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Neurofeedback therapy is an effective, non-drug treatment protocol for a number of debilitating disorders, including Autism.
With the help of neurofeedback therapy, the Drake Institute has helped over 2,000 patients improve core symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder. Moreover, neurofeedback training can also reduce, or in some cases, completely eliminate co-occurring symptoms originating from secondary conditions such as ADHD, anxiety, depression, and language processing disorders.
How does it work?
In short, we use qEEG brain mapping to pinpoint which networks or neural circuits in the brain are misfiring or malfunctioning, thus causing or contributing to the patient’s autistic symptoms.
We then develop custom neurofeedback treatment protocols based on the findings for each patient. This allows neurofeedback to not only be more effective than medications, but far safer, as well.
If you’d like to learn more about how neurofeedback could help you or someone you know with Autism, please fill out our contact form or give us a call at 800-700-4233.
Neurofeedback is a type of biofeedback, sometimes referred to as EEG-Biofeedback.
However, while biofeedback is used to measure bodily functions, such as hand temperature, muscle tension, and heart rate variability, neurofeedback focuses on measuring and training activity in the brain.
Neurofeedback training focuses on teaching patients the inner workings of their brain and how they can alter their brainwave patterns to achieve healthier functioning, which in turn, reduces their negative symptoms.
Indeed, neurofeedback allows patients to take a more active role in their treatment, which allows the improvements to persist long-term.
During neurofeedback therapy, sensors are placed on the scalp to monitor and record the patient’s brainwaves
These findings are then compared to “normal” activity found in same-age individuals, which allows us to identify the regions of the brain that may be experiencing abnormal activity.
Our medical director then creates a neurofeedback training program that’s custom-tailored to the patient’s unique needs and circumstances.
This program shows the patient’s brainwaves as an animation on a screen, and with guidance from experienced staff, patients learn how to “shift” their brainwaves into a healthier mode of functioning that’s required for focus, organization, and follow-through.
For more information regarding the function of brainwaves, please continue reading below
Neurofeedback therapy aims to strengthen the connections in the brain and allow brainwave functioning improvement. To understand how this works, let’s take a look at the different brainwaves and their functions.
The slowest waves are delta waves. They generally occur during the deepest stages of sleep. This state allows your brain to rest and recharge and is crucial for proper functioning.
The next slowest waves are theta waves. They happen when you are in an “in-between” state: not fully awake but conscious. Theta waves show up when you are drifting off to sleep or are daydreaming. Like delta waves, theta brainwaves play an essential role in keeping our brain healthy.
Faster brainwaves are alpha and beta waves. Alpha waves occur when we are in a state of alert relaxation and are essential to achieving a state of calmness. Beta brainwaves have the highest frequency and show up when we are actively engaged in an activity or task. Homework or classroom work are activities that require these brainwaves.
Like the slower waves (delta and theta), the faster beta waves are necessary for optimal brain function. If they aren’t present as often as they should be, you might struggle with completing tasks.
Neurofeedback for autism spectrum disorder improves and strengthens a patient's brain wave patterns to achieve a more optimal balance of slow and fast brainwaves and connectivity in the brain. These improvements will help patients with autism function more effectively.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that occurs more frequently in boys than girls, and symptoms can vary enormously from child to child.
The spectrum includes previously separated diagnoses of Autism, Asperger’s, Pervasive Developmental Disorder not otherwise specified, and childhood integration disorder. However, all of these labels have been consolidated under the category of Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Cases of autism range from mild to severe. Those with milder symptoms can be very high functioning and they may even be difficult to identify. However, in severe cases, the quality of life of both the individual on the spectrum and their family members or caretakers can be negatively impacted due to their need for constant supervision and support.
There is no known cause of ASD or cure for it. Instead, our goal is to help those with an Autism Spectrum Disorder to reduce their symptoms.
There are several symptoms that accompany autism that can limit a person’s quality of life. However, with neurofeedback treatment, patients can learn to reduce these symptoms and live fuller and more rewarding lives.
Below are some of the most common symptoms exhibited by people on the spectrum.
So is neurofeedback therapy good for autism? Absolutely.
And although drug-based treatments may help manage behaviors, they don’t address the underlying cause of the problems and they are unlikely to provide lasting improvements. Furthermore, the medications used for autism can result in a number of unwanted side effects.
At the Drake Institute, we aim to help patients with Autism Spectrum Disorder by strengthening the functional connections in the brain and correcting brainwave abnormalities. To do this, we use advanced computer and medical technology to create custom-tailored treatment protocols for each and every patient. Here’s how.
Brain mapping is the first step in treating autism spectrum disorder with neurofeedback. During brain mapping, 19 sensors are placed on the scalp to record activity throughout the brain. This process is entirely painless and completely non-invasive.
The findings from brain mapping are then compared to “normal” brain activity, and from here, our medical professional can identify the areas of the brain that are functioning abnormally which are linked to symptoms, and subsequently need improvement.
The Drake Institute uses neurofeedback to treat a variety of disorders, including autism, stress, depression, anxiety, insomnia, PTSD, ADHD, and more. After brain mapping has concluded, our medical professional will develop a custom treatment protocol based on the patient’s individual needs.
For example, if the brain map shows that the patient has too many slow brainwaves (delta and theta) in frontal regions of the brain, we can create a treatment protocol that will help normalize these brainwaves towards more desired frequencies in order to achieve symptom reduction.
Once they learn the techniques to speed up their brainwaves, they can continue to use them even after their treatment ends and without neurofeedback therapy to guide them.
Learning these techniques is like riding a bike: once the patient has learned the skills, they’re not likely to forget them. This makes neurofeedback therapy good for autism since it gives patients the ability to influence their brainwaves towards more desirable and functional patterns.
Neurofeedback therapy is a safe, non-invasive, drug-free treatment for Autism Spectrum Disorder that can reduce symptoms and help patients achieve long-term relief.
And while there is no “cure” for Autism Spectrum Disorder, neurofeedback treatment can also have a positive impact on co-occurring symptoms for a whole host of disorders and can even improve concentration, focus, impulsivity, and hyperactivity.
Improving these symptoms leads to a better quality of life, more confidence, and more control for the patient.
Neurofeedback therapy is incredibly safe for autism treatment. There are no invasive procedures involved in the therapy. Likewise, it is not a drug-based treatment, so there is minimal risk of adverse side effects.
Neurofeedback therapy solely aims to help the patient gain control over their own brain function to experience symptom reduction and self-regulation. Studies have shown neurofeedback to effectively and safely reduce symptoms of autism.
If you’ve ever searched online for something like “neurofeedback for autism near me,” chances are you’re thinking about taking the leap into better mental and physical health, and the Drake Institute is here to help.
Neurofeedback treatment at the Drake Institute provides an effective treatment for autism, ADHD, depression, anxiety, insomnia, and stress disorders, among many more. And instead of short-term improvement, we aim to provide patients with long-term symptom relief.
If you’re asking yourself “does neurofeedback work for me?” and want to find out how neurofeedback therapy at the Drake Institute can help you or someone you know, give us a call at 800-700-4233 or fill out the form for a free consultation.
If you or a family member need help, please fill out our confidential online form
Interview with Dr. David Velkoff
Interview with Dr. David Velkoff
Spanish News Feature
“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.”