Defining Autism 1
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The last 8 to 10 years, highly developed imaging techniques as well as studies of individuals with autism have shown us that they are abnormalities that we find in these individuals, especially in the cerebellum and in those brain regions that are components of the cerebellar system 1,2,3,4.

We are now beginning to understand that, a significant number of these individuals who have had autism throughout their life span, have indicated for the central ‘trunk’ of the cerebellum not been normal for them. Research always has its own positives and negatives, and sometimes we are left in a quandary questioning ourselves that are these revelations true or are they just methodological artifacts which are still in a realm of, further discussion as well as exploration.

In the human brain the vermal lobules VI and VII are the phylogenetically oldest part of the mammalian cerebellum. And it would be these structures, which would be involved, in the primitive behaviours, that differentiate mammals from reptiles, and this is significant because we have to understand that in the overall a evolutionary process mammals have evolved from reptiles at a certain stage in the process of a evolution.

What are these primitive behaviours that we are trying to share with you about. These primitive behaviours are primarily nursing along with a high degree of maternal care; audio vocal communication for ensuring that there is maintenance of the maternal-offspring contact, and play.

If we were to understand and appreciate that these so-called primitive behaviours, where a high degree of maternal care is involved to ensure the survival of the offspring, and where the integrity of the maternal to offspring contact is significant, then we would also appreciate that any disruption of these behaviours from the child's side of the interactions, is an activity that leads to the foundation of what we call the autistic triad.

Normally the cerebellar system, is concerned with the smooth and effective control of movement, and where as autism is known to involve certain specific areas of the human brain, these findings became all the more surprising, as the event specific analysis of individuals with autism is done, we find that certain disintegration as well as the reintegration of movement, especially after an insult to the brain leads to differences in the movement that is displayed by those on the autism spectrum disorder.

Our involvement with children here who come to the Dyslexia Association of India™, is generating a lot of data where we are finding that the coordination of movement across joints, and the integration of composite movements which are basically both functions of the cerebellum, I'm not perfect and show a high degree for the normality right from an early age for the child.

When a human child is on the tragic to ring of the developmental path, the movement of different parts of the body of the child come from different developmental stages. This in a way shows us that the developmental trajectory as well as the development itself is uncoordinated, and that the different as well as the oddity in the movements and the postures of those children who are on the autism spectrum disorder, often may be appropriate to earlier stages of development but somehow have been inappropriately preserved.

If we go back to when a child is an infant, and is around twelve months of age and is just about learning to walk, the normal posture of the hands of this infant who is just about learning to walk very closely resembles the limp, dystonic posture of one hand, that is displayed by those children who are on the autism spectrum disorder - especially when they walk.

The homogeneity of the neural architecture of the cerebellum is one of the characteristic features, which sets it apart. Whereas the other different parts of the nervous system connect in complex ways to the different parts of it, but these parts all have the same regular as well as the repeating micro architecture so that of all the structures in the brain, its architecture most closely resembles that of a computer. When we translate this into very simple language, what we are trying to share is that the role that it plays is the same for each functional system of which it is a part, but there is a difference in the functions of certain systems, which is characteristically seen in children with autism, as well as those who are on the autism spectrum and disorders.

Strange as it may seem, we at the Dyslexia Association of India™ are of the firm view that any disruption of processes involved in the coordination and integration of movement fundamentally disrupts human social behavior.

When children come to us for a screening for dyslexia, as a part of the entire neuropsychological screening process, we also do a systematic and in-depth screening for autism spectrum disorders.

So far for all the children that have been assessed by us, we have noticed a high degree of a form of disruption in the synchrony and symmetry among body movements and speech sounds.

The issue that is most surprising is that, we found that many of these our present already in the interaction between the mother and the child, and that particular connection that should be there, as if the maternal to child joint which should be strong is missing. These joints which are a fundamental feature of human interaction, and which are supposedly lacking in our personal and equivocal opinion, also define how autism affects a child.

