Background to my interest in teaching children with autism

Teaching Children with Autism: AVE for the Symptoms of ADHD

Perhaps you have heard of “highway hypnosis.”  Driving by telephone poles posted alongside of a highway, one can be “hypnotized” by them – provided that the rate at which they are seen stimulates an alteration in the driver’s normal consciousness – by altering the driver’s normal brainwave activity.  Similarly, the stroboscopic lights in discos have occasionally produced seizure activity in some of the discos’ patrons. Both these phenomena occur because flashing a light at a particular frequency tends to evoke brainwaves at that same frequency, and the same thing is true of rapidly recurring sounds.

AudioVisual Entrainment (AVE) seeks to accomplish the same thing as neurofeedback – evoking a relaxed, attentive brainwave pattern – by presenting the client with particular frequencies of light and sound, and it is effective in doing so.  Furthermore, each brain hemisphere can be targeted separately: relaxation for the right hemisphere and alertness for the left hemisphere, for example.

The use of AVE equipment carries the risk of evoking seizure activity, although I know that at least some of the equipment being marketed (e.g., Dave Siever, www.mindalive.com) is designed to avoid doing that, insofar as possible.  When I used to do audio-visual stimulation, I would always started out with the client hooked up to my neurofeedback equipment, so that I could monitor brainwave activity and assure myself that we were getting the response that we wanted and not stimulating any out-of-control brainwave activity.

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