One of the defining characteristics of autism spectrum disorder is difficulty with interpreting how others feel. While subjecting kids to early-intervention therapies have proven effective with their communication and social skills, there really isn’t a medication or procedure that can improve such aspects.
A team from Deakin University and the Monash Alfred Psychiatry Research Centre are looking onto a non-invasive treatment to treat depression to help people on the spectrum, one that could uses the bigger cousins of magnets in Brisbane and across the world.
The procedure, called Transcranial magnetic simulation (TMS) utilized magnetic fields from a coil placed on the patient’s scalp in order to stimulate parts of the brain.
Currently, the research team from the university are looking for participants, aged 14 to 30, with a professional diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder to be part of their study, with the hopes that earlier intervention leads to better and longer lasting results. Many are saying that the study is the first of its ilk to involve kids, as well as targeting a part of the brain that hasn’t really been focused on before; the right temporoparietal junction.
According to Professor Peter Enticott, the principal investigator of the team. He says that that particular part of the brain weren’t functioning the same way for people in the autism spectrum as it did with normal people when they were part of a social situation.
TMS, which is a new use for magnets in Brisbane and across the world, have already shown some promise according to some studies. Researchers, however, stress that it’ll take years to prove whether or not the procedure is both safe and effective for mass use.
There are, of course, some critics of the procedure. One common criticism levelled at the procedure is the fact that its effects wear off in time, requiring scheduled follow-ups. Other people have reported worse.
John Elder Robinson, an American author, underwent the procedure back in 2008, and he says that it was effective. But that was the problem; with him saying that he saw how people actually perceived and treated him.
Lydia Zahra, a music student and mentor to others in the spectrum, says that the treatment is unnecessary. She says that she managed to work on her social skills by simply mimicking friends and family, and that autism has given her traits that she’d never trade for, like her love of music.
Zahra says that the way people with autism focus on something they’re interested is so intense that it’s unbelievable, and the autism is simple something the world has to accept.