The Truth About Autism & Aspergers
You may hear a lot of people mention Asperger’s syndrome in the same breath as autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Asperger’s was once considered different from ASD. But a diagnosis of Asperger’s no longer exists. The signs and symptoms that were once part of an Asperger’s diagnosis now fall under ASD. There are historical differences between the term “Asperger’s” and what’s considered “autism.” But it’s worth getting into what exactly Asperger’s is and why it’s now considered a part of ASD.
How is Autism & Aspergers Usually Treated?
Neither what was previously diagnosed as Asperger’s nor autism is a medical condition that needs to be “treated.”
Those diagnosed with autism are considered “neurodivergent.” Autistic behaviors aren’t considered what’s socially typical. But that doesn’t mean that autism indicates there’s anything wrong with you.
What’s most important is that you or someone in your life who’s been diagnosed with autism know that they’re loved, accepted, and supported by the people around them.
Not everyone in the autism community agrees that autistic people don’t need medical treatment.
There’s an ongoing debate between those who see autism as a disabilityTrusted Source that needs medical treatment (the “medical model”) and those who see autism “treatment” in the form of securing disability rights, like fair employment practices and healthcare coverage.
Here are some treatment options for Asperger’sTrusted Source if you believe you or a loved one needs treatment for behaviors traditionally considered part of an Asperger’s diagnosis:
- psychological therapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
- medications for anxiety or obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
- speech or language therapy
- dietary modification or supplements
- complementary treatment options, such as massage therapy
What about Autism & Aspergers?
Not all autistic children exhibit the same signs of autism or experience these signs to the same degree.
That’s why autism is considered to be on a spectrum. There’s a wide range of behaviors and experiences that are considered to fall under the umbrella of an autism diagnosis.
Here’s a brief overview of behaviors that may cause someone to be diagnosed with autism:
- differences in processing sensory experiences, like touch or sound, from those who are considered “neurotypical”
- differences in learning styles and problem-solving approaches, like quickly learning complex or difficult topics but having difficulty mastering physical tasks or conversational turn-taking
- deep, sustained special interests in specific topics
- repetitive movements or behaviors (sometimes called “stimming”), like flapping hands or rocking back and forth
- strong desire to maintain routines or establishing order, like following the same schedule each day or organizing personal belongings a certain way
- difficulty processing and producing verbal or nonverbal communication, like having trouble expressing thoughts in words or displaying emotions outwardly
- difficulty processing or participating in neurotypical social interactive contexts, like by greeting someone back who’s greeted them
Can Neurofeedback Help?
Neurofeedback is very effective at stabilizing and regulating brain function, and it helps the brain change itself without medication. Improvements from neurofeedback extend beyond the training period, yielding sustainable results. Once a new brain pattern has been learned, the patient tends not to forget it just like we don’t usually forget how to ride a bike once that skill has been well-learned.
With medication, and even supplements, the benefits usually disappear when the treatment is stopped. Plus, unlike medication, neurofeedback does not have any long-term side effects. As an alternative to medications, neurofeedback can often help people reduce or eliminate drugs for autism and ASD as their brains become more stable.
Neurofeedback has been shown to help in alleviating many of the symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder. The first thing most parents notice is the calming effect of neurofeedback training. They consistently tell us that their children are able to manage their emotions better and do not get overwhelmed as easily.
Other changes parents observe include:
- Initiation of touch and contact
- Reduced emotional outbursts
- Increased tolerance to change
- Slower, clearer speech patterns
- Better responses to parental and teacher instructions
- Less ritualistic and more imaginative thought
- Decreased hyperactivity and impulsivity, heightened levels of focus
- Diminished anxiety, more stable and calm
- Better social skills and enhanced relationships