“The difference between stumbling blocks and stepping stones is how you use them.” Unknown
What is Autism?
Autism is not a single disorder but a group of symptoms that give rise to a spectrum of diagnoses, referred to as Autism Spectrum Disorders. Autism impacts the way an individual perceives the world, which affects their ability to communicate and interact socially, and often gives rise to repetitive behaviors. The impact can range from relatively mild to severe. A variety of other disorders affecting sleep, eating, and other aspects of life may also be experienced by individuals with autism.
There is no cure for autism, but there are a variety of treatments that have been shown to improve the ability of people with autism to function effectively. Most of these treatments involve intensive therapy involving family and clinical experts. While autism is not a learning disorder per se, many individuals with autism have learning disabilities. Perceptual processing and sensory integration issues common in autism can also create barriers to learning.
How BrainWare SAFARI Builds Perceptual and Integrative Cognitive Skills
BrainWare SAFARI develops 41 cognitive skills in an intensive and integrated manner including a number of skills that may be problematic for individuals with autism, including the cognitive processes listed below. Note that these are not all the skills developed in BrainWare that may benefit individuals with ASD, but these are some that directly address common perceptual processing issues.
|Visual Simultaneous Processing||The ability to combine and interpret from simultaneous pieces of information.|
|Visual Sequential Processing||The ability to combine and get meaning from pieces of information that are received sequentially, as in reading.|
|Auditory Sequential Processing||The ability of the perceptual processing system to send auditory information to the brain in the same order it was received.|
|Visual-Motor Integration||The ability to use the eyes and hands together efficiently, as in writing, drawing, typing, catching a ball, etc.|
|Auditory-Motor Integration||The integration of auditory and motor skills. Example: tapping to a beat.|
|Timing – Rhythm||The ability to process information at an adequate or consistent speed.|
|Visual-Auditory Integration||The ability to match auditory and visual stimuli and coordinate them into a meaningful product.|
BrainWare SAFARI works by providing a series of increasing challenges, by offering the kind of repetition that is necessary to make the skills automatic, and by integrating them with other skills to ensure that they don’t just function on their own, but in concert with other brain processes.
The response of individuals with autism to BrainWare Safari is as individual as their diagnoses. Some children benefit from the program. Others find it too challenging or become frustrated. For those who have been able to persist in the program, parents and professionals working with them report improvements in one or more of the following areas:
- Perceptual processing
- Ability to persist in challenging tasks, less frustration.
- Concentration and memory
- Eye contact and interaction with others
Autism in Knowledge Center
In some fascinating research, scientists at Washington University in St. Louis scanned the brains of babies as they learned to walk. In the initial stages, the connection between the default-mode network (the brain networks we use while we’re daydreaming or letting our minds wander) works with the motor cortex.
Do you see the keys in this picture? That’s because the human brain is really good at seeing partially obscured objects. New research conducted at the University of Washington in Seattle examined the interactions between the visual cortex and the prefrontal cortex when subjects tried to identify partially hidden objects.