What you need to know about autism and anxiety (part 1)
With the pandemic and overall stressful times we live in, we can state it’s easy to fall into mild depression or anxiety. This is true not only for adults but also for children. That’s why is good to be informed at all times, so we know what we are prone to.
Luckily, biofeedback – the alternative therapy based on the investigation of electromagnetic waves emitted by the human body – can help. So today we’ll share some information about autism and anxiety. We’ll try to touch on the major topics and areas of concern but for more details feel free to visit Quantum Medical YouTube channel.
Also known as the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), is an umbrella term for a group of developmental disorders that are neurological in origin and cause social, communication and behavioral challenges. ASD is the third most common developmental disorder. It is mainly characterized by impaired social interaction and communication and the presence of repetitive behaviors or restricted interests. Children with ASD may also have their sensory sensitivity affected. meaning they may be under or over sensitive to certain senses (loud noises, certain fabrics etc).
What are the symptoms/signs of autism?
ASD refers to a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication.
Any child in the autism spectrum will have difficulties in three main areas:
- Social interaction (difficulty in building relationships, etc)
- Social communication (difficulty in verbal/non-verbal communication, for instance body language, gestures)
- Social imagination (difficulty in flexibility of thought, organizing, etc). There may also be problems with development of motor skills and the presence of unusual repetitive behaviors such as hand flapping, rocking, etc.
But don’t forget, every autistic individual will experience symptoms differently, from mild to severe on the autism spectrum. No two autistic children are the same, they are all unique. Therefore, we should treat each one uniquely so it’s very important to read into the matrix of a biofeedback device and go through all the details.
Experts are still trying to find the exact cause of autism but research indicates that it may be caused by a combination of genetic, biological and environmental factors, such as:
- Having an immediate family member who is autistic
- Certain genetic mutations
- Fragile X syndrome and other genetic disorders
- Being born to older parents
- Low birth weight
- Metabolic imbalances
- Exposure to heavy metals and environmental toxins
- A maternal history of viral infections
Autism spectrum disorder is a lifelong condition and there is no cure, but the right therapy or intervention can help the child learn the necessary skills to improve the quality of their life. Since ASD can be detected as early as when the child is between 12-18 months old, intervention can be provided quite early for a better outcome. The most effective intervention for ASD is interdisciplinary, structured and specialized to help the child meet their communication, social and behavioral milestones. Children with ASD can make significant progress if the intervention received is structured, intensive and consistent.
How can biofeedback help?
Autism spectrum is a complicated neuro-behavioral condition. So you have to keep in mind it is a developmental disorder and not a mental health condition. Studies have shown – according to the Autism Society in Maryland – that autism shows up even in brain scans. The size and shape of a child’s brain is noticeably different from a neuro-typical child.
So this being said, we can go into the software of a biofeedback device – let’s take the NUCLEUS – and we can see where we can approach the brain and the neurons.
The first place we can start working on is in the Short Circle. Here we can go into the brain and work each part of the brain. Normally here, the first thing we should do is work generally the entire brain. By clicking on the white area you work the entire brain. When you start working with a child with autism, you will have them for more than one biofeedback session. Each session can be more specific. If you want to do the brainwave training and the correct developmental part of the brain, not only the biofeedback device will work on the entire brain, but you can work on each part specifically. Each therapy in that particular section is approximately 1 minute.
Apart from doing the brain in general by double-clicking the white area in the biofeedback device’s matrix as mentioned above, you can start clicking the main areas, the reticular formation which is very important to reduce the stress. You can then do each part of the brain, such as:
- The sensory speech
- The reading comprehension
- The parallel lobe
- The frontal lobe
- The motor speech area
- The temporal lobe
Each one, one by one, can be an entire session. First of all, we should treat stress because autistic children are much stressed. They are high-sensory children. In the Nucleus device’s matrix, click on the Alpha treat button for stress. The goal here is to have ‘normal’ as the highest number.
In the beginning, it’s recommended to do 2 or 3 biofeedback sessions with an autistic child, on a weekly basis, just so they can start getting used to it. And then, we can continue with 2 times a month. That’s enough for a child.
The good thing is that, from the very first session, children are very responsive to this type of therapy, they feel good and calm. Because they know and feel you are doing something really good for them.
For more specific and practical details on how a biofeedback device works in a therapy session for ASD, feel free to watch this webinar. And we’ll follow-up with part 2 of this interesting topic.