It's more like a form of a disrupted dance, where if it were played out perfectly, it could have led to the formation of relationships in a perfect manner, but it's disruption in children with autism leads to a highly corrosive effect which can be grasped when one considers how uncomfortable the whole situation is. It's like as if the child is living in his or her own world of rhythm without understanding how to match her personal individual rhythm with the rhythm of the person who is trying to interact with her. Rhythm is all about coordinated movements, and uncoordinated movement leads to rhythm being distracted as well as disrupted creating the complexity of the social interaction failure that we see in children with autism.

This is where the role of the cerebellum comes in, because we personally believe that it is the cerebellum that is involved in coordinating the rhythm, and a disruption in within the cerebellum that is probably what may be leading to a failure in that natural extension of its role in coordination of movement across joints and in integration of composite movements.

When you bring your child to the Dyslexia Association of India™ we not only a assess the child comprehensively but we also check each and every issue relating to movement of the self as well as those brought about by the cerebellum which involve certain vermal lobules and related paravermal regions which are the parts of the cerebellum to which the auditory and visual senses connect.

So automatically the auditory as well as the visual deficits for children with autism for those who are suspected to be on the autism spectrum disorders are screened very for any significant sensory abnormalities as well.

We take the screening of the cerebellum which is long considered to be a motor structure and co relate it to the symptoms that the child is displaying as it is our belief that this particular structure is also phylogenetically and embryologically a sensory structure. The role that it plays were tracking movements is concerned, is significant enough in our opinion that with the resources that the Dyslexia Association of India™ has we are able to predict sensory consequences of all types, and understand how the entire system is feeding the predictions that it is speaking up from the environment as well as the reverse feedback system to the motor and other output systems.

For children with autism we have found that more often than not this function in this part of the brain can lead the child being unable to correctly estimate the trajectory of a stimulus, and these incorrect estimates produced the characteristic motor abnormality that we tend to see in children with autism, as well as sensory issues which are the principal feature of sensory abnormalities in autism.

In our screening we also analyze the parts of the cerebellum to which the auditory and visual senses connect and to which the other senses connect, and these would be the parts involved in the modulation of one sense by one another, a type of regulation also abnormal in autism.

Screening at the Dyslexia Association of India™ is grounded around a neurodevelopmental approach.

Rather than use a common theme, across many different disciplines which are all about the use of environmental accommodations that provide a consistent pattern of sensory, motor, attentional, emotional, or some other type of modulation – the Dyslexia Association of India™ is of the firm personal and equivocal opinion that the use of such accommodations is an incidental aspect of the entire surround of holistic intervention despite some of these being the active ingredient. Most if not all interventions compensate for one actual or potential type of cerebellar delay or another, and our effort at the DAI™ is to ensure that we coordinate and integrate the interventions that different groups of children who are on the Autism Spectrum respond to and which have been found to be useful.

The Dyslexia Association of India™ uses extremely structured and intensive skill-oriented training sessions to help children develop social and language skills along with family counseling for the parents and siblings of the children diagnosed as being on the spectrum.

There are a number of controversial therapies or interventions that parents have been known to differ to in their attempt to help and their children, but these interventions and controversial therapies are not supported by scientific studies and eventually are a waste of time and resources.

We normally advise the caregivers or the parents to use caution before adopting any unproven treatments, which are delivered by so-called specialists and homegrown therapy centers, which offer the promise of immediate results.

The Dyslexia Association of India™ users it’s patented and copyright T.R.A.I.N™ Neuroplasticity program to help children with autism overcome their behavioural as well as sensory difficulties and improve their cognitive abilities over a period of time using a combination of neuro plasticity along with applied behavioural analysis so that these children can lead balanced and fruitful lives, and be productive members of the community whereby they can stand on their own feet and have in place a self advocacy plan for the future.

For further information please contact the Dyslexia Association of India™ on our mobile number 88260 22886 or e-mail us at info@dyslexiaindia.org.in.

(Views and observations expressed in our articles are equivocal and personal based on our observations and experience. Being equivocal and personal they are non contestable and Individuals are under no pressure to confirm to our views, thoughts and observations. The accuracy ratio for screening and remedial processes of the DAI™ is extremely high.)


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