Neurofeedback is the rising star in the treatment of autism, yet relatively few have even heard of it. It is a form of biofeedback; in this case, it is biofeedback of brainwaves. In biofeedback, an electronic device is used to help a person learn to better control a body process. Biofeedback devices do not do anything to a person other than provide information about how the body is regulating the body process that has been targeted.
In neurofeedback, three electrodes are placed on the child’s scalp and ear to monitor brainwave patterns. When the brainwave patterns enter a desirable pattern, he is rewarded on a monitor as he watches a computer game. The simple act of his wanting to score more points on the game signals the brain to figure out how to reacquire the brainwave patterns that resulted in scoring. His brain is learning. The result of this learning is that his brain is increasingly able to regulate itself better. Like tuning up a car, a balanced, well regulated brain runs smoothly.
The brain of an autistic child is usually overwhelmed with toxins and typically the gut, which is the body’s primary detoxification pathway, is also adversely affected. Clearly the best treatment regimens for autism include effective detoxification methods, restoration of gut health, and intelligent dietary and nutritional regimens, but these at times are not so easily instituted with an autistic child. And the costs for treatment at a clinic well versed in the array biomedical treatments of autism may be prohibitive for parents.
Neurofeedback can come to the rescue. As a child proceeds through treatment and regains better brain self-regulation, troublesome symptoms and behaviors begin to recede. Typically, sleep improves, anxiety or hyperexcitabilty lessen, fewer outbursts or tantrums, there is more eye contact and more communication. The child’s brain is becoming more resilient and functioning better even though toxins are still present. Often, the improvement from neurofeedback may present a window of opportunity to make other changes in the child’s diet or willingness to participate in other treatments, and improvements can snowball.
Neurofeedback is not a treatment like a medication that decreases a symptom. It is more like exercise. And like someone who exercises regularly and intelligently, benefits are broad. A person who exercises is not just stronger and more flexible, she sleeps better, her mood is good, her glucose is in better control, and on and on. So too with neurofeedback, it is not only for simple symptom reduction. Like exercise, anyone benefits, and like exercise, the benefits are broad. Attention improves, as does concentration and memory, impulse control, and organization. Sleep and relaxation are easier to enter in a natural manner. A well tuned brain, like a well tuned body, is a priceless gift. For the autistic child, with an imbalanced and poorly regulated brain, neurofeedback can be the beginning of the end of the nightmare for him and his parents.
There is a wealth of information on neurofeedback at and at

Author's Bio: 

Eduardo Castro, MD, is the medical director at Mount Rogers Clinic in Troutdale, Virginia. It is an integrative medical clinic that specializes in treating chronic and debilitating illness. He and Robert Hill, PhD, have co-authored Healing Young Brains from Hampton Roads Publishing Company.