Neurofeedback for Asperger's, anyone???

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    Hi all! My background is acute care, so all this is new to me. Recent events have us hooked up (no pun intended) with a therapist who is very pro neurofeedback as a method to manage some really extreme behavior in my 4 year old son. She suspects Asperger's, which is also fairly unknown to me. I've read a bunch of online stuff, but you know, what do you believe and what is snake oil? Anyone with first hand experience with neurofeedback and/or Asperger's preschoolers, I'd love to get your input as well as any good reference material. DH and DD have ADD, now DS with Asperger's???? I need drugs....LOL
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    Swat, I do know that lots of clinicians are dxing Asperger's in kids as young as your's, but it is very difficult to make a definitive Asperger's dx before age 6. Kids just haven't matured to the point where it is easy to flesh out the subtleties that differentiate Asperger's, IMHO (actually not just my opinion, you'll find plenty of diagnosticians who say the same thing). I really like Tony Attwood's materials. He specializes in Asperger's, and has a clear, concise writing style that I makes it easier to absorb complex material. If you haven't read it already, his simply titled 'Asperger Syndrome' is well worth your time. I also like 'Asperger Syndrome in the Family: Redefining Normal' by Liane Holliday Willey. I've not tried neurofeedback with my son, but I know some parents who have. Most feel that it helped, a couple feel it did not, so I'm not much help in that department. Have you checked out O.A.S.I.S (Online Asperger Syndrome Information and Support)? Lots of good information there, http://www.udel.edu/bkirby/asperger/
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    mercy, thanks so much for your reply. I have just begun to wade through a multitude of material, and have heard Attwood's name before, glad to have your thumbs up. All this is so new, and not at all expected. But from what I have found, many Asperger kids are highly intellegent, so we have a lot of hope for him.
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    I just wanted to give you some support - my 25 yr-old brother has Aperger's. Yes, growing up for him was pure HE**, because of the social awkwardness/inappropriateness. However, we were both forced to live very social and structured lives at young ages (shipped off to a different country for boarding school) and he just thrived! I've heard children with AS do very well in structured environments, and it was true. Even though my brother never wanted to socialise, my mother forced him too (not always a good thing), but I believe it gave him the skills that has made him successful today.

    He is now a chemical engineer for a large company and is doing VERY well for himself both financially and socially. Funny, I read an article about AS a hile ago and it said that many with the disorder end up being engineers! Go figure.

    If it is indeed AS that your child has, I can understand the challenging road you may have ahead of you. Hang in there!

    Camel
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    Quote from Camelhappy1
    I just wanted to give you some support - my 25 yr-old brother has Aperger's. Yes, growing up for him was pure HE**, because of the social awkwardness/inappropriateness. However, we were both forced to live very social and structured lives at young ages (shipped off to a different country for boarding school) and he just thrived! I've heard children with AS do very well in structured environments, and it was true. Even though my brother never wanted to socialise, my mother forced him too (not always a good thing), but I believe it gave him the skills that has made him successful today.

    He is now a chemical engineer for a large company and is doing VERY well for himself both financially and socially. Funny, I read an article about AS a hile ago and it said that many with the disorder end up being engineers! Go figure.

    If it is indeed AS that your child has, I can understand the challenging road you may have ahead of you. Hang in there!

    Camel
    I once heard a man named Fred Beers speak. He wasn't dxed with Asperger's until he was an adult. He must be in his 50s now, but he has a successful career and marriage and attributes this to having been raised in a military family. His father was a big believer in structure and routine, and he says that benefited him greatly as a child and adult. Unfortunately for my son (who has autism, not Asperger's) my husband and I both of a more relaxed nature and structure certainly doesn't come easy to us.
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    I guess we were fortunate to live the lifestyle we did - but my mother swears if we hadn't, she would have sent my bro to miltary academy:chuckle
    Poor thing probably would have gotten beaten up!

