Organizing the Autistic Mind Part I: Brains, Brains, and More Brains
Everybody's brains are different
and certainly, the autistic brain connects in an unorthodox manner. Autism is
not curable, but there are many language strategies the SLP can do to assist in
organizing the brains of people with autism.
It is my theory that people with
autism do not cross hemispheres of the brain, from left to right. This doesn't
mean that people with autism don't use both hemispheres, but they can't connect
the hemispheres so that they interact the way most brains do in typical
developing peers. This can be seen especially in verbal children and adults
Dan Eden: Left
Brain : Right Brain
To understand right brain vs. left brain a bit more, you might
want to take the Brain Type Test. The Brain Type Test is based on the various characteristics
associated specifically with each hemisphere of the brain. This test produces
results unique to each individual's left and right hemispheres. Many of the
methods used for this test were pioneered by Dr. Roger Sperry's research on
brain lateralization, for which he won a Nobel Prize in 1981. Try it -- its
Signs that I see in my son and other children/adults
with autism that tell me the right and left sides of their brain do not
- As infants, they do not often crawl in the normal
- Learning to ride a bike is very difficult.
- Catching a ball if difficult -- predicting when that
ball will come their way is almost impossible.
- Left/right hand orientation is late in development.
- Balance and walking are askew.
- Single gating steps is late in development.
- Difficulty understanding abstract thinking.
- Difficulty understanding humor, jokes, figurative
language because of their reality base.
- Language skills are rote.
- Sentences often same and stifled.
- Flat affect.
- Lack of theory of mind.
- Attention to detail and not to whole.
- Attending and focus are difficult.
- Difficulty with transition and change.
- Difficulty with generalization.
- Difficulty with symbols.
- No difficulty with rules, but difficulty if the rules
- Fear of special perceptions.
- Lack of understanding proximity.
I'll tell you a secret -- it only took me 2 minutes to
come up with that list of 20 signs that tell me the right/left sides of the
brain with people with autism/ASD do not interact, and I could go on.
The point is that we, as SLPs, have a lot of work
ahead in dealing with the minds of children and adults with autism/ASD.
Next week I'm going to give you
some direct areas of speech therapy that you need to be sure you are enhancing
with all students with autism/ASD.
In the meantime, add to the list
of 20 signs that tell you the right/left sides of the
brain with people with autism/ASD do not interact. Let's see if we can hit 50!
"Speech pathologists make good things happen."