Direct Neurofeedback to reduce ASD symptoms
The Public Health Agency of Canada estimated one in every 66 Canadian children and youth aged five to 17 has Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
There is current research reviewing the evidence that ASD, ADHD, and TS (Tourette’s Syndrome) belong to a broader spectrum of neurodevelopmental illnesses: abnormal connectivity spectrum disorder (ACSD) which results from neural long-range under-connectivity and short-range over-connectivity. Areas of both excessively high connectivity and deficient connectivity are seen in brains of individuals with ASD. Some areas of the brain communicate really well, and others don’t hear a peep.
Here is where Direct Neurofeedback enters the scene: by helping the brain connect and communicate better. See, neurofeedback stimulates frozen or stuck neural pathways (the structures that connect the different parts of the brain), cueing the brain to reorganize and optimize its electrical activity, resulting in whole brain function optimization.
Direct Neurofeedback improves whole brain function by acting like a mirror for the brain to learn from itself in real time: like a dancer improves dancing in front of a mirror.
Now, the reality is that many clients can feel anxious about trying something new or about inspiring a loved one to learn more about something they haven’t tried before. This can be most especially true for consumer-survivors of the mental health care system or the neurodivergent.
Feelings of hopelessness or other issues may get in the way of taking that first step. It is often a question many caregivers have:
“Vielka, how do I get them to come to therapy, let alone try neurofeedback?”
To you, I say: remember that each one of us is an expert in our own lives. So, when you have this conversation make sure you:
- Listen: listen very carefully to your loved one. Listen for doubts, fears, hopes and wants.
- Validate: let them know their feelings are acceptable and right in this situation
- Take note: to find answers the questions, ease fears and help calibrate expectations whether right now or in time
- Strike a deal: reward them for attending their first consultation, most certainly if they’re stepping out of their comfort zone.
Links to relevant articles and research publications:
Assessment-Guided Neurofeedback for Autistic Spectrum Disorder [pdf]
by Coben R Ph.D. and Padolsky I Ph.D.
Results summary: Neurofeedback group had 89% success rate improving ASD symptoms, 40% reduction in core ASD symptomology (ATEC scores), 76% reduction in hyper-connectivity.
Efficacy of Neurofeedback for Children in the Autistic Spectrum: A Pilot Study
By: Jarusiewicz, B PhD
Results. Neurofeedback training resulted in a 26% average reduction in total ATEC rated autism symptoms, compared to 3% for the control group. Parental assessments reported improvement in all behavioral categories: socialization, vocalization, anxiety, schoolwork, tantrums, and sleep, compared with minimal changes in the control group. Discussion. Autistic spectrum children who underwent neurofeedback training showed significant improvements in autism symptoms and behaviors. The magnitude of improvement was independent of initial severity or age.
School-Based Neurofeedback for Autistic Spectrum Disorder
by Darling M PhD
ABSTRACT (excerpt): Recent research is showing that children with ASD are responding very well to both electroencephalographic (EEG) and haemoencephalographic (HEG) neurofeedback. Furthermore, our own research indicates that neurofeedback can be an effective schoolbased intervention for children in the autistic spectrum.
Neurofeedback for Autistic Spectrum Disorder – Theory & Research
Vielka Almanzar Bautista HBA, MEd, MA is a psychotherapist in Whitby, Ontario. She has over 10 years of practicing psychotherapy with children, youth and adults. If you would like to learn more you are welcome to call and book your first appointment or fill out the contact form and click Send.