Benefits of Neurotherapy with Autism Spectrum and Neurodevelopmental Disorders

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD), sometimes called pervasive developmental disorder, has a broad range of severity of symptoms and levels of impairment. In the state of Nebraska 1-90 boys are diagnosed as being on the spectrum. Research is showing that ASD is a result of trauma to the brain caused or triggered by genetic and environmental influences. In studies comparing the general population with individuals diagnosed as having ASD, it was found that persons diagnosed ASD use the front areas of their brain much less than the general public. We and others (Thompson and Thompson) have observed in clients with ASD a slowing in the processing of data in the back upper area of the brain, called the parietal lobe.

The parietal lobe is known as the “command center of the brain” or the “CPU” of the brain. Neurotherapy can be like upgrading the CPU and software on your laptop. The brain may now processes data more efficiently, open applications faster, run at optimal speed, and overall system performance increases. Neurotherapy using pulsed electromagnetic frequencies” NeuroField pEMF”, and z-score data bases “Neuroguide”, guide the brain toward optimal performance. When these areas of the brain process data more efficiently we have seen a decrease in the behaviors associated with autism.

Current research has also shown that QEEG “brain mapping” can identify early markers for neurological disorders, especially those of developmental origin (Bosl et al. 2011). Brain changes associated with ASD can be identified by QEEG as early as 18 months of age. We have worked with children as young as 2 years of age and have seen decreases in self-harm, stimming behaviors, and elopement. Parents have also reported significant changes in mood flexibility, “melt downs are occurring less”, environmental awareness has increased “my daughter noticed for the first time that we had flowers along the driveway”, improvements in immune system function, “the rash on my son’s face has gone down, his skin looks healthier”, and improvements in sleep, “she’s taking naps, she never took naps”! Neurotherapy is NOT a cure all for autism nor does it diagnose autism.

Asperger’s Syndrome

Asperger’s Syndrome (AS) is a type of pervasive developmental disorder. Symptoms of Asperger’s syndrome may include: problems with social skills, eccentric or repetitive behaviors, unusual preoccupations or rituals, communication difficulties, limited range of interests, coordination problems and may be skilled or talented. Individuals with AS may not be lacking the social/behavior skills, they may be lacking efficient connectivity of the areas of the brain that are responsible for social interactions. The neurons of the brain are arranged in areas of similar function and structure, much like neighborhoods in your city.

There are at least nine different areas or neighborhoods that must have efficient long distance communication in order to maintain healthy social functions. Individuals with AS may be inefficient with long distant communication between the neighborhoods (hypo-conductivity) and have a tendency of having prodigious short distant communication within the local neighborhood (hyper-conductivity). In AS, there seems to be a trade-off between having better processing of detailed information at the local level and the brain’s ability to handle social functions.

At Neurotherapy Center of Nebraska we encourage the brain to develop more efficient long distant connections by normalizing the connectivity of the brain through NeuroField pEMF developed by Dr. Nicholas Dogris and LORETA and surface z-score neurofeedback training. We have observed improvements in empathy, emotional awareness and social skills. Parents report, “He said thank you for making his bed, it all most made me cry”, “My son noticed I was sad and gave me a hug”.

“I have often thought that people on the mild end of the Asperger spectrum may have fit in better years ago than they do today. An eccentric stone mason who designed a cathedral would be admired for his work. A brilliant scientist who preferred the company of mice to humans might have been considered eccentric, but not necessarily labeled socially dysfunctional. In many ways, today’s “always connected” society has put more social demands on people, and a lack of social ability may be seen as more of a handicap than in the past.”- Temple Grandin’s comments on Asperger’s syndrome.

Since autistic spectrum disorder is a very complicated disorder we highly suggest that all clients have comprehensive medical, occupational and speech testing before coming for neurotherapy. If you do not have a doctor, OT, or a speech therapist we will be glad to recommend one. Our goal at Neurotherapy Center of Nebraska is to help our clients with ASD perform optimally.

