Case Example: Renewed Hope for Autistic Son
Neurofeedback Gives Parent of Autistic Son Renewed Hope
Linda’s heart nearly burst with joy as her eight-year-old son Trevor stood next to her, enthusiastically helping her dig a hole in the family garden. Earlier that day he’d been at school peacefully interacting with kids in his aftercare program, and that night he’d sit down to do his homework all by himself.
While on the surface these everyday activities appeared unremarkable, what was occurring felt nothing short of a miracle to Linda.
Almost since Trevor’s birth Linda and her husband John* of Palm Beach County, Florida had been in the struggle of their lives to save their precious son. From the time he was two-years-old, they’d suspected something was wrong with their only child but didn’t know what it was.
There was the day when he took apart the newspaper and lined up each sheet perfectly on the floor stretching from the living room, past the dining room and into the den. It seemed a bit odd to Linda and John but nothing to get excited about.
He had started talking, but over time all the words except one (bird) went away. Sometimes they could get Trevor to repeat a word. When he did, John, who took longer to accept the situation than Linda, would say, “You see? He’s OK. It’s just going to take him longer.”
Besides, their pediatrician didn’t indicate he thought anything was wrong. Perhaps a little delayed, he said….just work with him.
They discovered that Trevor had a lot of allergies – to soy, to cold medications, and was lactose intolerant. He screamed a lot. Made it impossible for the family to go out in public to do anything. There were seizures, too. No one knew why. And his vocabulary – even his willingness to repeat words – eventually slipped into oblivion.
When Trevor was three-and-a-half, Linda and John learned about Florida’s Child Find program which helps diagnose and support families of children with disabilities. And that’s when they heard it. “Your son has autism.”
“When they said that I cried,” remembered Linda, “and I’m still crying.”
I never thought I’d hear my child say ‘Mama,’ but now I have. Something wonderful is happening.”
Research, Research, Research
The first thing the couple did was buy a computer so Linda could research autism and potential treatments. They tried everything they found that seemed to make sense.
They gave Trevor glutathione, an antioxidant believed to help detoxify the body that many kids with autism don’t have enough of. A month later Trevor started saying words again and interacting with children in his special pre-school program.
Then they gave him the amino acid DMG (dimethylglycine). “He woke up. He began to come back into the world,” Linda recalled. After just three months the teacher said he was ready to go into kindergarten and was “one of the lucky ones who was going to get his speech back.”
Then their world fell apart. Again. Trevor started running while looking sideways, and spinning in circles. And again he regressed.
They kept trying whatever they could. Cod liver oil to boost his Vitamin A. Hyberbaric oxygen therapy to encourage more receptivity to interaction. At times Trevor got better. Then he’d hit a plateau. Or he got worse.
“Nothing helped in the long term,” said Linda. One particularly upsetting regression occurred after Trevor was given a booster vaccination required to get into kindergarten.
Trevor and Neurofeedback
Linda had heard about neurofeedback as an autism treatment soon after Trevor was diagnosed but didn’t think it was appropriate for him at the time.
Everything changed in 2011 when she and John were working with Trevor to help him learn to spell. He couldn’t do it until they slowed down what they wanted him to repeat. Once they did that, he got it!
“We realized he might have a processing problem and figured neurofeedback might be able to help,” Linda said.
That’s when she responded to an ad she saw in Autism Community magazine for the Center for Brain Training.
Ten Sessions Later…
Just ten sessions later, life has an entirely new patina.
“Trevor is now answering questions, when before he used to ignore us,” said Linda. “His speech has started to pick up. He’s expressing himself more, saying ‘no’ instead of having a meltdown when he doesn’t like something.
“Suddenly he wants to do things with me. He notices the butterflies and caterpillars in our garden. He cooks with us, does chores around the house, and is even doing some carpentry with his father.
“He’s interacting with peers in a way he didn’t before. He knows his left from his right. He even knows the exit to get off when going to the Center for Brain Training office.”
Additionally his math skills have improved, he requires less supervision doing his math homework, he’s saying three-word phrases and there’s been no regression.
“We have renewed hope that by the time Trevor is a teenager, he’ll be talking to us,” said Linda, who plans to continue Trevor’s neurofeedback treatment indefinitely. “Before, he repeated words like a parrot, but now he’s putting his own words together.
“I never thought I’d hear my child say ‘Mama,’ but now I have. Something wonderful is happening.”
*The couple asked that their last name not be used in order to protect their son’s privacy.