Autism, Sensory Seeking, and Learning Disorders
“It is never too late to expand the mind of a person on the autism spectrum.” – Temple Grandin
Learning is a beautifully orchestrated process that many fortunate individuals never need to think or worry about it. This complex and intricate construction of communication and coordination between the brain, the eyes, the ears, the hands and the rest of the body is usually taken for granted as it commands from the background.
However, for many children and adults, there are occasional hiccups in an otherwise perfect system. These irregularities can make the difference between being able to read or not, being able to process sound and instruction or not, being able to pay attention and follow through or not, and being able to make sense of the sensations you perceive in the world or not.
Learning disabilities on a whole are often characterized by a widespread, diffuse increase in the slowest, sleep wave delta across the entire brain. In an adult brain, only 5% of the brainwaves are in delta. It is the sleep wave. But what happens if this percentage is higher, and your brain is using the slow delta wave more while awake? Learning becomes a real challenge.
Learning challenges are also characterized by an uncoordinated network between the eyes, the ears, the brain and the body. Sensory input getting to the brain properly is critical to understanding and processing. Sound waves enter the outer ear and are transformed into electrical impulses in this inner ear. The vestibular and cochlear systems are located in the inner ear. These systems in the ear work together and relay all sensory input to the brain. These impulses provide energy to the brain and affect focus and concentration. The brain scans of individuals with learning disorders such as ADHD show decreased “energy” in key parts of the brain for focus and attention.
Reading, Dyslexia, Auditory Processing
We read with our eyes and our ears. The eyes and ears must work together synchronously. As your eyes move from letter to letter, your ears (cochlea) translate each letter into a sound. The vestibular system coordinates the eye movements and helps with sound decoding or grouping sounds together. Many children struggle so much with decoding, that they cannot remember the grouping of words well enough to comprehend as they are reading. The speed of auditory processing is also significant for comprehension. If the speed is too slow, then it is impossible to keep up with the rate of instruction. This can lead to chunks of information being lost.
Sensory Disorders and Behavior
Sensory integration describes how we use the information from all sensations from within and outside the body. Your brain uses all this information about sights, sounds, textures, tastes, smells, and movement and integrates it into an organized picture of who you are, where you are, and what is happening in the world around you.
For some children, sensory integration does NOT develop as needed. They can become easily overwhelmed or distressed because they cannot rely on their senses to give them an accurate picture of the world. Therefore, those with sensory integration disorders have no idea how to accurately respond to what they interpret. This can be a huge barrier to learning and behaving appropriately.
Neurofeedback, iLS Sound, and Nutrient Therapy can help correct some of the causes of these problems. They are very different therapies, yet all are based on the fact that the brain can change its structure and improve its function if it is properly trained to do so. This neuroplasticity of the brain is the basis of all learning. Just like there are tissue changes in muscle after exercise, the brain makes changes after brain training as well. Metabolism increases, oxygen flow increases, and new synaptic tissue connections are made between cells within the brain. The brain learns to improve its own self-regulation.