Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a complex developmental condition involving persistent challenges with social communication, restricted interests, and repetitive behavior. While autism is considered a lifelong disorder, the degree of impairment in functioning because of these challenges varies between individuals with autism.
Diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorders
Early signs of this disorder can be noticed by parents/caregivers or pediatricians before a child reaches one year of age. However, symptoms typically become more consistently visible by the time a child is 2 or 3 years old. In some cases, the functional impairment related to autism may be mild and not apparent until the child starts school, after which their deficits may be pronounced when amongst their peers.
Social communication deficits may include:
- Decreased sharing of interests with others
- Difficulty appreciating their own & others’ emotions
- Aversion to maintaining eye contact
- Lack of proficiency with use of non-verbal gestures
- Stilted or scripted speech
- Interpreting abstract ideas literally
- Difficulty making friends or keeping them
Restricted interests and repetitive behaviors may include:
- Inflexibility of behavior, extreme difficulty coping with change
- Being overly focused on niche subjects to the exclusion of others
- Expecting others to be equally interested in those subjects
- Difficulty tolerating changes in routine and new experiences
- Sensory hypersensitivity, e.g., aversion to loud noises
- Stereotypical movements such as hand flapping, rocking, spinning
- Arranging things, often toys, in a very particular manner
Neurofeedback is an emerging treatment option for autism. Through neurofeedback therapy treatments, specific brain activation is targeted that can lead to symptom reduction and functional improvement. It can support your child with behaviour management and stereotypies, emotional stability, social communication, speech development, and academic performance.