Has your child been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)? You are not alone. Autism is a condition that effects 1 in 88 children according to estimates from the Centers for Disease Control. Treatments for autism remain very limited with many families attempting to try to improve symptoms based on changes in diet, supplements, or other interventions.
Autism spectrum disorder impacts how a child perceives and socializes with others, causing problems in crucial areas of development — social interaction, communication and behavior.
Some children show signs of ASD in early infancy. Other children may develop normally for the first few months or years of life, but then suddenly become withdrawn or aggressive or lose language skills they’ve already acquired.
The goal of treatment is to maximize your child’s ability to function by reducing ASD symptoms and supporting development and learning.
Research on autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) has shown that that neurofeedback (EEG biofeedback) can remediate anomalies in brain activation, leading to symptom reduction and functional improvement.
How does Neurofeedback help with ASD?
Neurofeedback training can often lead to the reduction or elimination of drugs for ASD.
Neurofeedback can help children manage their emotions better creating a calming effect. It can also help with the following symptoms of ASD:
- Tolerance to change
- Emotional outbursts
- Improve responses to teacher and parent instructions
- Social Skills
What is Neurofeedback Training?
Neurofeedback Training is a simple, painless, drugless and non-invasive therapy. It trains the EEG or brainwaves using operant conditioning. Operant conditioning uses auditory and visual feedback to reward the brainwaves when they change in the desired direction to improve the problems of Autism. An individual learns to control his own brainwaves through the help of visual and auditory feedback.
Neurofeedback training is simple, painless, drugless, non-invasive and virtually has no harmful side effects.
How does Neurofeedback work?
Neurofeedback is a way to quantify and train brain activity.
The basic principles of how neurofeedback works are deceptively simple.
Communication between groups of cells in the brain generates thoughts, sensations, actions and emotions. This activity is detectable in the form of brainwaves – electrical impulses generated by your brain activity.
During a neurofeedback session, electrodes detect your brainwaves to see your brain in action. Through operant conditioning, sounds and images on a computer tell you immediately when your brain reaches your goal and when not.
Through this simple method, you learn how to quiet brainwaves associated with ASD and to increase brainwaves associated with calmness, focus, social skills and optimal brain function. Much like physical exercises strengthen and develop specific muscles, the more your brainwaves are trained the calmer and more relief you will feel.
How do we decide what needs to change?
A thorough assessment is done to determine what the difficulties a person is experiencing along with the history of the problem, family history, and an assessment of brain functioning. A quantitative EEG (QEEG) is performed to collect data under different conditions, eyes closed, eyes open, reading and doing a performance task. We look at the results of the way the brainwaves are working, and we run the results against a normed data base that is the same as the person’s age, gender and handedness. We determine a direction for treatment based on the symptoms of the individual and the quantitative electroencephalogram (QEEG).
How long does it take?
The length of neurofeedback training sessions always depends on the condition, age and health of the patient as well as any other health conditions that are present and need supportive treatment. We find that an average number of sessions to get a significant change to occur are around 20-30 sessions. However, rarely does a case resolve completely in that few sessions. It usually takes around 40 to get the best results. Individuals that have other health concerns need to recognize that Neurofeedback alone cannot do everything and there needs to be a comprehensive understanding and treatment of the overall health problems.