How Does Brain Mapping For Autism Work? Is It Effective?

Brain mapping for autism is an effective assessment tool for developing biofeedback and neurofeedback treatment protocols.

This safe and non-invasive process identifies areas of brain dysregulation linked to symptoms of neurodevelopment disorders, like Autism Spectrum Disorder and ADHD. After brain map analysis, we can create a customized treatment program to improve the individual’s dysregulated brain activity without medications or invasive procedures.

For more than 40 years, the Drake Institute has utilized brain mapping technology to deliver treatment to patients with anxiety disorders, insomnia, ADHD, Autism, and more. Patients have achieved lasting results and improved their quality of life.

For more information about how the Drake Institute uses qEEG brain mapping for autism, call us at 800-700-4233 or fill out the contact form.



What Is Brain Mapping & How Does It Work?

Brain mapping for autism treatment is the first step in neurofeedback therapy. It allows an in-depth look at the patient’s individual brain activity to identify any areas that may be misfiring or dysregulated which are linked to symptoms.

To map the brain, 19 sensors are placed around the patient’s scalp in predetermined locations related to executive functioning, memory, emotional regulation, focus, impulse control, social processing, expressive and receptive language, and more. These sensors then measure and record the brain’s activity in these networks.

The brainwave activity is recorded and then processed through a normative FDA-registered reference database of same-age, asymptomatic individuals. In other words, the patient’s brain map results are compared to the database of neuro-typical patients. This comparison helps us identify specific areas of dysregulation that could be contributing to symptoms.

When dysregulation is identified, a customized treatment protocol is designed to address those specific areas. During treatment, the patient is training one’s brain to healthier, more functionally optimal patterns.

Understanding Brain Waves

The brain is made up of what is called “functional networks.” All this means is that within the brain, neurons communicate with each other in specific areas to perform various tasks. These tasks are much more difficult to complete when communication is impaired. These functional networks are responsible for:

  • Attention & Concentration
  • Working Memory
  • Short-Term Memory
  • Emotional Regulation
  • Mood (Anxiety and Depression)
  • Behavioral Control
  • Executive Functioning
  • Visual-Spatial Perception
  • Social Awareness and Comprehension
  • Language Processing

The brain’s activity is measured in different types of brainwaves, as well as the connectivity between brainwaves.

Beta Waves

Beta waves are fast brainwaves. These waves occur when you need to concentrate or focus. These brainwave patterns are necessary for sustained focus and task completion, academic or job-related, and for impulse control. But if they are excessive, they can cause anxiety, obsessions, and sleep disturbances.

Alpha Waves

Alpha waves are a slower frequency brainwave and are necessary to be able to relax.  Alpha waves are increased maximally in the posterior part of the brain when closing your eyes and relaxing or meditating. Research has shown that people who suffer from alcohol problems can be deficient in alpha brainwaves.

Theta Waves

Theta waves are slower brainwaves that occur in a deeper state of relaxation and enable us to fall asleep. Children with ADHD and autism can have excessive theta waves during the daytime, which reflects the brain under-functioning in those areas.

Delta Waves

Delta brainwaves are the slowest frequency waves. They occur more dominantly during infancy and during the deepest stages of sleep. Delta waves let the brain rest and recuperate from a day of mental activity.

The Importance Of Functional Networks

The brain’s functional networks are crucial in performing different tasks. Completing these tasks, especially ones that require a lot of focus, is much more difficult when brain networks are dysregulated.

For instance, during a challenging exam, the parts of the brain related to concentration and working memory networks must be communicating well otherwise, it could take you much longer to complete the exams due to reduced cognitive efficiency and slower processing speed.

An excess of delta or theta waves would suggest an under-functioning in those areas of the brain, with resultant symptoms.

Because these functional networks are so essential for healthy and optimal brain function, brain mapping is an invaluable instrument for linking symptoms to brain dysregulation.

What Is Autism?

Autism Spectrum Disorder is a category of neurodevelopmental disorders that includes what we used to call Autism, Asperger’s Disorder, and pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS).

Symptoms vary depending on the severity of the disorder and the child’s IQ. According to the CDC, around 1 in 68 children in the US has an Autism Spectrum Disorder. [i]

Symptoms of Autism

Symptoms of autism can range from mild to severe and may take a couple of years to fully manifest. Initially, a child may appear to be developing normally alongside peers but experience a regression at around 2-3 years old. Some children may show developmental delay within their first two years of life. In milder cases, symptoms may not be noticeable until later on.

