Introduction to Autism
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a developmental condition that usually appears during your first two years of life, although it can be diagnosed at any age. Autism impacts how you interact with other people, how you communicate, how you learn, and how you behave. It’s caused by differences within the brain, some of which are attributed to genetics while others are not yet known. Although there is no singular known cause of autism, diagnosis and treatment can help you receive the resources needed in order to live a full life. Autism is considered a lifelong disorder since there is no cure for it.
ASD is known as a spectrum disorder, since the type and severity of symptoms can vary greatly from person to person. Some people can work and live with little to no support and have advanced communication skills while others may be nonverbal and need a lot of help in their day-to-day lives. Usually, people who are autisitic do not have anything about their looks that set them apart from others. Symptoms of ASD usually appear before the age of 3, and while sometimes, symptoms can improve over the course of one’s life, they usually last your entire life.
People with autism may have trouble developing and maintaining relationships, communicating with others, and understanding what behaviors are expected of them in school or work places. They may have different ways to learn, move, or pay attention. They often struggle with social interactions and restricted and/or repetitive behaviors and/or interests. Not everyone who has autism will have all behaviors or symptoms associated with ASD, as it has quite a variable spectrum, but most people will experience some common behaviors such as:
Social Interaction/Communication Behaviors
- Making little/inconsistent eye contact
- Scripted/stilted speech
- Difficulty appreciating emotions, both their own and others’
- Appearing to not listen to or look at people who are talking
- Infrequently sharing interests or emotions or enjoyment in activities or of objects
- Struggling with the back and forth of conversation
- A sing-song or flat, robotic voice
- Difficulty understanding other people’s points of view
- Difficulty adjusting to social situations
- Frequently talking at length about favorite subjects without noticing whether others are interested/not giving them the chance to reply
- Either not responding to or being slow to respond to verbal bids for attention, such as their name
- Struggling with imaginative play
- Difficulty making and maintaining friendships
- Showing expressions, gestures, and movements that don’t match what they’re saying
- Sensory hypersensitivity
- Difficulty adjusting to changes in routine and new experiences
- Being inflexible in their behavior
- Repeating specific behaviors/having unusual behaviors, such as repeating phrases
- Having overly focused interests in niche subjects, and expecting others to share that interest
- Stimming, aka repetitive physical behaviors, such as rocking
- Arranging things in a very particular way
People with autism may also struggle with irritability, sleep problems, anxiety, and depression. These symptoms can make life very challenging.
How Neurofeedback Treats Autism
Neurofeedback is an effective treatment method to help people with autism manage their condition. It helps identify where the brain is struggling to process information and helps treat these problem areas in a natural, non-invasive way in order to make long-lasting changes by altering brain pathways. It does this the same way that you learn any other skill, with practice and monitored feedback on your brainwaves that compare your brain activity to your targets for change.
For instance, if your brain map shows that you have too many slow brain waves, then a treatment program is developed to normalize them to reduce your symptoms. Neurofeedback helps you to gain control over how your brain functions so that you can better self-regulate and experience reduction in your symptoms, so you can improve your quality of life.
Our Approach to Treating Autism
Here at Ogden Psychological Services, we use Neurofeedback therapy to treat autism. Our goal is to provide you with long-term relief from your symptoms. Neurofeedback therapy can improve your social awareness, social cognition, social communication, social motivation, and autistic mannerisms. This evidence-based treatment can also supplement other treatment methods for autism, such as applied behavior analysis, speech therapy, and language therapy.