A New Start

The New Year gives us all a chance at making a fresh start. Everyone aspires to some kind of personal growth and renewal. It is also a time to remember that children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and other neuro-developmental disorders can change and grow in remarkable ways when given the chance. Have you ever been told that there is a critical period for brain development from birth to 3-years of age? There is little empirical evidence to support that claim. Dr. Gutstein, the co-founder of RDI (Relationship Development Intervention), calls the myth of the critical period the “boiled egg theory.” Actually, the brains of people with traumatic brain injury and stroke have been shown to reorganize and develop after injury even when the patient is elderly. Just as we may develop our will power or a new skill this year, the brains of people with ASD can undergo significant development at any age. We can help people of all ages with ASD improve in the areas of their core deficits, including flexible thinking and empathy. If you are looking for a therapeutic program for your child with ASD, check if it includes a plan to remediate the core deficits of ASD. When we challenge children to develop in these critical areas, our aspirations for them will grow.

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