Biofeedback: The Untapped Potential in Autism Treatment

Biofeedback: The Untapped Potential in Autism Treatment
by Kaelan Brightmoor Aug, 6 2023

Unveiling the Mystery of Biofeedback

My journey with biofeedback actually began in a rather unexpected place: the brightly lit vet clinic down the road where our beloved cat Mittens was diagnosed with bladder inflammation. Call me Kaelan if you will. I'm a blogger and a father from Auckland, New Zealand. I found myself sitting across from a young vet who suggested something called 'biofeedback training' - a way to help Mittens regain control over her urinary functions. To say I was intrigued would be an understatement.

I wondered, could this technique also be applied to humans? My exploration led me to an exciting world of neuroscience intersecting with therapy, where biofeedback had become a well-accepted phenomenon. Amara, my better half, was equally captivated, and together we dove into the research around biofeedback and its potential in the realm of autism treatment. So, here goes, a dive into the untapped potential of biofeedback in autism treatment, filled with insights and delightful discoveries.

A Journey into the World of Biofeedback

Biofeedback, as explained by professionals and countless research, is a technique in which individuals learn to control their physiological processes. Imagine this: you're training yourself to control your heart rate like you're adjusting the volume knob on a speaker. It's profound, isn't it?

Not only the heart rate, biofeedback has been successfully employed for a variety of bodily functions - muscle tension, skin temperature, and even brainwave patterns. The key to it all lies in capturing the body's natural rhythms and cyclical patterns, much like the rhythm of the waves crashing on the Wellington shore on a breezy afternoon.

Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Quick Overview

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is like a kaleidoscope - ever-changing, ever-different, with a vibrant mosaic of symptoms, abilities, and experiences. It's as unique as every individual on the spectrum, with its myriad manifestations including difficulty with social communication, interaction, and behavioural flexibility.

Despite the challenges, individuals with autism often have unique talents and abilities that are truly exceptional. Think of it as their superpowers. In fact, a dear friend's son, who was diagnosed with autism, can identify any car model just by hearing the sound of its engine. It's like his distinctive auditory biofeedback!

Biofeedback and Autism: Connecting the Dots

It's an accepted fact that many individuals with autism are hyper-aware of the minutiae of their bodies and bodily functions. This hypersensitivity often translates into heightened awareness of fluctuations in pulse, temperature, or even internal vibrations that most of us never notice. Then I thought, "Ah, there's the connection! Biofeedback!"

Imagine, if they can already sense these changes, wouldn't it be possible to help them better understand and control these sensations in a productive, therapeutic way - essentially employing biofeedback techniques? And would this not lead to improved comfort, reduced anxiety, and overall better well-being?

Field Studies and Triumphing Tales

Once you start delving into the piquant world of biofeedback and autism, you'll find fascinating studies and stories of amazing recovery and progress. In fact, my own friend, who I mentioned earlier, became intrigued by the idea and started his son on biofeedback therapy. After a few months, the improvements were noticeable, the tantrums subsided, and he seemed more at peace. That is the true essence and power of biofeedback.

Moreover, studies from around the globe are backing the effectiveness of biofeedback for autism. From the Netherlands to the United States, biofeedback has been put to test and has frequently come out shining. The journey is exciting, the potential untapped.

Charting the Way Ahead

Equipped with hope and scientific evidence, it seems only logical that we, as a community, parents, psychologists, neurologists, push for more research and awareness in the realm of biofeedback for autism. As Baxter, our trusty dog, always reminds me (although in non-verbal ways), perseverance and hope are the keys to discovery.

We need to embrace the possibility that biofeedback can open new doors, offer new horizons for autism treatment. This would mean better quality of life, increased comfort, and personal growth for countless individuals on the autism spectrum. And isn't that a future worth striving for?