Neurofeedback training has been used by hundreds of clinicians to help thousands of children on the autistic spectrum. Several research studies have also been published to support these practices. Parents consistently report that as their children begin brain training, they are calmer, manage emotions better, and don’t get overwhelmed as easily.
The research indicates neurofeedback reduces symptoms associated with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The most significant study published so far is called ‘Assessment-guided neurofeedback for Autistic Spectrum Disorder’. It was conducted by Dr. Robert Coben, a well-respected neuropsychologist from New York, and his colleague Dr. Padolsky. The study was based on the ATEC scale developed by the Autism Research Institute which covered symptoms in the realm of speech/language/communication, sociability, sensory/cognitive awareness and health/physical/behaviour. The results of this study showed improved ratings of ASD symptoms for 89% of the experimental group, as reported by parents.
How does neurofeedback help?
With ASD, the brain is dysregulated. Studies indicate that individuals with ASD have excessive connectivity in some areas of the brain and deficient connectivity in others.
Neurofeedback is a powerful tool in the treatment of autism
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.
The following is a list of improvements that have been observed by parents after undertaking neurofeedback for their child with ASD.
- Initiation of touch and contact
- Reduced emotional outbursts
- Slower, clearer speech patterns
- Better responses to parental and teacher instructions
- Less ritualistic and more imaginative thought
- Increased tolerance to change
- Decreased hyperactivity & impulsivity
- Heightened levels of focus and attention
- Diminished anxiety
- Better social skills and enhanced relationships
- Increased stability and calmness
- Heightened awareness of feelings and emotions
Unlike medication, neurofeedback has no side effects.
With medication, and even supplements, benefits usually disappear when the treatment is stopped. Improvements resulting from neurofeedback extend beyond the training period, yielding sustainable results. For permanent change to occur, the brain must learn healthier patterns. Once the new brain pattern has been learned through neurofeedback, the individual tends not to forget. It can be likened to learning to ride a bike. Once that skill has been learned, it is not forgotten.
Neurofeedback improves the quality of life for both people with ASD and their families. It not only improves brain function, but also teaches the brain to control and regulate itself. It has no long-term side effects and offers sustainable results.