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Neuroplasticity Therapies may be useful for people diagnosed with Autism.
Below you will see a description of the outward symptoms of Autism, however, it is really important to note that a professional using neuroplasticity therapies will decide upon a treatment plan using much more than just symptoms. This is because neuroplasticity therapies aim to target a particular part/s of the brain, based on an individual assessment.
Symptoms are simply not enough information to guide a treatment plan, and a professional working with neuroplasticity therapies will be guided by an individual assessment on a person. Although some general therapies and activities can help with Autism, the more personalised a treatment plan is, the better.
Treat the patient not the diagnosis
To understand this better, it is really recommended that you read this article from ‘Treat the patient, not the diagnosis :
According to the DSM-5 someone with autism will have persistent deficits in social communication and social interaction across multiple contexts, as manifested by the following, currently or by history (examples are illustrative, not exhaustive):
- Deficits in social-emotional reciprocity, ranging, for example, from abnormal social approach and failure of normal back-and-forth conversation; to reduced sharing of interests, emotions, or affect; to failure to initiate or respond to social interactions.
- Deficits in nonverbal communicative behaviours used for social interaction, ranging, for example, from poorly integrated verbal and nonverbal communication; to abnormalities in eye contact and body language or deficits in understanding and use of gestures; to a total lack of facial expressions and nonverbal communication.
- Deficits in developing, maintaining, and understand relationships, ranging, for example, from difficulties adjusting behaviour to suit various social contexts; to difficulties in sharing imaginative play or in making friends; to absence of interest in peers.
NB in Neuro plasticity therapies, typically, symptoms provide only a part of the information necessary to form a picture of how well a person’s brain is functioning, and where it might need some attention. Instead, further assessments provide a much fuller picture of brain function, where issues lie and indicate what treatments and protocols may be of help.
Neuroplasticity Therapies for Autism
If you imagine the brain as like a house, there are several ways to get into a house:
- and, if you are Father Christmas, the chimney!
In a similar way there are many possible routes into the brain, or more accurately, routes to stimulate the brain. These can include movement, balance, vision, listening, taste, smell, and many more. The brain does not operate its regions in isolation (this is the concept of the connectome – some information about this is here: http://www.humanconnectomeproject.org/about/), and hence ‘going into the brain via one route’ can often stimulate more than just the regions predominantly responsible for that task. For example, if you used vision to stimulate the brain, although there is a region of the brain with the primary responsibility for vision (the occipital lobe), it interacts with various other brain regions in order to generate clear sight. This means that using sight, we can stimulate (activate) various brain regions, and a skilled neuroplasticity therapies professional will be aiming to stimulate specific areas of the brain via using such a technique.
It is also crucial to understand that in order for neuroplasticity therapies to have their greatest potential effect in the brain, so the brain needs to be as healthy as possible. For this reason, a practitioner is likely to want to offer advice (or referrals to relevant colleagues) on factors such as diet and sleep.
What to expect
Using various assessments, you should expect a professional using Neuroplasticity Therapies to always take into account much more than just the external symptoms which come with the diagnosis. They will usually achieve this via assessments to establish what is going on in the brain. Once they have an understanding of what regions need attention, they will carry out interventions with you and are likely to ask you to complete some interventions in your own time, for a set duration.
To understand more about Neuroplasticity Therapies (including where to find a therapist), you can:
Discover the wide range of sensory, balance, movement, lifestyle therapies incorporated under neuroplasticity therapies.