.
Medical Director
Drake Institute
Youngftr620, Community Member
5/19/12 3:18pm

Drakes Program takes YEARS to work, if it works at all.  Don't bother, better options out there that are more affordable.

happy mom, Community Member
9/ 7/12 4:24pm
The Drake Institute is amazing! I don't normally participate in these types of forums but I felt compelled to respond after I saw these negative posts. I have a 10 year old son who is on the autistic spectrum and also suffers from ADHD. He was having a terrible time at school because he couldn't focus, was constantly falling out of his chair, speaking out of turn and was doing odd things like constantly wringing his hands, chirping, yelping, and often humming or singing to himself. These inappropriate behaviors and inability to concentrate were affecting his grades but also his social life at school. 4th grade was unbearable. He started getting bullied and started talking about "wanting to die." I stayed up until 4 am in the morning one night determined to get him help. No one had been able to help us in the past because my ex husband and I could not agree that there was something different about him that needed help. We took him to Drake, which I found out about on the Internet, and our lives have improved a million fold. Yes, I have to admit, the marketing of the program is a bit offputting and does feel like a strong sales pitch; however, the results have been miraculous to be honest. We started a 42 treatment program and I have to admit by the 20th session or so, I was getting frustrated because I was not seeing any significant improvement on the outside, at least not several thousand dollars worth. However, they kept telling me to hang on because the treatments are cumulative and will bear fruit over we hung in there and did the treatment protocol JUST AS THEY TOLD US TO. We tried not to miss sessions and we stuck to the program. Before we saw any outward changes, I asked my son if he thought his sessions were helping and i was honstly startled when he said "yes, Mommy, I feel different inside." When I asked him how, he said his "bad brain had gone away" and he didn't feel so "busy" inside. A few weeks after that, the changes started and they were dramatic. No more uncontrollable chirping or yelping, no more falling out of chairs, no more constant reminders needed, no more meltdowns if we had a spontaneous change to the routine, no more obsessing over small things liked stains on his clothing and best of all, total concentration in class! The changes are too many to itemize. Best of all, his grades improved. He went from Cs, Ds and Fs to As and Bs almost overnight. He had zero friends in his class because of his behaviors, and by the end of the year, we received an invitation to a classmate's birthday party! This was important because his self esteem was rock bottom and I was afraid he might one day hurt himself. The staff at Drake were excellent, from the Front Office, to the Director, to Elaine, who is the Program Manager if you will. They were understanding and compassionate and always asked for feedback. My son's teacher was an incredible help and extremely instrumental as well. She filled out as many rating sheets and progress reports as possible which really helped us monitor his progress. We had a real team approach and the results have been life altering. Our quality of life has changed so much. I have cried tears of joy knowing that my son might now lead a normal life. And he is so much happier as well. I urge any parent who is at his or her wit's end to give Drake a chance. Yes, it is expensive but so is medication over the long term and they may be just what your child needs to transform his or her life. It was money well spent. I have no regrets. Good luck! Reply
Dr Harvard, Community Member
11/ 3/12 2:31am

It would be a confidence booster for those considering taking this route to help their childern if they would consider some type of partial money back if the patient has completed the recommended treatment and it was determined that there were no noticable diffrence. Let's say that there was a brain map done prior and post treatment. Wouldn't that be scientific?  

Skeptical, Community Member
1/29/14 2:28pm

That is a great idea!  I would feel a lot better if payment was made by session and eliminate the potential "refund" issue.  Also why wouldn't they have a brain scan after...that would provide more concrete "evidence" of the success of this program.



colormeasceptic, Community Member
5/18/14 2:40pm

We took our child to Drake Institute and certainly experienced the tiny room "closing" technique others mention here, and parted with about $8000.  While the director seemd concerned with our child's lack of response to their techniques, and he tried different arrows in his quiver, we saw no effect from the treatment whatsoever.  We lost two semesters of progress and eventually put him back on drugs.  I will say the drug showed less side effects after the break but maybe that was because we lowered the dose. Our child is still paying catchup from the two lost semesters.


In conclusion, on the basis of our experience, I would be very wary about neurofeedback as an ADHD solution.  Perhaps it works for some children but it seems there is no way to tell in advance.  We gambled and lost.  Lost $8,000 and two semesters of our child's education. 


Do you feel lucky kid?

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By kay, Community Member— Last Modified: 08/15/14, First Published: 06/04/08