We have a lot to learn about Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). There are predictable psychosocial and behavioral symptoms, however there are significant variations from person to person. Neurofeedback helps with individual approaches to unlocking brainwave patterns associated with different symptoms. A basic overview of these patterns include symptoms similar to Attention Deficit Disorders such as too high a ratio between slow to fast brainwave activity, coupled with the brain having too much and too little connectivity. There are complex variables of these factors.
It is estimated that up to 70% of children on the autism spectrum meet criteria for ADD or ADHD diagnosis. In neurofeedback terms, this demonstrates the extent of neurological imbalances for individuals with autism. Dr. Daniel Amen has categorized 7 different subtypes of Attention Deficit Disorder, with an 8th category of symptoms associated with head injuries. His findings are based on brain imaging. ASD may eventually be categorized in a similar fashion, but is not to date. We can, however, look at some of the basic neurological imbalances in terms of brainwave under-arousal, over-arousal, hypo-connectivity, and hyper-connectivity:
When the brain is under-aroused, it means higher amplitudes of slow frequencies are dominating. Symptoms related to under-arousal can include sadness, sleep disturbance, poor focus/attention, and slow to motivate, and more.
When the brain is over-aroused, it means higher amplitudes of fast frequencies are dominating. Symptoms related to over-arousal can include poor impulse control, aggression, risk taking, poor physical awareness, sensory overload, and more.
Neuro-imaging research on brains of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders shows patterns of both hyper-connectivity (too much) and hypo-connectivity (not enough). http://www.resourcenter.net/images/AAPB/Files/Biofeedback/2007/biof_ASD.pdf
Hyper-connectivity can explain the extreme sensitivity to sensory input such as light, sound, touch, texture, and repetitive behaviors
Hypo-connectivity can explain the difficulties in areas of social awareness, communication, clumsiness, coordination, and socially awkward behaviors
How can neurofeedback help?
With use of the BrainPaint® functional assessment, we determine the best approach to brain training based on individual need. Symptoms of under-arousal, over-arousal, and connectivity are simple to address. Clients are able to make measurable progress, especially with access to unlimited sessions in the comfort of the home. In “Healing Young Brains: The neurofeedback solution”, authors Hill and Castro (2009) explore a wide array of traditional and alternative avenues for treatment for ASD. They make the following statement: “It is our opinion that, overall, neurofeedback is the most effective treatment in restoring a child to a level of well-being that is meaningful.”
The American Academy of Pediatrics rated neurofeedback a Level One Best Support for Attention Deficit Disorders. A meta-analysis of research on attention disorders shows that about 50% of children are able to eliminate medications and those continuing medications can typically reduce their dose (Pigott, De Biase, Bodenhamer-Davis, & Davis, 2012). Symptoms of poor attention, focus, and motivation, are common with ASD, and without a need for diagnosis, we are able to target and retrain related brainwave patterns.
"It is our opinion that, overall, neurofeedback is the most effective treatment in restoring a child to a level of well-being that is meaningful." — Hill & Castro, 2009
Hammond, D.C. (2012). Neurofeedback treatment for traumatic brain injury. International Brain Injury Association. Retrieved from http://www.internationalbrain.org/articles/neurofeedback-treatment-for-traumatic-brain-injury.
Coben, R. (2007). Connectivity-Guided Neurofeedback for Autistic Spectrum Disorder. Biofeedback, 35(4), pp. 131-135.
Pigott, H., De Biase, L., Bodenhamer-Davis, E., & Davis, R. (2012).
The evidence-base for neurofeedback as a reimbursable health care service to treat attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Retrieved from http://www.isnr.org/uploads/nfb-adhd.pdf
Thornton, K. E., & Carmody, D. P. (2008). Efficacy of traumatic brain injury rehabilitation: Interventions of QEEG-guided biofeedback, computers, strategies, and medications. Applied Psychophysiology & Biofeedback, 33, 101-124.
Neurofeedback helped bring the whole family into more harmony. The subtle changes in day-to-day functioning are long lasting. BrainPaint® is an amazing mental health option. — Home User
We did the neurofeedback training as a family and had great results. From my experience I would say it improved my focus and clarity, giving me a sense of wellbeing. I felt more productive and efficient. As a family, it reduced everyone’s stress level and allowed for our time together to be more relaxed and enjoyable. I am glad we did it. — Home User