Neural Retraining Initiative
One of the most exciting stories in neuroscience in the last decade is the idea of neuroplasticity – the concept that the brain continues to grow, add new cells and change throughout life. There have been amazing breakthroughs in the treatment of stroke and dyslexia through neural retraining. Using specialized education techniques, the brain may be able to rewire around damaged or undeveloped areas and re-regulate the way it deals with sensory input. Cure Autism Now is interested in bringing these techniques to bear on autism to find non-pharmacological ways to retrain the brains of the very young and those most affected by autism that in many instances are not able to speak at all.
The initiative began with a Genius Award to Dr. Michael Merzenich from the University of California, San Francisco who is a leader in this field and the developer of Fast ForWord – a family of programs that has been very effective in helping those with dyslexia rapidly improve language, reading and learning skills.
As a result of his Genius Award, Dr. Merzenich is working on project titled, “Development of a New Generation of Computer-Implemented Training Tools Designed for Therapeutic Application in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders.” The primary objective of this research and development project is to design, produce, and test the application of new training tools designed to ameliorate the expressions of Autism Spectrum disorders (ASDs).
Initial funding is supporting studies designed to provide crucial preliminary information that will help set up the accelerated development of these new treatment strategies. The outcome of this effort is hoped to be a combination of tools and techniques that could make a significant impact on those severely affected by autism.
In 2005, another project in our neural re-training initiative began with a bridge grant to Dr. Jaime A. Pineda in the Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory at the University of California at San Diego to conduct research into the effectiveness of an experimental treatment for ASD known as Neurofeedback Training.
Neurofeedback is a non-evasive procedure in which the brain is re-trained to increase or decrease the level of specific brain rhythms. Dr. Pineda and colleagues had previously published that an electrophysiological readout known as mu rhythm suppression, which is believed to be an indicator of mirror neuron activity, is abnormal in individuals with autism. The grant from CAN will allow Dr. Pineda to test if Neurofeedback Training of mu rhythm suppression in children with ASD will improve their behavior, especially their ability to imitate.
Collectively, we believe that these proposed experiments are as important as are any now being directed toward the therapeutic training of ASD children.
They hold out the real hope that ASD may be preventable in many at-risk children, may be significantly reversible in at least some very young ASD children, and that through understanding the neurology of the origins of, and the expressions of ASD, much more effective training tools can be developed.
Autistic people have fought the inclusion of ABA in therapy for us since before Autism Speaks, and other non-Autistic-led autism organizations, started lobbying legislation to get it covered by insurances and Medicaid.
ABA is a myth originally sold to parents that it would keep their Autistic child out of an institution. Today, parents are told that with early intervention therapy their child will either be less Autistic or no longer Autistic by elementary school, and can be mainstreamed in typical education classes. ABA is very expensive to pay out of pocket. Essentially, Autism Speaks has justified the big price tag up front will offset the overall burden on resources for an Autistic’s lifetime. The recommendation for this therapy is 40 hours a week for children and toddlers.
The original study that showed the success rate of ABA to be at 50% has never been replicated. In fact, the study of ABA by United States Department of Defense was denounced as a failure. Not just once, but multiple times. Simply stated: ABA doesn’t work. In study after repeated study: ABA (conversion therapy) doesn’t work.
What more recent studies do show: Autistics who experienced ABA therapy are at high risk to develop PTSD and other lifelong trauma-related conditions. Historically, the autism organizations promoting ABA as a cure or solution have silenced Autistic advocates’ opposition. ABA is also known as gay conversion therapy.
The ‘cure’ for Autistics not born yet is the prevention of birth.
The ‘cure’ is a choice to terminate a pregnancy based on ‘autism risk.’ The cure is abortion. This is the same ‘cure’ society has for Down Syndrome.
This is eugenics 2021. Instead of killing Autistics and disabled children in gas chambers or ‘mercy killings’ like in Aktion T4, it’ll happen at the doctor’s office, quietly, one Autistic baby at a time. Different approaches yes, but still eugenics and the extinction of an entire minority group of people.
Fact: You can’t cure Autistics from being Autistic.
Fact: You can’t recover an Autistic from being Autistic.
Fact: You can groom an Autistic to mask and hide their traits. Somewhat. … however, this comes at the expense of the Autistic child, promotes Autistic Burnout (this should not be confused with typical burnout, Autistic Burnout can kill Autistics), and places the Autistic child at high risk for PTSD and other lifelong trauma-related conditions.