Monica Michael LPC | Video Transcript: Sue Othmer on Neurofeedback and Autism
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05 Jan Video Transcript: Sue Othmer on Neurofeedback and Autism

“As a developmental disorder, the child has missed out on what he needed to learn in that first year of life. He needed to learn emotional self regulation, physical awareness how to interact with the world.

Since that right brain that was maturing in that first year did not learn how to calm down. We have now, even many years later, we have a right brain that is sort of on fire. Everything to this type of brain is overwhelming which is why oftentimes. Autistic individuals like things to be very routine and very predictable. There is no real medical model for treating Autism. I definitely feel that Neurofeedback fills that hole. 2 years ago, I was completely non-verbal.

One in one hundred and fifty kids is struck with autism. Neurofeedback helped change the lives of these families. It’s been such an emotional roller coaster with him over the years of having Autism, going to school, not going to school. We were told it was gas, we were told it was, you know, she was sensitive or maybe she was allergic to certain foods or whatever, but now we know it was a sensory integration disorder you know, related to Autism. All of the sudden I heard a lady yell.

Why are you yelling at me? You shouldn’t be yelling at me young man! I looked at her and I said, “Is there a problem here?”

She goes, “Your son was yelling at me and I think that’s very disrespectful.”

“Ok, He’s got Autism and he makes noises, but I don’t think he was yelling at you.”

“Well, he should wear a sign or something that says I have Autism.”

We like to think of Neurofeedback as a brain exercise where we’re specifically exercising the brain’s ability to manage it’s own states. So to be calm enough, to be awake enough to be focused enough to do what you want to do is the goal. It’s like brain yoga in a way you know. There is a stretching, and a strengthening with this type of brain exercise. I think it can really have a profound effect on helping people just feel and function the way… the way they were meant to and just like a mother wants to shape the child’s behavior. We do this one level down at the level of brain behavior. I know some moms that have kids that are really autistic and have a hard time getting them to bed, getting them to eat, getting them up to go to school, and they haven’t seen Neurofeedback and I’m glad I found it.

Here’s how it goes, at 3:05 the door swings open and there in the other room stands Nora. You may come in. Come along. What Neurofeedback basically is that it’s a process whereby a person is essentially learning to exercise their own brain wave activity oh boy, oh boy!! And this is a very non invasive process and it’s extremely powerful. You want to do the alien ship this time?

Ok, we’ll do that. What you’re doing is, you’re sitting in front of a video screen you know, it looks to you like you’re looking at some kind of video game and there are electrode sensors that are attached to your scalp. Nora puts some cat saliva on to my ears and puts some cords into my head. This thing, it feels like a cat’s licking me. I know, it’s kind of gritty and wet. I was really afraid when she went to stick the electrodes to his scalp. I was afraid he’d freak out over that, because he doesn’t really like things touching him. He responded to that really well. I select which game we should play either Roller Ball or the ship one.

The feedback process is one in which we show you what your brain is doing and we typically show you in terms of a game. So video, audio video display that proceeds when your brain calms down and does not proceed and when you are not calming down, so you are step by step rewarded for going in a calming direction. The most rewarding thing is just seeing how happy he is and also how happy the rest of his family. It’s incredible not just what Neurofeedback does for individuals but for all the people around them.

And that is the map of the whole states of the United States of America. I think Neurofeedback has allowed Lily to go beyond one dimension. I think it was in our second month of Neurofeedback and Lily. I was thinking about something and I looked serious and Lily came up to me and she said- Are you ok mom? And it just floored me. And because anyone who has a child on the spectrum knows that they have real challenges reading non verbal queues much less facial expressions. So that was huge.


We found our way to Neurofeedback through the needs of our children and our older son had temporal lobe epilepsy, but also could easily have also been diagnosed Asperser’s.


His brain was deregulated and dysfunctional in a number of ways. Our son was not comfortable in this world. He couldn’t, there was no human interaction which was positive for him, including with his parents. When you have a child like that, there are no easy answers you know as a parent you try lots of things and nothing fixes it. so you have to just, you know plod on and do the things that are that get you a little bit and when we discovered Neurofeedback. We took him to another therapist who was doing this. It was so profoundly helpful for him that it got our attention and we ended up getting involved in the field. So I learned, probably most of what I learned, I learned from Brian. As a matter of fact our own son’s case is a paradigm for what we now do with the Autistic children .It’s really remarkable how just a very simple set of training techniques makes such a profound difference.

This is generally true of Neurofeedback is that we are, it’s kind of like physical exercise .We’re getting the person healthier and stronger and more resilient from the inside out instead of trying to beat down or contain or destroy the symptoms and that’s a beautiful process for the person who’s experiencing it and also of course for the family. The first thing was sleep. Literally after the first session her sleep was awesome. From what I have seen in my own practice and from Doctor Pineda’s study, I definitely see it as becoming very much more mainstream especially. Because it’s non-invasive and it helps a lot of other co morbidities. For example insomnia, A.D.D. Another area we were working on with Eric is focusing and concentrating eleven minus two is eleven? And he would sit down to do his homework and… mom I need this, mom I need that, oh look over there. He will now sit and go through a deck of flashcards voluntarily through the whole deck, flip them over, do the other side all by himself, no distractions.

It’s amazing. The kids started seeing that she was more like them than she wasn’t. I strongly feel, the more we do now and the more work from the inside out we do the less we are going to do later. I don’t know a lot about Neurofeedback. I know enough to see the changes because of seeing him in that chair and him be down and then five ten minutes later be excited about something. Any parent wants to see their child be successful and feel happy. So for us it’s huge. That’s my goal.

Cognitively she’s going to be great. She’s going to do fine but however, the processing systems interfere with cognition and if you don’t support the processing systems and support a happy child. If you don’t have a happy child what do you have? For more information on how Neurofeedback can help your child Visit”

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