Background to my interest in teaching children with autism

Teaching Children with Autism: Dealing with Anxiety

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) is a relatively recent bandwagon (compared to, say, psychoanalysis) that I have found hard to embrace, for I have never gotten over my respect for Psychoanalysis and the emotion-based therapies such as Systematic Desensitization.  In a previous incarnation (i.e., between my first and second retirements, when my practice consisted of biofeedback and psychotherapy), anxiety was my stock-in-trade, and Systematic Desensitization, which was designed for dealing with it (as well as any other physiological-arousal-based distress), worked very well.  When a cognitive element needed to be introduced into the treatment program, Ellis’ and Harper’s Rational Emotive Therapy (RET) served to do the job.  In posting dated November 16-19 November 2013, I introduced you to RET, and I won’t bother to repeat that information here – you can just refer back to it in the archives of this blog. 

I do want to remind you that I introduced Roger Callahan’s Thought Field Therapy and Gary Craig’s Emotional Freedom Technique in postings dated 20-22 November 2013.  These are quick and powerful ways of alleviating (if not eliminating) all negative emotions, and there is even some reports of their application to conditions such as autism, presumable for any aspects of the condition that relate to negative emotions.  However, there are other things that you can do to deal with the anxiety that is so often a part of the autistic picture.

In February of this year, I introduced you to the notion that “the brain produces electrical activity – brain waves – at frequencies ranging from very low to very high, and various brainwave frequency ranges have been gives various labels (named after Greek letters).  The very slow brainwaves associated with sleep are referred to as ‘delta’ waves; brainwave frequencies around eight or so cycles per second are referred to as ‘theta’ waves; brainwave frequencies around ten cycles per second and associated with meditation are referred to as ‘alpha’ waves; and brainwave frequencies around thirteen cycles per second and up are referred to as ‘[low] beta’ waves.  Normal relaxed alertness produces activity in the low beta range, say about 13-14 cycles per second, or vice versa – in fact, it seems likely that brainwaves drive behaviour and behaviour drives brainwaves, both influencing each other.”  One of the ways to modify brain activity is through drugs.  Other ways include relaxation, meditation, neurofeedback, and audio-visual entrainment.  Recently, there have been a number of apps developed to assist in this process.  Among those which I have explored and was beginning to think might have some potential are Holosync, Brainwave™ Zen Meditation, Brainwave™ 30 Binaural Programs, Binaural Beethoven Pro, and Bilateral Meditation Music with Brainwave Entrainment for iPad.  Before jumping all the way into them, however, I ran across an article by David Siever which puts binaural beats into some kind of perspective and which I would like to draw to your attention (see tomorrow’s posting).


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