Autism / ASD

What is it?

Here are some definitions from well-known organizations

“Autism, or autism spectrum disorder (ASD), refers to a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviours, speech and nonverbal communication”.  (Autism Speaks) 

“Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects the way a person communicates and relates to people around them. The ability to develop friendships is impaired, as is their capacity to understand other people’s feelings”. (Irish Society for Autism) 

“Autism is a developmental disability that affects how a child or young person communicates with, and relates to, other people. It also affects how they make sense of the world around them.” (National Council for Special Education) 

“Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) refers to a range of conditions characterised by some degree of impaired social behaviour, communication and language, and a narrow range of interests and activities that are both unique to the individual and carried out repetitively”. (World Health Organization) 

“Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a complex and chronic neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by impairment in social interaction and behavioural functioning” (American Psychological Association)

Autism or autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are not easily defined. As the definitions above highlight it can refer to a range of conditions and is therefore, called a spectrum disorder, because of the variance in characteristics that are expressed by each person that is diagnosed with autism.

There are countless different definitions for autism. However, there are some core criteria /characteristics that need to be present for a diagnosis to be made. Such as, difficulty with:

  • Communication
  • Socializing / social skills
  • Processing of information from the world around them
  • Repetitive behaviours
  • Limited interests

These characteristics all strongly suggest that not only are autism spectrum disorders neurological disorders but neurological disfunction is one of the most significant features of this condition.

Where does it come from?

There is no consensus on a single cause for autism, many autism awareness organizations agree that there are likely many contributing factors of varying degree that all combine to cause the characteristics associated with autism.

“There’s no one cause of autism. Research suggests that autism develops from a combination of genetic and nongenetic, or environmental, influences.” (Autism Speaks.)

“There is no known single cause for autism spectrum disorder, but it is generally accepted that it is caused by abnormalities in brain structure or function. Brain scans show differences in the shape and structure of the brain in children with autism compared to in neurotypical children.” …… “Other researchers are investigating problems during pregnancy or delivery as well as environmental factors such as viral infections, metabolic imbalances and exposure to chemicals.” (Autism Society)

“No one knows yet. While research to date suggests that there are likely several attributions – genetic and environmental – to the cause of Autism, there has yet to be any consensus on a direct explanation. Although research into the cause of Autism is not a fruitless endeavour it is essential to acknowledge that current advocacy for Autism emphasizes the aim to assist and better the livelihoods of Autistic people today rather than work to treat Autism as a preventable disease.”  (As I Am)

It is difficult to fully agree with the last sentence in the statement above, it appears there has not been enough research into the cause(s) of autism and that there has been a limited perspective regarding the possible causes of these disorders. There has been an emphasis on aiming to assist and better the livelihoods of people with autism and everyone should whole heartedly agree with this sentiment. HiddenMind therapists have helped play a role in this endeavour and will continue to do so. We always strive to help each person heal as much as possible and to give even a 10% improvement to the lives and health of these children and therefore also their families is so important and can make such a difference. However, from all our experience working with these children and our own research, we do believe that many cases of autism are preventable and the severity of the condition for many can undoubtably be greatly improved. That is why we work with the aim of helping the child to heal, we focus particularly on healing around the head, the brain, and the nervous system. But the therapy works on the whole body and is very effective at balancing the levels of stress hormone production in the body, allowing many of these people to be able to learn and communicate better, to become more relaxed, more content, more loving, affectionate and happier.

From our experience working with very many people with autism, mostly children it appears that these people have been damaged in one way or another. The developmental delay and developmental disruption that are an inherent feature of autism are likely due to various sources of damage and particularly damage to the brain, the skull, and the nervous system.

Traumatic birth

Traumatic birth or birth shock seems to be a significant factor with children with autism. This is because the birth process can be very traumatic to the small child as it is born. It can be extremely traumatic for the mother too, the more traumatic it is for the mother then it is likely to have been more traumatic for the child also. There can be damage caused to the skull and the brain at this time, especially if there has been forceps or suction used to assist in delivering the child. If there has been a very long or difficult labour, then there is an increased chance that the child has suffered damage.

