New insights into the causes of autism spectrum disorders (Autism, Asperger’s, ADHD, Dyslexia, OCD) have been published. The fact that autism affects 1 in 88 children is broadly accepted now; some label it an epidemic.
The breaking news is that it has been scientifically proven that children presenting with these disorders have connectivity problems in their brains. The most recent research came out of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia on February 17, 2012.
The study, published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, found that “the brains of children who developed autism were markedly different even prior to the onset of behavioral symptoms of autism,” according to Sarah Paterson, director of the Infant Neuroimaging Lab at CHOP’s Center for Autism Research.
Their news corroborates findings in London’s “Current Biology” that state different brain responses exist between high and low-risk babies for developing autism. Brain activity and development, now measurable as early as six months, opens up the possibility of diagnosing autism significantly earlier without having to wait for behavioral indicators, according to the director.
What this means is that early detection and intervention is right around the corner for the growing number of infants at risk for the discovery of autism. These developments come on the recent 21st century heels of earlier assertions that autism spectrum disorders, such as ADHD and dyslexia, are tied to brain connectivity issues, as well.
Both independently and collaboratively, scientific studies support the theory that the brain’s activity holds the secrets to unlocking the Pandora’s Box of children’s learning disorders.
Where do we go with these findings? “My son is doing badly in school.” “My grandchild can’t communicate with me.” “It breaks my heart that my child has difficulty making friends.”
Since the 1990s, doctors agree that the human brain has the ability to grow new connections, and, in fact, that this capability is the basis of all learning. This concept is called neuroplasticity.
Over a decade ago the Brain Balance Achievement Centers were founded on the principle that children with learning and behavioral difficulties have “functional disconnect syndrome,” which refers to disintegrated functioning in the brain in the absence of anatomical damage. In other words, “Something just isn’t right with my child, but all the tests say he’s ‘normal.’” A “disconnect” exists due to one side of the brain being less active than the other.
To correct the evident problem of the child, the first line of attack is to determine which areas of the brain have reduced connectivity. Following a comprehensive evaluation, a program to promote neuroplasticity is designed to facilitate improved function in the brain as a whole: to balance the brain.
Why these brains are under-connected is unresolved, admittedly. But, regardless of the underlying cause, finally, scientists are in agreement that these disconnections exist. At BBC the goal is to determine if children have weak areas, which they are, and then formulate a three-pronged approach, with sensory, cognitive, and nutrition training, to recharge the lower functioning areas to bring them in alignment with the dominant side of their brains.
While researchers consistently explore, discover, and uncover the mysteries of the brain in relation to children on “the spectrum,” the Brain Balance Centers work with children and their families to lead them to unexpected and what had previously seemed to be unattainable improvement.
Vincent G. Kiechlin, DC, DACNB Peak Chiropractic Neurology 601 Ewing Street, Suite B-1 Princeton, New Jersey 08540 Phone: 609-683-0580 Fax: 609-921-2995
A graduate of St. Peter’s College of Jersey City as well as Los Angeles College of Chiropractic and The Carrick Institute for Advanced Study, Dr. Kiechlin has practice chiropractic neurology for over 10 years. He is experienced with children who have learning disabilities and neuro-developmental issues as well as neuro-typical children who experience balance and coordination problems. Dr. Kiechlin is a frequent lecturer and serves as special advisor to the Board of The New Temperament, a psychological assessment model based in interactive neuroscience.