Article By: Phil Bate PhD
Article Date: 07/28/2008Only in the past few years have some Neurofeedback (NFB) clinicians worked with autistic children. Success has been rare. Few parents can afford the horrible cost, and few clinicians are willing to take on an autistic child, because of the difficulties involved.
1. How do you attach sensors to an autistic child? Even using a helmet?
2. If you get a connection, how do you motivate such a child? (A key to success).
3. The cost can bankrupt any family except the very wealthy.
Enter Neuroliminal Training (NT). All three of the above problems above are solved with its usage. There is no sensor attachment needed, nor any helmet, nor is motivation important. Since NT works by using a subliminal messaging technique that works during sleep, or as a background to play or study, It can be done at home using a repeating CD, and at an affordable cost to even a low income family. NT improves autism symptoms gradually over time in the same way as NFB.
Neuroliminal Training (NT) does for autistics exactly the same three things that NFB training does – namely raise the SMR brain wave, lower the Theta brainwave, and increase the brain blood flow. (The latest NFB therapy includes HEG biofeedback which does this by feedback techniques). Hyperbaric therapy has had some known success with increasing oxygen as well, although itâ€™s relatively expensive.
With volunteer tests and studies, it has been well proven that success rates are very similar for both NFB and NT. The only real difference is cost. For an average ADHD child to be â€œcuredâ€ (cure being defined in current NFB circles as â€œsitting still in class, paying attention to study, getting good grades, and in most cases, jumping in IQ scoresâ€) costs $4000. For NT, the total cost is $197. (An autistic child requires many more sessions than an ADD/ADHD child).
Although I believe that there is a â€œcontinuumâ€ between the simplest ADD child that cannot seem to concentrate on studying and a true non-communicative autistic child, there is one major difference. A person on the autism portion of that continuum may have had actual brain damage, whereas, the ADD/ADHD child has probably had little or none. Thus, a â€œcureâ€ for ADD/ADHD is possible, but for not for autism.
To improve autism symptoms, simple â€œbaby stepsâ€ toward â€œnormal behaviorâ€ are what is seen using either NFB or NT. The good news is that continued usage continues improvement. This is a long slow process, and there are several alternate therapies which may be used at the same time. These are described in the NT literature. These include diets, the use of enzymes, probiotics, free allergy tests etc.
This â€œbrain damageâ€ that makes autism such a problem may be caused by various traumatic episodes such as an overload of mercury or other mineral toxicity, a birth or pregnancy injury, continual malnutrition (or drug addiction) by the mother during pregnancy, etc.
Of course, this autism spectrum is large and variable with each individual. Not to mention, the misdiagnosed cases. A high functioning autistic child might easily be thought to be in the ADD/ADHD range. Remember that all doctors have to make a diagnosis that will allow them to be paid from insurance carriers, and this makes the whole diagnostic process a mockery.
The â€œacceptedâ€ average success rate of Neurofeedback (NFB) (aka EEG BF) for ADD/ADHD is between 85-90%. I suspect that a large part of these 10-15% â€œfailuresâ€ are due to misdiagnosis of ADD/ADHD, where there has been brain damage, and the diagnosis should have been autism.
Another portion of these failures has to be due to the failure of the clinicians to be â€œgood motivators of their patients. Motivation is a key to success of NFB.
Almost 40 years ago, it was found that by raising one small brain wave adjacent to the Alpha brain wave (around 13-14 Hz) – since named the SMR brain wave), some almost miraculous things happened. We do not â€œknowâ€ what causes these good changes, but the theory I put forth in 2000 is that â€œraising the SMR brain wave somehow changes the affect of allergens on the brainâ€. (If you look at the mental problems that are caused by allergens, and compare that list to the NFB cures over the past 30 + years, you can easily see the reason why I came up with that theory..)
In orthomolecular circles, it is well known that allergens, usually unsuspected, are the basic cause of stress causing all mental â€œdiseaseâ€. There is also a lot of anecdotal evidence that raising the SMR brain wave either â€œcuresâ€ some allergies, or lessens the effect on the patient.
NASA scientists found that lowering the Theta brain wave increases concentration (attention), and they spend hours â€œbrainwashingâ€ jet pilots and astronauts to lower their Theta brain wave. This has become a â€œstandard therapyâ€ for NFB as a result.
However, what most NFB clinicians donâ€™t know is that by lowering Theta, we also lower â€œcreativityâ€, or â€œartistic abilityâ€. Of course, in all â€œattentionâ€ cases, including autism, this is not as important as social happiness of the child involved. In the case of the astronauts, concentration on the myriad dials and readouts and controls is critical to their jobs, and artistic ability is easily sacrificed.
In a recent conference, I heard about an autistic girl that was a real savant in mathematics and music. They used an experimental stem cell transplant on her, and it improved her autism symptoms dramatically, but it also cut her savant ability in half.
The Autism CD package does lower Theta, while the SMR plus does not. SMR Plus is the recommended one for all forms of depression, including PTSD, insomnia, epilepsy, Fibromyalgia, etc.
NFB works by a sort of beneficial brainwashing using the conscious mind getting feedback on what the SMR brain wave is doing, and trying by conscious concentration to raise this wave. (Or lower the Theta brain wave at the same time with attention issues).
NT also works by a beneficial brainwashing that raises the SMR brain wave, but NT uses subliminal messaging instead of feedback using the conscious mind.. It also lowers the Theta brain wave if there are â€œattention issuesâ€ (ADD/ADHD/autism). For other brain problems, such as insomnia, depression, epilepsy, PTSD, anxiety, etc there is no useful purpose served in lowering Theta, so it is not done. (This is the SMR Plus CD package.)
Dr Bate is a retired Orthomolecular Psychologist and the inventor of Neuroliminal Training (NT) therapy that does the same things as neurofeedback, but at an affordable cost. For more details – http://ADHD-Autism.com