Please read our article on birth shock for more info

While the birth process itself can be very traumatic there can be damage or disruption to development that occurs during pregnancy. Below, environmental factors will be discussed but it should be noted that during development even if the mother experiences significant shock or trauma this can have an impact on the child in utero. For example, if the mother experiences emotional shock due to the death or illness of a loved one, if she is under intense stress or is living in an abusive environment this can affect her life-force energy. If she is extremely physically, mentally, or emotionally drained at some point during pregnancy this can have an impact on the development of the child.

Environmental factors

There are various environmental factors that can affect development such as electromagnetic fields generated from phone masts, power lines, WIFI routers, TV, radio, computers, mobile phones, and tablets etc. As we have been advised that radio frequency (RF) from mobile phones is now classed as a known carcinogen, we must also consider that we are advised to use a hand-free kits, earphones etc. wherever possible. This advice is cleverly buried in the settings and more info section of your mobile phone. These frequencies can have a detrimental effect on our bodies and particularly on our cells. Some researchers have found that these types of frequencies may damage the a part of the brain called the cerebellum in development, and that in autistic children a specific part of the cerebellum is smaller and underdeveloped compared to children without autism.

We are advised to use hands free devices to keep the phone away from our brains, but this may have increased exposure to other parts of the body, particularly the reproductive organs.  As it is common to leave your phone in your pocket, for men primarily in their trousers and for women their trousers, breast pocket or handbag. This brings the phone in proximity to the reproductive organs and these frequencies can affect the sperm or eggs even before conception. Or maybe more significantly the developing child may be affected during pregnancy.

Check out this video by Dr Devra Davis linked below as she talks about mobile phone radiation.

"The truth about mobile phone and wireless radiation" -- Dr Devra Davis

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BwyDCHf5iCY&t=447s

Dangers from mobile phone radiation is something we all should be aware although there are many other environmental factors that can cause damage or at least disruption to development. And considering how dependent we have become on mobile phone and other technology in our daily lives, the danger and risks should be made more explicit. Especially to those planning on having children and mothers who are pregnant.

Genetic factors

While much research indicates that genetics are involved in many of cases of autism, they cannot account for all of them. Considering the pace of which autism has spread in such a short time genetics can only account for some cases or as a factor in an individual’s autism. Children born to older parents are at a higher risk for having autism. And parents who have a child with autism have a 2 to 18 percent chance of having a second child who is also affected. Some studies have even shown that among identical twins, if one child has autism, the other will be affected about 36 to 95 percent of the time. In non-identical twins, if one child has autism, then the other is affected about 31 percent of the time. However, the genes can still only make up part of the picture. In the HiddenMind therapy perpetuating gene faults are discerned by the therapist. This refers to shock or trauma that has been experienced by an ancestor(s) and the memory gets encoded unto the DNA and the genes. This is passed on through the blood line and can have a significant effect on the correct development of the child.

Please read the article on perpetuating gene faults for more info.

Toxicity

There can be many sources of toxicity that a developing child may be exposed to through their mother in utero, from the air, from food, medication, drugs and alcohol. Even after birth a child can be exposed to toxicity from food, the air, from pathogens or chemicals that may cause damage and make them more likely to receive a diagnosis of autism. There can be exposure to heavy metals such as mercury or other metals such as aluminium as adjuvants or from other sources such as food, especially seafood or even passive smoking. Exposure to these substances can come from injection directly into the child. Or, there can even be a build-up of heavy metals such as aluminium in a mother’s body by various means that could affect a child in development (18). Heavy metals such as mercury and other metals such as aluminium have been found to have neurotoxic effects or cause neurological developmental delay or dysfunction.

Some researchers say that a genetic predisposition may play a role in how a child is affected by these substances. That is if a child’s glutathione pathways are impaired, they may not be able to produce glutathione in their bodies sufficiently. Therefore, affecting how they process heavy metals out of their systems. The MTHFR gene plays an important role in the synthesis of folic acid into its active form methyl tetrahydrofolate. If this gene is impaired the synthesis may be impaired too, which will negatively affect the production of glutathione and neurotransmitters. A lack of glutathione impairs the ability to detox toxins, such as the ones mentioned above.

Research is inconclusive and while some research has not found a link between toxicity from certain chemicals such as mercury and autism others have shown that toxins may contribute to autism. It appears that toxicity from various sources is a major factor when it comes to the possible causes of autism.

It is likely that any or all these factors, and others can be contributors in causing autism, that this may be why there is such a variance of characteristics with each diagnosis of autism made. As there can be varying amounts of damage or cause for developmental disruption there is also observed an extremely broad range of symptoms/characteristics and a huge disparity in the severity of certain characteristics or symptoms.

