Chris' Success Story:

Full Spectrum Autism

 

Student Information

Name: Chris*

*actual name replaced

Gender: Male

 

Age: 16 

Diagnoses:

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder

  • Dyspraxia

Evaluation Dates: August 2016 & September 2019

Initial Functional Challenges: Chris entered Jacob's Ladder exhibiting primal displays of emotionality. He had immense social anxiety and his language challenges prohibited social engagement and meaningful exchanges with others.

Chris' Individualized Plan

Based on Chris' evaluation, we created an individualized model of care to help him develop a better-connected brain and reach the following emotional-behavioral goals.

Goal #1

 

Social Problems: Chris implements perspective taking in social relationships

Behaviors Measured Daily

 

1. Participates in problem-solving situations by asking opinions of peers

 

2. Self-monitors tone and body language when engaging with others

 

3. Manages emotions by actively pausing and/or taking RESETs

Goal #2

 

Thought Problems: Chris establishes a working understanding of perseverative (insistently repetitive) thoughts as related to present-minded thinking

Behaviors Measured Daily

 

1. Able to move past topic of high interest

 

2. Stays on appropriate topic

 

3. Utilizes reset tool when “locked” in thought process

Goal #3

 

Attention Problems: Chris is aware of his mind-body connection during cognitive endeavors in order to maintain homeostasis

Behaviors Measured Daily

1. Maintains internal rather than external focus

2. Maintains mind-body connection to avoid emotional outbursts in yellow zone moments

3. Gives concerted effort in less preferred tasks

 
 

What Chris' Parents Experienced

"There is a light at the end of every tunnel. Having Autism doesn’t mean it’s the end, it means that there’s a different way that the child can learn; if you have a child with Autism, and you can figure out how to get them here, this place has worked miracles."

- Chris' Parents

Chris' Academic Gains 

Our Whole-Brain Model of Care is built around the framework that a strong neurodevelopmental foundation is necessary to excel in academics. Chris put in the hard work of developing a strong neurodevelopmental foundation and experienced terrific academic gains.

 

Chris' Functional Gains

As Chris developed the proper connections between areas in his brain, he experienced tremendous gains in his emotional, behavioral, and communication functioning. 

August 2016

1. Would often show primal displays of emotionality

2. Immense social anxiety

3. Challenges with language that prohibited social engagement and meaningful exchanges with others

September 2019

1. Employs self-referencing and perspective-taking to appropriately advocate for needs in the moment

 

2. Frequently participates in social gatherings and has a large social network

 

3. Increased complexity of his own thoughts, allowing for higher levels of output on academics and production of more complex language

 

How Chris' Brain Changed

By utilizing a QEEG brain map, we were able to identify and measure where communication flow was lacking in Chris' brain (hypo coherence) or where communication flow was locked and/or was overly-used in Chris' brain (hyper coherence).

 

We identified Chris' top 10 hypo coherent connections and top 10 hyper coherent connections. Based on the regions of the brain that were struggling to communicate, it became clear why he was having the functional challenges that he was.

 

Over 3 years, specific activities were implemented in his individualized model of care to normalize these connections. Below is an example of two connection improvements.  

 

Example #1 of Chris' Brain Improvement

Communication flow between Chris' Prefrontal Cortex and Anterior Cingulate Gyrus was lacking by -3.75 standard deviations from a normalized connection.

 

Through Chris' individualized model of care, activities were implemented that improved his communication flow to +0.32 standard deviations from a normalized connection.

Prefrontal Cortex (Left) 

  • Planning and evaluating complicated goal-directed behavior

  • High level cognitive reasoning including making inferences about other people

  • Analyzing risk versus benefit

  • Attention

Anterior Cingulate Gyrus​ (Left)

  • Self-evaluation

  • Evaluative judgement and precautionary reasoning

  • Interpretation and synthesis of almost all sensory input

Example #2 of Chris' Brain Improvement

Communication flow between Chris' Orbital Frontal Association Cortex and Temporal - Primary Auditory Cortex was locked and/or overly-used by +6.18 standard deviations from a normalized connection.

 

Through Chris' individualized model of care, activities were implemented that improved his communication flow to +0.09 standard deviations from a normalized connection.

Orbital Frontal Association Cortex (Right)

  • Modulation of affect: empathy, consequences of actions, self-expression, willpower, planning

  • Inferencing about other people

  • Executive control of behavior

Temporal - Primary Auditory Cortex (Right)

  • Hearing different frequencies, pitch, intensities, and acoustic patterns

  • Mirror neurons

  • Visual/spatial working memory

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