Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) include the diagnoses of Autism, Asperger’s Disorder, and Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Not Otherwise Specified.
There is no specific cure for autism, therapeutic guidelines are directed to improve the quality of life for those with ASD by reducing symptoms and increasing their functioning. Neurofeedback is direct training of brainwave function, in which the brain learns to function more efficiently. Using a Quantitative Electroencephalogram (qEEG), brain waves are measured, recorded and compared. Feedback is then shown back to the person to help the brain self-regulate. The method has been developed in neurophysiological labs in scientific institutes in the USA and has been used very successfully for over 30 years.
The symptoms of ASD usually emerge by age 2 or 3. They may include inability to perceive sights and sounds adequately, resistance to change in daily routines, poor motor skills, repetitive behaviors or movements, hyper-focusing and loud outbursts.
Studies indicate that individuals with ASD have excessive connectivity in some areas of the brain and deficient connectivity in others. Neurofeedback is a very effective way of stabilizing and regulating brain function. By facilitating improvement in areas of abnormal connectivity and improving the functioning of the brain, symptoms are reduced, and positive outcomes result.
Parents consistently report that as their children begin brain training, they are calmer, manage emotions better, and don’t get overwhelmed as easily.
One important study, that included 37 ASD children, is titled “Assessment-Guided Neurofeedback for Autistic Spectrum Disorder,” You can learn more about their results here.
Neurofeedback improves the quality of life for those with ASD as well as their families. It not only improves brain function, but helps with self-regulation, there are no long-term side effects and offers sustainable results. By combining neurofeedback with a comprehensive biopsychosocial approach, improvement is made in areas of dysfunction.
How Does Neurofeedback Help Autism?
Neurofeedback uses biofeedback technology to help establish healthier brainwaves. With ASD, a common finding is abnormal brainwaves. Research has shown that neurofeedback helps to regulate dysregulated brainwave function. By improving areas of abnormal connectivity and brainwave function, outcomes are optimized.
What Are the Noted Improvements for Autism?
Those that have trained with neurofeedback have seen improvements in initiation of touch and contact, clearer speech patterns, reduced emotional outbursts, better response to teacher and parental instruction, better imaginative thought, improved social skills and decreased hyperactivity.
The following link is to a paper written by Othmers’; pioneers in the field of Neurofeedback. Neurofeedback for the Autism Spectrum by Siegfried and Susan F. Othmer.
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