How does it affect people?

While there are many common characteristics of autism it is referred to as a spectrum disorder because it can affect people in many ways. Some of those with autism will be able to live independent lives, others may have learning disabilities and may need a lifetime of support.

The main effects are challenges with learning, communication, language, social skills, and repetitive behaviours. Often there is a loss of, or regression of skills previously acquired in these areas observed.

There can be many other effects or comorbid conditions often associated with autism…

  • Learning disabilities
  • Mental health challenges
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • ADHD
  • OCD
  • Gastrointestinal disorders
  • Seizures / Epilepsy
  • Allergies
  • Sleep disorders
  • Attention issues.
  • Narrow range of interests
  • Limited diet

As autism is associated with neurological impairment, we have made some associations between compromised brain hemisphere integration at an energetic and neurological level and this condition. This refers to whether the two sides of the brain are integrated and functioning together correctly. Our observations through the HiddenMind therapy have been that the two hemispheres may not be fully integrated at an energetic level, one or both sides are not fully “switched on”, in other words not fully functional. For example, If the left hemisphere is integrated at 100%and the right hemisphere is only integrated at 50% then it can be reasoned that the person will be much more left hemisphere dominant. As in they will exhibit more strongly or favour the characteristics associated with the left hemisphere.

The left hemisphere processes information in a linear fashion, it separates, puts everything into order, is more so associated with logic, language and linear or ordered thinking. It puts everything we experience and process into timely order of past, present, and future.

The right hemisphere processes information in a holistic fashion. It is the creative, artistic, intuitive, feeling side. It makes associations and processes how everything interrelates to each other. To the right hemisphere there is only the present moment, but each present moment is a rich collage of picture, sound, smell, feeling and everything is one, everything is interrelated and connected. It also associated more with socialising and social ability.

Typically, when working with an individual with autism, it is decerned by the therapist that one or both hemispheres are not completely integrated. The lower the measure of integration in one or both hemispheres measured, then generally the more severe the characteristics of autism.

This may be help make sense of why such different characteristics are observed in those with autism. That is why some may be good at maths and linear thinking but are compelled to have everything around them in a certain order or routine, if their left hemisphere has become dominant. Also, the lack of complete integration between the hemispheres also reflects an overall reduction in the ability to process all types of information. If the right hemisphere is integrated much more than the left side and becomes dominant then they may be much more sociable, affectionate, and spontaneous but cannot handle being restricted or having to put things in order.

Also, because we relate autism to neurological damage, there may have been one part of the brain affected more than others. For example, the Broca’s area in the left hemisphere that controls generating speech. In this case speech would be affected particularly.

As already mentioned typically for those with autism one or both hemispheres of the brain are compromised and cannot process information from the world sufficiently. This means that those with autism can be overloaded or over stimulated more easily. Again, the more severe the autism, generally the less stimulation is needed before they get overloaded.

When this overload or overstimulation occurs, their body will go into a stress response, in other words the fight/flight response switches on in their body and they are flooded with stress hormones such as adrenaline, noradrenaline, cortisol and others.

This can lead to a major tantrum, sometimes to the point of where the child is inconsolable and may cry, scream loudly, run, or jump around the room or even lash out physically. This can be very distressing for the child or adult with autism, for parents, siblings, other family members or carers.

From our perspective, the majority of those with autism have an elevated stress response and their bodies are constantly underproducing or overproducing stress hormones and neurotransmitters.

This imbalance combined with the lack of complete integration of the hemispheres is why you see so much co-morbidity with diagnosed with autism such as ADHD, OCD, gastrointestinal disorders, and others that are listed above.

Sleep problems and disorders are quite common among those with autism. Sleep is affected for 50 – 80% of autistic children. This may also be due to the stress response being constantly active in many of those with autism and an imbalance in production of hormones such as melatonin.

Effects on parents and other family members

Initially from suspecting a child may have autism to receiving a confirmed diagnosis, it can be difficult for parents and other family members to deal with. It may take time to accept and can be a huge challenge mentally and emotionally.

It can be difficult for siblings as much more time and energy may be needed to care for the child with autism. Possibly leading them to feeling “left out” as the focus at home on caring for and the needs of the child with autism. Especially if the family must always revolve around a certain schedule, routine, or preferences to avoid behavioural outbursts or tantrums from that child.

