“The Brain That Changes Itself” and Autism

Autism Mum’s Review of ‘the Brain That Changes Itself’ – Australian Autism Handbook

The whole book is terrific, but it was Chapter 3: Redesigning the Brain that really captured my attention. This chapter focuses on research carried out at the University Of California in San Francisco (UCSF) around children with language and learning disorders. Professor Michael Mezernich and his team are the brains behind Fast ForWord, a plasticity-based children’s’ computer game that’s designed to improve auditory processing, attention and memory through a series of seven carefully targeted brain exercises. Although Fast ForWord was not specifically developed for children with autism, the researchers have found that many children on the spectrum also benefit from it, with the program not only alleviating their language issues but also helping them to become more connected socially.

This accidental finding encouraged Mezernich and his team to conduct research into ASDs. Their work thus far points to an overconnected but disorganised, hyperexcitable, hypersensitive brain (or specifically in this case a region of the brain called the auditory cortex).

And now to the best news of all: based on encouraging research in rats, where they found they could reverse brain changes they believe may be associated with autism, UCSF is currently developing a modified program to Fast ForWord, specifically for children with ASDs. Oh happy, happy day!

To read the full review see http://autism.janecurrypublishing.com.au/book-review-the-brain-that-changes-itself-by-norman-doidge