Fostering diverse cognitive talents

It is an unfortunate fact— not every child has the same advantages as other children.  For some, their challenges may be emotional or behavioral in nature. For others, they may face academic struggles.  Whatever the issue may be, Elysian Trust aims to help bring out the hidden potential in children who may otherwise rot on the proverbial vine.  To achieve this goal, we created the Children of the Atom (COTA) Discovery Program.  


What is COTA

COTA is an after-school discovery program developed in 2019 and launching in 2020 that utilizes neurofeedback to give at-risk children the ability to control their own brains at the neurophysiological level.  There is a rich, documented, and peer-reviewed history of neurofeedback interventions transforming the minds of young adults in measurable and impactful ways in the areas of self-control, cognition, academics, and even hand-eye coordination/athletics.  

Our program uses the most modern portable EEG-technology to help three special populations that often overlap:

  1. Students diagnosed with a learning disability.
  2. Children with behavioral challenges that put them at risk for incarceration or recidivism. 
  3. Students from low-income families that demonstrate the potential for higher education but experience testing anxiety that blocks them from attaining skills and scores that would make them competitive candidates for higher-ed admission and graduation.


How COTA works  

Through neurofeedback exercises and games, enrollees gradually develop the ability to notice their personal levels of stress, focus, memory failures, and other cognitive triggers.  Eventually, these same children not only learn self-awareness in these areas but also how to increase or decrease their levels upon command. These changes occur on both the holistic and physiological levels.  Studies show that all the known biological correlates of intelligence and self-control will change in an individual through biofeedback. These include nerve conduction velocity, cortical thickness, brain pH, cortical surface area, the structure of the corpus callosum, overall brain size, and brain glucose regulation.  

Through COTA, young adults go beyond acquiring better study-skills or coping techniques. They come closer to reaching their cognitive peak performance with an added benefit of increased self-control. Now armed with enhanced general intelligence and emotional maturity, students who go through the COTA program may discover numerous opportunities for themselves in academia and in life.  They discover their potential and what their minds can really do.  


What COTA is not
COTA is not about brain-training games.  While those games can be entertaining, they have not demonstrated the ability to give players any transferable cognitive skills. Players simply get better at playing those brain-training games.   COTA is based on over 20 years of peer-reviewed studies that show neurofeedback:


COTA’S First Phase

For the first year, our discovery program will be limited to 24 youths—eight from each of the three populations we focus on.  The pilot project will run in the Houston area. Aside from the neurofeedback component, the enrollees will also work with the program director and Elysian Trust’s membership body to help guide their futures and determine what possibilities that their newfound abilities may capitalize upon. 

We expect to document measurable changes in learning retention for the learning disability population, improvement in behavior and a lower-than-average recidivism rate for the behaviorally challenged population, and higher test scores for the low-income testing anxiety population.  

After the pilot phase is complete, we intend to expand COTA countywide and then develop a curriculum that may be adopted anywhere in the USA or abroad.  


COTA’s Founding Team

Image may contain: 1 person, selfie and closeup
Nth Bar-Fields – Co-Founder & CVO of Elysian Trust, and former neurofeedback technician.  Nth was diagnosed with dyslexia as a young-adult and only scored 90 on his school-administered IQ test in elementary school.  However, partly through neurofeedback training, his cognitive skills greatly improved and his career trajectory dramatically changed.  Instead of being incarcerated like many young males in his community, he went on to become a nuclear engineering technologist, data analyst, and has developed various programs for nonprofits, including COTA.  While COTA’s program is supported by numerous studies, the idea behind it came from his personal experiences with education, neurofeedback, his twice-exceptional status, and his childhood socioeconomic challenges.


Joshua Boylan
—Auxiliary Officer & President of Elysian Trust’s think tank, Hard Problems Consulting. Joshua is a behavioural scientist and philosopher, and was diagnosed at a late age with autistic spectrum disorder (ASD). Coming from the field of psychology, Joshua notes that neurobiofeedback is not given the focus it needs in the field, currently. 

“Bio-feedback is an immensely powerful tool. It gives you the opportunity to develop a  better relationship with your own self and your biological rhythms. As an Autistic person, often overwhelmed by the excess stimuli, biofeedback training offered me a lot of self-awareness and internal peace. I don’t know where I would be if I hadn’t learned about biofeedback. Most Autistics experience major sensory meltdowns and this contributes greatly to our issues. Biofeedback gives us a highly effective method for impulse regulation and self-control. The COTA program is platform to help expose people to biofeedback training and a comprehensive education program that backed by the research.”

Courtney Moore—Program Manager, is an educational diagnostician for the Humboldt County Independent School District, working in education since 2001. During her time, she noticed a troubling pattern in kids’ individual educational plans – IEPs.  Parents were overall dissatisfied with the IEPs developed for their children, and, secondly, most kid’s individualized plans resulted in very little progress academically or behaviorally. Courtney has personally witnessed kids being tested in elementary school, diagnosed with a ‘disability,’ and continuing through middle and high school with the same academic and behavioral concerns. Literally, little-to-no progress from elementary to high school!  Additionally, most of the kids who make little progress have similar diagnoses directly related to behavior; i.e. Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), Autism (AU), and Emotional Disturbance (ED).  This problem perplexed her and she understood something was missing to make traditional interventions effective.

After learning about neurofeedback from Elysian Trust and reading up on the studies Elysian provided, she, along with Joshua and Nth co-developed the COTA program.  

 This is not her first foray in building a program that fulfills an unanswered need.  She co-developed an afterschool/summer clinic called “The Children’s Spot.”  This clinic provided behavioral therapy for kids with disabilities.  She solely developed the curriculum for this program, and it was piloted during the summer of 2014 at a local daycare.  Elementary-aged kids attended this program with varying diagnoses of ED, AU, ADHD and other intellectual disabilities.  She led a team of parents, daycare directors, speech therapists, occupational therapists, and physical therapists in designing activities to integrate behavioral strategies on their facility, at home, and during  individual and group therapy sessions.  This program later grew into an afterschool program where licensed professional counselors (LPC), LPC interns, and medical doctors happily joined and integrated their services.  To date, she still has relationships with these parents, and they have her number on speed dial if they ever need any assistance.