There may be other ongoing effects. Often one parent does not work or works considerably less due to the time demand of caring for and coordinating care for the child or children with autism.

“ASDs often impose significant emotional and economic burden on people with these disorders and their families. Caring for children with a severe form of the condition may be demanding, especially where access to services and support are inadequate. Therefore, the empowerment of caregivers is increasingly being recognized as a critical component of care for children with ASD.” (World Health Organization)

We understand it can be very demanding looking after someone with autism especially if it is a severe form of the condition. That is why in our clinics often we also treat the mother or both parents and sometimes the whole family, along with the person with autism.

We would also like to bring attention to the fact that four times the number of boys compared with girls are given diagnoses of autism spectrum disorders and other special needs.

There is not any consensus as to the reasoning for this marked and profound difference. It may be due to males and females having a different brain makeup. As it appears that male brains are optimized for intrahemispheric and female brains for interhemispheric communication. This means, it’s possible that both boys and girls are being damaged at the same rate by the sources discussed above, but that girls may be able to compensate much better than boys because of the apparent differences in their brain anatomy, how they process information and their brains function.

Below are some statistics that highlight the rates of autism and the discrepancy between diagnoses in girls and boys.

Autism Prevalence 

  • Ireland (The Shine Centre)
    • Autism now affects 1 in 68 children.
    • Boys are four times more likely to have autism than girls.
    • About 40% of children with autism do not speak. About 25%–30% of children with autism have some words at 12 to 18 months of age and then lose them. Others might speak, but not until later in childhood.
    • Autism greatly varies from person to person (no two people with autism are alike).
    • The rate of autism has steadily grown over the last twenty years.
    • Autism is the fastest growing developmental disorder in the world.
    • For children with autism to progress – early intervention is key.
    • For many years after autism was first described in the 1940s, its prevalence was two to four cases per 10,000 children.
  • United States (Autism Speaks)
  • In 2018 the CDC determined that approximately 1 in 59 children is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). 
    • 1 in 37 boys 
    • 1 in 151 girls 
  • Boys are four times more likely to be diagnosed with autism than girls.  

How HiddenMind therapy help those with autism?

  • Engages directly with the subconscious mind
  • Helps the body to restore the normal production of stress hormones
  • Re-Integrates the left and right hemisphere of the brain
  • Promotes healing at the brain level
  • Calms the stress reaction in the body
  • Supports healing in the gut
  • Helps to improve sleep

HiddenMind therapy is very gentle and non-invasive, it is perfectly suited to working with people with special needs and especially those on the autistic spectrum. Firstly, it does not require touch or direct physical contact. Often those with autism can be extremely sensitive to touch or may need to be in near constant movement or activity. We understand and accommodate for all individual needs and do our best to create a safe, relaxed environment where the person or child can receive therapy with minimal stress.

The therapist can pick up all the information that is needed for corrections to be made through the subconscious mind of the child, by using the method of dowsing. The therapist makes statements directed at the subconscious mind of the child and can get feedback in relation to person or child’s health. The focus of these statements is to measure energetically the level of integration between the left and right hemispheres of the brain, production and circulation of cerebral spinal fluid, levels of stress hormone production and much more. The sources of damage that have been mentioned in the section above are also investigated, this is to help figure out what factors have contributed to the presentation/emergence?? of autism in that person. This investigation helps to build a picture as to what is going on in the person’s body and by engaging with the subconscious this way initiates the process of correction and healing.

Read the HiddenMind: Investigative & Corrective Sound therapy section for more info on this.

Special sound frequencies are then selected and used to aid in and amplify the corrective process. Sound frequency and vibration can penetrate through the whole body, through every cell. In the case of ASD it helps to break the established neural networks that have formed in the brain allowing new ones to form behaviour to change. These are related to the patterns of behaviour you see with these children such as…

  • Stimming
  • Vocalizations
  • Teeth grinding

Many people with autism say that engaging in these behaviours just feels good. These repetitive behaviours may help these individuals to sooth their anxiety, generate or maintain awareness of their bodies, or deal with overwhelming sensations or emotions. They may also help autistic people communicate their mental or emotional state to those around them.

