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Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) presents a unique set of challenges. Children deal with a wide range of symptoms and require very different treatment plans. Children that have this special blend of social and communication troubles face very unique challenges, especially in over-crowded schools.

ASD is related to behavior, emotions and communication, not intelligence. Children with ASD may learn, think and interact in their own unique way, but nearly half of those diagnosed with autism have average or above average intelligence. In fact, many of these people, regardless of IQ, have exceptional abilities or savantism in music, art, mathematics, literature and computer science. This can make training with these children a challenge.

assessment of autism

Is my child autistic?

Due to the complex and varying nature of autism, we must not simply judge by superficial symptoms such as a child's unwillingness to speak or to maintain eye contacts with others. More importantly, the severity of the symptoms, the effects on everyday functioning and school learning, and the duration of the problematic behavior are key assessment criteria. 

Through a comprehensive assessment of children's socio-behavioral aspects, a psychologist can distinguish an autistic child and may conduct further standardized testing and behavioral observations to evaluate the autistic child's strengths and weaknesses in learning, personal behavior and social communication, thereby setting appropriate developmental goals for the child.

Autism is a serious and long-term developmental impediment. To counter the debilitating effects of autism, early intervention often via behavioral and speech therapy is indicated to enhance the child's communication skills. When parents fully understand their child's special characteristics, they can help their children exploit their strengths and overcome their weaknesses, thereby expanding their developmental horizons.

Listening and Autism

Dr. Stephen Porges pointed out that the vagus nerve of autistic patients cannot provide a strong enough signal to promote a sense of security and connection. "Many people with autism have difficulty regulating their behavior and emotions. Their initial reaction to threat is often anger, irritability or aggression that may be expressed as an uncontrollable tantrum. These responses constitute a fight-or-flight reaction that can be difficult to manage". Social participation makes them feel threaten and fearful,  therefore, their sympathetic nervous system will become dominant, so that they will be in a state of fleeing or fighting for a long time.  From the frequent swaying or rotating behavior, patients with autism may be instinctive to stimulate and regulate their poorly functioning vagus nervous system (Vagus Nerve). Dr. Porges's research has documented parallels between the autonomic system — the system that controls the fight-or-flight system and the functioning of our organs — and difficulties with learning and socialising*. Essentially, if we cannot regulate our physiological state, we cannot socialize and connect with others.

Listening is actually a kind of "exercise", which tightens the muscles of the middle ear. The middle ear muscles are regulated by the facial nerves, and the facial nerves also regulate the eyelids. When you are interested to listen to people's speech, you naturally lift up the eyelids and tighten the middle ear muscles at the same time. You can even hear their voices even in a noisy environment . The middle ear muscles in the ears of autistic patients are not enough to block background noise, which makes it difficult to hear and look at others. Recent studies have shown that the auditory processing time of some autistic patients is lagging, so the sound is not synchronised with the visual image, which makes it difficult to understand and communicate.

Recent studies conducted by Steven Porges also confirmed that filtered music with movement improves state regulation problems and deficits in auditory (Porges, S. ,2013)  and reduce auditory hypersensitivities (Porges, S.,2014)  for a group of children with a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders.

📝 𝐓𝐨𝐦𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐬 𝐂𝐥𝐢𝐧𝐢𝐜𝐚𝐥 𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐞𝐚𝐫𝐜𝐡 #𝟏𝟎   What kind of improvement can autistic school children get? 

A related study invited 100 parents with autistic children aged 3-21 who reported that their children had changes after 60 hours of Tomatis training. The questionnaire they filled out contained twelve categories, 102 items of possible changes (Davis Kalugin, 2005) : 

1) 80% or above: interpersonal relationships have grown, listening and speech have improved,  significant improvements in academic achievements, and improved thinking and learning, more sustained attention, and improved behaviour                                                                                                                                                                        

2) Over 60%: better understand and express yourself, better sense of movement and rhythm, musical and singing skills progress                                                                                                                                                                                                

3) About half: Feeling more relaxed and more creative


*Porges S.W. (2005) The vagus: A mediator of behavioral and visceral features associated with autism. In M.L. Bauman and T.L. Kemper (Eds.) The neurobiology of autism. (pp. 65-78). Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

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