Neurofeedback - An Effective Treatment for Autism?
In 2014 the (CDC) released new data on the prevalence of autism in the United States. It identified 1 in 68 children (mostly boys) as having autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
People with ASD often have these characteristics:
- Ongoing social interaction and communication problems
- Repetitive behaviors
- Limited interests or activities
Traditional therapies are limited to medication and behavioral therapy, both of which can provide some assistance with the wide range of challenges someone on the spectrum of autism might encounter. Neurofeedback has shown great promise as a tool to help patients on the spectrum with various symptoms, including speech, motor and sensory integration issues, and sociability.
There is growing anecdotal evidence from patients and therapists that neurofeedback is an effective treatment for Autism Spectrum Disorder. There have been some limited studies on neurofeedback and autism, but funding for these is limited and much more work needs to be done. A recent pilot study with 24 children resulted in a 26% average reduction in total ATEC (Autism Treatment Evaluation Checklists) rated autism symptoms, compared to 3% for the control group.
Using a grant from Autism Speaks, Jaime A. Pineda, Ph.D., and his colleagues at the University of California San Diego tested the hypotheses that if mirror neuron activity is deficient in individuals with ASD 1) a type of intervention known as neurofeedback training (NFT) can be used to normalize mu suppression and hence, mirror neuron activity, and 2) such normalization will lead to improvements in behavior, especially in imitation. Results showed that after NFT, mu rhythm suppression in children with ASD progressed towards normal.
The most important controlled study to date is titled “Assessment-Guided Neurofeedback for Autistic Spectrum Disorder” by Robert Coben, PhD and Ilean Padolsky, PhD, and revealed that after 20 sessions, improved ratings of ASD symptoms reflected an 89% success rate. Other major findings included a 40% reduction in core ASD symptomatology, compared to control groups where there was significant statistical variation.
If you live in the Orlando area, we offer neurofeedback and qEEG brain mapping to help identify and address the symptoms of autism. Come in for a consultation and see if this program can help you or your child lead a more normal life.
Posted In: Neurofeedback