Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)
Autism is known as a “spectrum” disorder because there is wide variation in the type and severity of symptoms people experience. Each child may have unique behaviors or symptoms. ASD occurs in all ethnic, racial, and economic groups. Although ASD can be a lifelong disorder, treatments and services can improve a person’s symptoms and ability to function.
Signs and Symptoms
Symptoms of Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are widely varied but generally consist of poor communication, struggles with social interaction, delay in mental function, repetitive behavior and interests, and problems with the sensory system. Everyone is different, and each child may have unique behaviors that are outside of or not in the typical range of ASD.
What Is ASD?
ASD is often a decrease in activation throughout the right cerebral hemisphere with an overall decrease in connectivity between the two cerebral hemispheres. ASD consist of 4 different disorders Autistic disorder, Asperger’s disease, PDD, and Childhood disintegrative disorder. Rett syndrome previously fell under ASD spectrum but it is now confirmed that Rett’s cause is genetic. It no longer falls under ASD guidelines. Children with Rett syndrome, primarily girls, start developing normally but then begin losing their communication and social skills. Beginning at the age of 1 to 4 years, repetitive hand movements replace the purposeful use of the hands. Children with Rett syndrome usually have a severe cognitive impairment.
- Autistic disorder: This is what most people think of when they hear the word “autism.” It refers to problems with social interactions, communication, and imaginative play in children younger than 3 years.
- Asperger’s syndrome: These children don’t have a problem with language — in fact, they tend to score in the average or above-average range on intelligence tests. But they have the same social problems and limited scope of interests as children with autistic disorder.
- Pervasive developmental disorder or PDD: also known as atypical autism. This is a kind of catch-all category for children who have some autistic behaviors but who don’t fit into other categories.
- Childhood disintegrative disorder: These children develop normally for at least two years and then lose some or most of their communication and social skills. This is an extremely rare disorder and its existence as a separate condition is a matter of debate among many mental health professionals.
Our Approach to Diagnostics and Testing
Revive utilizes research-based diagnostics to evaluate function in specific areas of the brain. Looking at eye movements, motor function, sensory function, cranial nerves, cognitive function, balance, and gait. This information allows us to better understand what areas are affected so we can develop a treatment plan that targets those regions and networks to make them stronger and more efficient. These tests include eye movements, motor function analysis, physical exam, cognitive ability and balance.
- The VGN or testing of eye movement gives us a representation of the function of eye muscles, cranial nerves, brainstem nuclei, cerebellum and cortical regions. By measuring things like gaze stabilization, smooth pursuits, saccades, and optogenetics it helps us to differentiate the areas of weakness.
- Motor function analysis enables us to see the strength, tone, and coordination of the movement of muscle groups so we can better understand the regions and networks of involvement. Networks that are utilized in movement are the coordination of movement involve the frontal lobes, parietal lobes, and the cerebellum.
- In our office, the physical examination is focused on not only finding definitive signs of functional deficits but also catching the subtle changes which give us greater insight into the physiology and function (these findings are often considered irrelevant or ‘within normal limits’ in most conventional clinical settings).
- Cognitive testing is utilized as a baseline marker to measure and monitor patient outcomes. These quantifiable tests validate results in many different avenues. Our testing encompasses depression screening, anxiety screening, verbal memory, psychomotor speed, processing speed, simple attention, and motor speed.
- Balance test or vestibular testing gives us an insight into the function of networks that are needed for standing, walking, even riding in a car. We look at the three main factors of balance (Vestibular, proprioception, and vision) both together and individually to isolate the areas of involvement.
Our Approach to Care
At Revive we specialize in providing treatment to the neurological regions affecting ASD. Your treatment can include balance, gait, and eye training; as well as hand-eye coordination, repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS), hyperbaric oxygen, diet, and supplements.
We offer a unique process that is built to maximize time and results. To reach your personal healthcare goals, it is imperative that your physicians and care providers precisely know your individual story and desires. Your individual goals are the focal point of the comprehensive treatment plan which is based off your exam, diagnostics, and lab results.
Beyond the neurological system, there are many factors that can impact the presentation of ASD: the immune system, diet, sleep, and stress (to list a few). By integrating knowledge of the brain and influence of these factors, we are able to be very specific with targeted therapies which create lasting neurological changes. Your treatment plan is designed specifically for you and is not a protocol.
This plan is executed over 5-10 days. Patients see measurable improvement during their time in our office and continue to make gains once they leave. To help ensure success on your journey of healing, we create and define a plan for you when you go home. This plan may include sourcing local specialist for a safe and effective continuum of care. Our goal is to see each patient continue to build upon the initial results they achieved in our office.
Research on our treatments
Preliminary results on the mobility after whole body vibration in immobilized children and adolescents
Effects of Exercise Interventions on Stereotypic Behaviours in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
Current Perspectives on Physical Activity and Exercise Recommendations for Children and Adolescents With Autism Spectrum Disorders
Do external stimuli impact the gait of children with idiopathic toe walking? A study protocol for a within-subject randomized control trial