    But yes, although socially inept at times, they are very high functioning and intelligent individuals. That loser always had me beat when it came to math/sciences (whereas I had to do chem x3!) Hehe
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    Google Sue and Seigfried Othmer in Woodland Hills, CA about their work with neurofeedback and Aspergers' and Autism Spectrum Disorder. I know they have been experiencing a great deal of success with autism, but I haven't heard anything lately in regard to new developements with Asbergers. It's worth a try since neurofeedback does not require medication, and once this 'brain training' is done, it's done. Like learning to type- every time you want to type a letter, you don't have to relearn to type.
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    Quote from SWAT_RN
    Hi all! My background is acute care, so all this is new to me. Recent events have us hooked up (no pun intended) with a therapist who is very pro neurofeedback as a method to manage some really extreme behavior in my 4 year old son. She suspects Asperger's, which is also fairly unknown to me. I've read a bunch of online stuff, but you know, what do you believe and what is snake oil? Anyone with first hand experience with neurofeedback and/or Asperger's preschoolers, I'd love to get your input as well as any good reference material. DH and DD have ADD, now DS with Asperger's???? I need drugs....LOL
    Dear Swat,

    As some with a RN, BSN, & MD who uses Neurofeedback in my practice I can say this. Neurofeedback can be used with Autistic Spectrums. However, with Aspergers. I feel he is better off being mananged by a Psychiatrist. The reason being is this in Aspergers they are high functioning Austism.

    By definition, those with AS have a normal IQ and many individuals (although not all), exhibit exceptional skill or talent in a specific area. Because of their high degree of functionality and their naiveté, those with AS are often viewed as eccentric or odd and can easily become victims of teasing and bullying. While language development seems, on the surface, normal, individuals with AS often have deficits in pragmatics and prosody. Vocabularies may be extraordinarily rich and some children sound like "little professors." However, persons with AS can be extremely literal and have difficulty using language in a social context.
    At this time there is a great deal of debate as to exactly where AS fits. It is presently described as an autism spectrum disorder and Uta Frith, in her book AUTISM AND ASPERGER'S SYNDROME, described AS individuals as "having a dash of Autism". Some professionals feel that AS is the same as High Functioning Autism, while others feel that it is better described as a Nonverbal Learning Disability. AS shares many of the characteristics of PDD-NOS (Pervasive Developmental Disorder; Not otherwise specified), HFA, and NLD and because it was virtually unknown until a few years ago, many individuals either received an incorrect diagnosis or remained undiagnosed. For example, it is not at all uncommon for a child who was initially diagnosed with ADD or ADHD be re-diagnosed with AS. In addition, some individuals who were originally diagnosed with HFA or PDD-NOS are now being given the AS diagnosis and many individuals have a dual diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome and High Functioning Autism. I have seen some Aspergers with alot characterists of ASPD.

    So here is the bottom line I believe neurofeedback can help help with some of the symptoms like getting the child to focus. I think neurofeedback can help on the margins but not as the primary therapy. If he has speech and language problems ,a speech therapist is primary then then psychiatry, then neurofeedback as only an adjuct therapy. That would be the approach if it were my child.
    Last edit by docus on Jul 4, '07
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    I look forward to your response
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    Here is the latest from the Seigfried and Sue Othmer, who are on the cutting edge of neurofeedback treatment of people with Autism and Aspergers:

    "Children have certainly been taken to the point where they lose their autism diagnosis. This is now much more likely even than before if NF is combined with some or all of the biomedical remedies recommended by the DAN docs, and if NF is done over the longer term, perhaps in combination with The Listening Program.

    Asperger's is really a distinct condition, It is not simply a milder form of autism, and so it does not lie in the path of recovery from autism.

    What is becoming quite clear is that we can have the most immediate beneficial impact with neurofeedback in comparison with all other standard therapy approaches. The average symptom improvement now lies in the range of 2-3% per session, and that does not even cover the new functional capacities that are brought into play. Both the behavioral alternatives and the biomedical approaches just take a lot longer, as well as being much more demanding on the family.

    Siegfried"

    The 'Dan' approach involves diet and nutrition, and The Listening Program can be googled for more information.

    The point here is that vast improvement is being made in Autism and Aspergers clients through the use of neurofeedback. Look into it. 2 to 3% improvement per session is a lot of improvement, and since this is learning, it isn't like medication that has to be refilled, and the learning isn't rapidly lost if treatment is missed.
    Good luck.


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