If your child has been diagnosed with ASD you likely have many worries about their future. Questions about whether they will be able to have a normal life, develop friendships, be emotionally stable, and achieve career success have likely crossed your mind. Unfortunately, you have probably also faced the reality that there are not many options for treatment. The impact of living with autism is significant and you may already have tried all the available options available to you. You are not alone. Neurofeedback is an emerging treatment for autism that is providing parents new hope for their child’s future.
EEG studies have shown more than one brain pattern associated with Autism. Some individuals show excessive theta activity, primarily in the right posterior regions. These areas are associated with inattention, impulsivity, and hyperarousal. Another pattern is overarousal in posterior sights, which tends to be associated with obsessions and overfocusing. Additionally, some individuals’ show that the brain’s ability to communicate between certain regions may be diminished. Because there are different patterns associated with autism, it is integral to have an initial assessment which includes a QEEG (brain map) prior to training, so you know which pattern is evident and therefore understand what the treatment will target.
When using Neurofeedback to treat any Autism spectrum disorders, we are targeting parts of the brain that develop early in a child’s development. This type of training tends to occur more in the posterior areas of the brain and take a longer duration for noticeable effects. Common feedback we hear is initial improvements in a person’s attention with treatment, followed by improvements in academic performance, social skills, and speech. We also see decreases in autistic behaviours occur gradually across the treatment duration.
Brainwave Neurofeedback for Autism: Can It Help?
A fair and brief look at the state of research on Neurofeedback and Autism.
Summary of 150 Clients with Asperger’s Syndrome who were Treated with Neurofeedback.
Thompson, L., Thompson, M., & Reid, A. (2010). Neurofeedback outcomes in clients with Asperger’s Syndrome, Appl Psychophysiol Biofeedback, 35, 63-81.
The children showed improvements in number of Asperger’s symptoms, attention, achievement, and intelligence.
Neurofeedback for the Autism Spectrum
Read Siegfried and Othmer, two leading experts in the field of Neurofeedback, discuss the promise of Neurofeedback for autism spectrum disorders.
Summarizing the Research on Neurofeedback and Autism.
Coben, R., Linden, M., Myers, T (2010). Neurofeedback for autistic spectrum disorder: A review of the literature, Appl Psychophysiol Biofeedback, 35, 83-105.
The researchers discuss multiple treatment options for Autism, including how Neurofeedback.
Assessment Guided Neurofeedback for Autistic Spectrum Disorders
Coben, R., & Padolsky, I. Assessment-guided neurofeedback for autistic spectrum disorder, Journal of Neurotherapy, 11, 5-22
Neurofeedback application in the treatment of autistic spectrum disorders
Zovoder, I., et al. (2015). Neurofeedback application in the treatment of ASD. Psychiatria Danubina. 391-394
The Effect of Neurofeedback on Brain Waves in Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders
Hemmati, S., et al. (2016). The effect of Neurofeedback on brain waves in children with ASD. Iranian Rehabilitation Journal. 133-138
Book: How Neurofeedback Saved My Son from Autism
by Ng Sun Luen, 2017
Brain Waves and Connectivity of Autism Spectrum Disorders
Fauzan, N., Amran, N. H. (2015). Brain waves and connectivity of ASD. Procedia – Social and behavioral Sciences. 882-890
Quantitative EEG Neurofeedback for the Treatment of Pediatric Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, Autism Spectrum Disorders, Learning Disorders, and Epilepsy
Hurt, E., Arnold, L. E., Lofthouse, N. (2014). Quantitative EEG Neurofeedback for the Treatment of Pediatric Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, Autism Spectrum Disorders, Learning Disorders, and Epilepsy. Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America. 465-486
EEG Neurofeedback for executive functions in children with neurodevelopmental challenges
Landes, JK., et al. (2017). EEG Neurofeedback for executive functions in children with neurodevelopmental challenges. The Cochrane Collaboration.
Connectivity-Guided EEG Biofeedback for Autism Spectrum Disorder: Evidence of Neurophysiological Changes (2014)
Coben, Robert., et al. (2014). Connectivity-Guided EEG Biofeedback for ASD. International Society for Neurofeedback & Research.
Autism: Exploring the social brain
Welsh, John P., Estes, Annette M. (2018). Autism: Exploring the social brain. Neuroscience.