Autism is a scary word. As a parent, the mere mention of the word by a doctor can flip your world upside down. Because doctors are still trying to understand the condition, many people feel there is nothing they can do if their child is diagnosed.
Most talk about the causes of autism involve genetics, medical issues and problems with brain development. But very little attention has been paid to an important factor in Autism cases: BRAINWAVES.
How Do Brainwaves Affect Autism?
Brainwaves exist in every person and play an important role in how our brain and body functions. The 4 primary brainwaves are Delta, Theta, Alpha and Beta, each serving a different function in the brain. Autism is often reflected in slower Beta brainwaves, which are strongest when we are awake, focused and engaging in activity. When Beta brainwaves are running too slow, this can result in a delayed reaction to stimuli, as the brain is processing things slower. This is a primary symptom of Autism. Many people with autism have very slow Beta waves show up on a brain map.
Slower Beta brainwaves can have a domino effect. If one is not able to process information at a normal rate, they will become uncomfortable in normal social situations and become withdrawn. Slower processing will also affect the rate at which they learn and understand the world around them. As a result, they will focus on that which is comfortable to them, often obsessing over it. This can lead to repeating words and phrases they find safe and comfortable. Repetition of movements or tasks are also common.
Do these symptoms sound familiar? They are all present in a person with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
How Can We “Speed Up” These Brainwaves?
Now that you understand the role of brainwaves and how they can impact Autism symptoms, what can you do about it? The answer lies in a brain training process known as neurofeedback. Neurofeedback has been around since the 1960’s, and there are plenty of case studies that show its effectiveness in improving symptoms of autism. Advances in computer technology have recently allowed practitioners to be able to offer neurofeedback to their patients, thus moving it out of the academic research world.
So Just How Does Neurofeedback Work?
Neurofeedback is a very simple process. The patient watches a movie or listens to music while the computer monitors their brainwaves, making minor adjustments to brainwaves in real time. The whole process is safe, involves no drugs and is done in multiple 30 minute sessions over weeks or months. Eventually the brain will learn to maintain normal brainwave activity without the need for further training. Results are often permanent.
Neurofeedback does not target any particular disorder. Instead, it targets irregular brainwaves, which in turn will impact many different conditions and symptoms. In the case of Autism, neurofeedback can speed up Beta brainwaves, which will allow the patient to process information quicker, comprehend faster and react quicker. As a result, they can become more engaged and comfortable in a normal setting.
It should be noted that there are other factors that contribute to Autism, such as genetics. So a full recovery of normal brain function may not be possible. But research has shown that dramatic improvements in people with Autism is very realistic.
How Do I Get Started?
The first step in the neurofeedback process is to get a Brain Map. This is a non-invasive process that gives us a snapshot of brain activity. From there we can identify the parts of the brain that are moving too fast or too slow. From this Brain Map, protocols are generated that will correct brainwaves using neurofeedback. The process is simple!