For someone with autism the brain may be unable to process these different stimuli efficiently and means those with autism can be easily overwhelmed or overloaded. So, entering a new or strange environment, meeting new people, being exposed to loud noise etc. can overstimulate the brain. As the brain reaches the point of overload this sets off the body to enter panic mode. The stress response activates, and this results in the person or the child becoming anxious, upset or having a tantrum. This can be extremely distressing to the child but also to the parents and others.

Lack of brain hemisphere integration will relate to lack of overall brain function or the brains ability to process information. That may be one of the main reasons why those with autism can be hypersensitive or sometimes even hyposensitive.

The standard approach when treating those on the spectrum usually revolves around managing symptoms and behaviours. There are no specific drug-based treatments for ASD.

“While there are many behavioural and educational interventions that enhance communication, promote developmental progress, and manage behavioural difficulties, none are curative”

These can include…

  • Speech and language therapy
  • Play therapy
  • Music therapy
  • Reading interventions
  • Applied behavioural analysis (ABA)

However, these approaches do not focus on healing. HiddenMind therapies aim to stimulate healing in the brain and the body. At the brain level particularly by stimulating the re-integration the two hemispheres at the energetic blueprint level. HiddenMind therapies also helps to calm the stress reaction in the body, which has incredibly positive influence on mood, behaviour, learning, interaction and even on digestion.

As a rebalancing of stress hormone production is promoted with this therapy this also has a very positive influence on sleep as there can be a reduction in adrenaline production and an increase in the production of melatonin, the primary hormone for sleep. Sleep problems appear to be twice as common among children with autism as they are among typical children or those with other developmental conditions.

As sleep is very important to all of us it is also very important for these children and probably even more so as studies on melatonin supplementation for those with autism seem to show very positive effects from that kind of treatment. In countries like the U.S. and Canada melatonin can be bought over the counter in other countries like Ireland a prescription is required. Melatonin appears to have been used as a safe, effective, cheap, and sensible treatment option and has been shown to have positive effects on stimming, troubling behaviours and socialising. Melatonin may also have a positive effect on other mental and physical health problems often associated with ASD, such as anxiety, pain, sensory processing, and gastrointestinal dysfunction. Because better sleep has a massive knock on beneficial effects to the whole person. HiddenMind therapy helps to restore the balance of these hormones naturally and many of our clients report the same beneficial effects that are mentioned above as sleep improves.

These therapies help the body restore the appropriate stress reaction for the individual. As many troubling behaviours associated with ASD are due to the body being in a massive stress response consistently. This is where we see a huge improvement with these children and adults with autism who are clients. They become calmer, happier and more content. These changes can occur quite quickly even over the few days of therapy. Healing at the brain level goes on over a much longer time, we would say usually 6 – 9 months but the process of reintegration can be shorter or longer. It all depends on the individual.

Massage is another alternative therapy that seems to have many positive outcomes for those with autism. And we would hesitate to recommend another therapy like massage as something that should be include as a broader therapeutic approach, along with a healthy diet and exercise. Also, it is the norm for those with autism to be engaged in many educational and supportive programs, there has been a huge focus on this approach.

Many parents of children with autism are using alternative or complementary approaches to address their child’s symptoms and research seems to show that parents have more faith in these approaches helping their child to heal compared to conventional medical approach as they often consider them to be safer and even more effective. This is not surprising considering that there are no specific medical treatments for autism but sometimes drugs are prescribed for anxiety or aggressive behaviour as those with a more severe form of the condition grow older, becoming physically bigger and stronger can be more difficult to manage. HiddenMind therapies can work alongside drug treatment approaches or independent of them. However, HiddenMind therapies help to address these issues in a natural way.

The feedback we get from most of our clients and parents is that their child gets much more out of their support programs after having HiddenMind therapy. In so many cases parents are delighted to hear from teachers, SNA’s, and instructors that their child’s progress in the class or with their learning or socialising has greatly improved. And they are asked “what have you done with your child?” as their ability to learn, interact and engage with others and understand can be so greatly improved in a short time.

We believe by everyone working together, for those with autism the best possible outcomes can be brought about. It is vital to stimulate healing in these children and adults, HiddeMind therapy does that in a way that is gentle, natural, and non-invasive based on the principles of energy healing, mindbody therapy and sound frequency. We have helped many people with autism, and we hope to help many more. We look forward to seeing you in our clinic.

References

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