EEG Biofeedback (Neurofeedback Training) is essentially a form of brain training, or brain exercise, that coaxes the brain to produce “optimum” levels of the different types of brain waves – alpha, beta, theta, delta and others.It has shown promising results for autism treatment. Autistic children who underwent neurofeedback have displayed improved behavior, clearer speech, better focus and even improvements in their IQ and school exam scores.
Increasing numbers of health care professionals – including many who follow the Defeat Autism Now! protocol developed by the Autism Research Institute – have thus adopted EEG Biofeedback as a core element of autism treatment.
This is usually achieved with the help of computer games, such as the popular PacMan. But unlike regular computer games, the person does not “play” by controlling a joystick, mouse, keyboard or other device. Instead, sensors are attached to the scalp and these sensors pick up brain signals that influence the way the game progresses.
But this is not a form of mind control either. Any attempt to mentally control the outcome of the game – by thinking, concentrating or even by deliberately trying to relax – will not help.
Such attempts usually cause the game to stop. Instead, the person is supposed to naturally “allow” the game to proceed by generating the desired mix of brain waves.
Sensors may be placed at different points on the scalp that correspond to different regions of the brain. This way, the different regions of the brain may be “trained”.
Since the different regions of the brain control different functions and behaviors, neurofeedback training is able to target each of them specifically.
For example, the left hemisphere of the brain, or left brain, is associated with language and sequencing skills. The right hemisphere, or right brain, is associated with the sense of self / sense of other, sense of the body in space, emotional connectedness and sleep.
"We have found certain frequencies to be important in training autistic behavior. We have also found certain locations on the scalp to be particularly important. These often tend to be very specific to the person being trained." – Susan F Othmer and Siegfried Othmer, Autism Society of America
One way to understand EEG Biofeedback is to think of it as helping brain cells to establish connections or communications. From the perspective of neurofeedback, autism may be seen as a condition whereby the brain’s internal communications has broken down. For children with autism, neurofeedback trains the brain to communicate internally and challenges the brain to regulate specific regions. Some regions will be trained to calm down while other regions will be trained to activate.
Another way to understand neurofeedback is to see it as helping improve the "software” of the brain.
Thus, neurofeedback training goes hand in hand with the biomedical approach to autism, which seeks to improve the “hardware” of the brain – and the body – through detoxification, nutritional supplements, diet control and solving problems such as yeast and bacteria infection. In particular, EEG Biofeedback complements hyperbaric oxygen therapy or HBOT, which has been proven to help the recovery of injured brain cells. Once these cells have recovered, EEG Biofeedback them to function better.