Resources for Autism and Asperger's
  • Baruth, J., Casanova, M., El-Baz, A., Horrell, T., Mathai, G., Sears, L., Sokhadze, E. (2010). Low-frequency repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation modulates evoked gamma frequency oscillations in autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Neurotherapy, 14(3), 179–194.
  • Coben, R., Mohammad-Rezazadeh, I., Cannon, R. (2014). Using quantitative and analytic EEG methods in the understanding of connectivity in autism spectrum disorders: a theory of mixed over- and under-connectivity. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 8:45. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2014.00045.
  • Coben, R., & Myers, T. E. (2010). The relative efficacy of connectivity guided and symptom based EEG biofeedback for autistic disorders. Applied Psychophysiology & Biofeedback, 35(1), 13–23.
  • Coben, R., & Pudolsky, I. (2007). Assessment-guided neurofeedback for autistic spectrum disorder. Journal of Neurotherapy, 11(1), 5–23.
  • Coben, R. (2007). Connectivity-guided neurofeedback for autistic spectrum disorder. Biofeedback, 35(4), 131–135.
Additional Resources
  • Coben, R. Sherlin, L., Hudspeth, W. J., McKeon, K., & Ricca, R. (2014) Connectivity-Guided EEG Biofeedback for Autism Spectrum Disorder: Evidence of Neurophysiological Changes. Journal of NeuroRegulation, 1(2) 109-130.
  • Drysdale, M,T,B., Martinez, Y, J., Thompson, L. (2012). The effects of humorous literature on emotion: A pilot project comparing children with asperger’s syndrome before and after neurofeedback training and controls. Journal of Neurofeedback.
  • Frye, R., Rossignol, D., Casanova, M., Martin, V., Brown, G., Edelson, S., Coben, R., Lewine, J., Slattery, J., Lau, C., Hardy, P., Fatemi, S., Folsom, T., MacFabe, D., Adams, J. (2013). A review of traditional and novel treatments for seizures in autism spectrum disorder. Findings from a systematic review and expert panel. Public Health 1:31. doi: 10.3389/fpubh.00031
  • Jarusiewicz, G. (2007). Use of neurofeedback with autistic spectrum disorders. Chapter in J. R. Evans (Ed.), Handbook of Neurofeedback. Binghampton, NY: Haworth Medical Press, pp. 321–339.
  • Jarusiewicz, B. (2002). Efficacy of neurofeedback for children in the autistic spectrum: A pilot study. Journal of Neurotherapy, 6(4), 39–49.
  • Knezevic, B., Thompson, L., & Thompson, M. (2010). Pilot project to ascertain the utility of Tower of London Test to assess outcomes of neurofeedback in clients with Asperger’s Syndrome. Journal of Neurotherapy, 14(3), 3–19.
  • Kouijzer, M. E. UJ., de Moor, J. M. H., Gerrits, B. J. L., Buitelaar, J. K., & van Schie, H. T. (2009). Long-term effects of neurofeedback treatment in autism. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 3(2), 496–501.
  • Pineda J. A., Brang D, Hecht E, Edwards L, Carey S, Bacon M, Futagaki C, Suk D, Tom J, Birnbaum C, Rork A.(2008). Positive behavioral and electrophysiological changes following neurofeedback training in children with autism. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 2, 557–581.
  • Scolnick, B. (2005). Effects of electroencephalogram biofeedback with Asperger’s syndrome. International Journal of Rehabilitation Research, 28(2), 159–163.
  • Sichel, A. G., Fehmi, L. G., & Goldstein, D. M. (1995). Positive outcome with neurofeedback treatment of a case of mild autism. Journal of Neurotherapy, 1(1), 6064.
  • Sokhadze, E., Baruth, J., El-Baz, A., Horrell, T., Sokhadze, G., Carroll, T., Tasman, A., Sears, L., Casanova, M. (2010). Impaired error monitoring and correction function in Autism. Journal of Neurotherapy, 14(2), 79–95.

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