The Underconnected Brain
Recently, philosophies about autism have undergone a paradigm shift. Neurological research on the structure of autistic brains shows that there is no evidence of a structural deficit. However, MRI’s do show patterns of under-connectivity within the brain. As a result, the various parts of the brain can’t communicate effectively with each other. However, connectivity can be developed and strengthened through specific experiences. The more of a specific kind of experience one has, the more connectivity is developed in the relevant area of the brain . Therefore, the brains of children with ASD are not defective and ‘fixed’ as such. They are plastic and can develop all kinds of capacities and abilities.
Build Connectivity with Experiences
Current research also shows that connections form in the brain throughout our lifespan. Since children with autism have no inherent neurological deficit, the areas of under-connectivity in the brain can be strengthened by interactions that are responsive to the child’s subtle communications and attuned to his/her developmental levels. In other words, autistic brains thrive when fed with interactions and experiences that build connections in their otherwise underconnected areas. Interactions that promote strong, joyful, enthusiastic engagement will stimulate the brain and help develop greater inter-connectivity.
Most special needs caregivers are typically trained to assist with daily care activities while ensuring a child’s safety and physical security. We believe caregivers can also assist in facilitating any learning outcome by capitalizing on the numerous learning opportunities available each day. Our Childcare Specialists can facilitate parent directed goals while offering care in fun, creative ways.