Monday, April 22, 2013

The next big thing

You know how wary I am of quackery. How angry I get about all the whack-jobs out there peddling their bizarre, untested therapies and "cures" to parents desperate to do something, anything, to help their children function more easily in the neurotypical world.

So it is with a great deal of skepticism and a after whole lot of reading that I have scheduled an appointment for Ryan to have his brain mapped.

Next week I will take Ryan to a doctor's office an hour away from home. They will put a bathing cap-type thing on his head, squirt gel through the holes, and hook electrodes up to his head. Then a nurse will perform a Quantitative Electroencephalograph (QEEG) while Ryan performs tasks like reading and counting.

Based on the resulting brain map, he will then start a lengthy regimen of neurofeedback therapy. The premise is that the brains of autistic people have atypical electrical activity (the brain map will "reveal areas of cortical dysregulation occurring on the right hemisphere"), and that the brain can be trained to rewire itself, resulting in greater "social competence." Ryan will play computer games, and the bathing cap thingy will signal when his brain is firing strangely, and then the game will stop until he brain is typical again. Magical scientific stuff happens, and after a few months the brain has been permanently reprogrammed.

On face this sounds like it could easily be bullshit. So I read up, asked around, and various people I trust assured me that neurofeedback therapy is for real. I met with the doctor, and he seemed legit.

I want to believe this will help Ryan interact with other kids in more expected ways. I really do. But it's a significant investment of time and money, and I don't want to be ripped off or made a fool of, or waste time that could be better spent at a playground.

Because I'm kind of desperate to do something.

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