Because of the nature of Autism Spectrum Disorder and the way that the brain’s functional networks communicate, children with autism may experience various symptoms that overlap with other disorders. For instance, hyperactivity and impulsivity that are generally associated with ADHD may also be present in people with autism. Primary symptoms of autism include:

  • Impaired Social Interaction
  • Impaired Communication (verbal and nonverbal)
  • Restricted Interests
  • Repetitive Behaviors

What Causes Autism?

Autism Spectrum Disorder is complex and the causes can be difficult to identify. There are many hypotheses or controversies on what causes Autism, but both genetics and environmental factors may play a role.

In some children, genetic disorders like fragile X syndrome can cause autism. Genes affecting brain development and functional networks may also lead to autism. [ii]

It is also possible that environmental factors can play a role in developing autism. Previous infections, inflammation, complications during pregnancy, and environmental pollutants may potentially play a role in the development of the disorder. [iii]

How Is Brain Mapping Used To Treat Autism?

Brain mapping is an invaluable diagnostic and treatment instrument for a variety of brain-based disorders, including autism. It enables medical professionals to identify the areas of the brain which are dysregulated that are linked to symptoms. This information allows for a more in-depth understanding of what’s driving the symptoms, allowing us to create a more effective treatment protocol.

Essentially, qEEG brain mapping for autism helps ensure that the appropriate brain networks are being addressed.

How The Drake Institute Treats Autism

For decades, the Drake Institute has used advanced treatment technologies to treat various medical conditions, including ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorders, depression, stress, and anxiety.

We use qEEG brain mapping and neurofeedback to develop customized treatment protocols for the patient’s individual needs.

Brain Mapping

As mentioned above, brain mapping for autism is the first step in an effective treatment plan. After mapping the patient’s brainwave activity, our medical director can design a treatment program that aims to reduce symptoms.


After the brain has been mapped, neurofeedback therapy is the next step in the treatment of autism.

Once again, sensors are placed on the scalp to record the patient’s brainwave activity.  This activity is then displayed in real-time on a computer screen in a form that is easy to comprehend, including auditory feedback.

As a result of the treatment, the patient is able to improve and stabilize more optimally functioning neuro-connections.

Neurofeedback and brain mapping are both non-drug and non-invasive, making them safe for children and adults.

Contact The Drake Institute Today!

If your child is showing signs of developmental delay or has an autism diagnosis, find out how brain mapping for autism treatment can be a helpful first step. Call the Drake Institute at 800-700-4233 or fill out the free consultation form below.





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“David F. Velkoff, M.D., our Medical Director and co-founder, supervises all evaluation procedures and treatment programs. He is recognized as a physician pioneer in using biofeedback, qEEG brain mapping, neurofeedback, and neuromodulation in the treatment of ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorders, and stress related illnesses including anxiety, depression, insomnia, and high blood pressure. Dr. David Velkoff earned his Master’s degree in Psychology from the California State University at Los Angeles in 1975, and his Doctor of Medicine degree from Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta in 1976. This was followed by Dr. Velkoff completing his internship in Obstetrics and Gynecology with an elective in Neurology at the University of California Medical Center in Irvine. He then shifted his specialty to Neurophysical Medicine and received his initial training in biofeedback/neurofeedback in Neurophysical Medicine from the leading doctors in the world in biofeedback at the renown Menninger Clinic in Topeka, Kansas. In 1980, he co-founded the Drake Institute of Neurophysical Medicine. Seeking to better understand the link between illness and the mind, Dr. Velkoff served as the clinical director of an international research study on psychoneuroimmunology with the UCLA School of Medicine, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, and the Pasteur Institute in Paris. This was a follow-up study to an earlier clinical collaborative effort with UCLA School of Medicine demonstrating how the Drake Institute's stress treatment resulted in improved immune functioning of natural killer cell activity. Dr. Velkoff served as one of the founding associate editors of the scientific publication, Journal of Neurotherapy. He has been an invited guest lecturer at Los Angeles Children's Hospital, UCLA, Cedars Sinai Medical Center-Thalians Mental Health Center, St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica, California, and CHADD. He has been a medical consultant in Neurophysical Medicine to CNN, National Geographic Channel, Discovery Channel, Univision, and PBS.”

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