From Worrier to Warrior

Helping all ages tame and conquer The Worry Monster

Autism and Anxiety: Common Companions

Did you know that an autism diagnosis often always includes the need for anxiety management? In honor of Autism Awareness Month (April), I'm discussing strategies for parents with children on the autism spectrum and how they can conquer worry and anxiety. Read More

Autism and Anxiety

While you mentioned yoga and deep breathing, you missed an important tool that can be very beneficial for people with autism spectrum disorder:

Transcendental Meditation.

While other forms of meditation, such as mindfulness, are known to have slight effects on anxiety, they aren't nearly as pronounced as the effects from TM, and when you look at the effects of each kind of practice on the electrical activity of the brain, you will see a very startling pattern emerge:

Mindfulness and concentrative practices cause changes in the brain activity of normal meditators that are in the direction of the abnormal EEG and brain activity patterns typically found in people with ASD:
Resting state EEG abnormalities in autism spectrum disorders
Reduced functional connectivity between cortical sources in five meditation traditions detected with lagged coherence using EEG tomography
Shifting brain asymmetry: the link between meditation and structural lateralization

while the practice of TM causes changes in the brain activity that are pretty much exactly the opposite of those found during mindfulness and concentrative practices.
Enhanced EEG alpha time-domain phase synchrony during Transcendental Meditation: Implications for cortical integration theory
Focused attention, open monitoring and automatic self-transcending: Categories to organize meditations from Vedic, Buddhist and Chinese traditions

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Dan Peters, Ph.D., is a licensed psychologist who specializes in the assessment and treatment of children, adolescents, and families, particularly those who are gifted and twice-exceptional.


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