Reduce Stress and Improve Behavior in Mothers and Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder or Intellectual Disabilities with Mindfulness

Reduce Stress and Improve Behavior in Mothers and Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder or Intellectual Disabilities with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

mindfulness meditation helps people with intellectual disabilities and autism spectrum disorder reduce their mental and physical problems.” – Yoon-Suk Hwang

 

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability that tends to appear during early childhood and affect the individual throughout their lifetime. It affects a person’s ability to communicate, and interact with others, delays learning of language, makes eye contact or holding a conversation difficult, impairs reasoning and planning, narrows and intensifies interests, produces poor motor skills and sensory sensitivities, and is frequently associated with sleep and gastrointestinal problems. ASD is a serious disorder that impairs the individual’s ability to lead independent lives including complete an education, enter into relationships or find and hold employment. Mindfulness training has been shown to be helpful in treating ASD.

 

Developmental disabilities are a group of conditions due to an impairment in physical, learning, language, or behavior areas. These conditions begin during the developmental period, may impact day-to-day functioning, and usually last throughout a person’s lifetime. Recent estimates in the United States show that about one in six, or about 15%, of children aged 3 through 17 years have one or more developmental disabilities. Many individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities are highly aggressive and at time combative.  Caring for children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities can be difficult.

 

Providing care for a child with autism or a developmental disability can be particularly challenging. These children’s behavior is characterized, in varying degrees, by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors. These make it difficult to relate to the child and receive the kind of positive feelings that often help to support caregiving. The challenges of caring for a child with autism or a developmental disability require that the parent be able to deal with stress, to regulate their own emotions, and to be sensitive and attentive to their child. These skills are exactly those that are developed in mindfulness training. It improves the psychological and physiological responses to stress. It improves emotion regulation. And it improves the ability to maintain attention and focus in the face of high levels of distraction.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effects of Mindfulness-Based Positive Behavior Support (MBPBS) Training Are Equally Beneficial for Mothers and Their Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder or With Intellectual Disabilities.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00385/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_934868_69_Psycho_20190314_arts_A ), Singh and colleagues recruited mothers of adolescents, aged 13 to 17 years, who had autism or a developmental disability. They were observed and their behavior measured over a 10-week baseline period and then provided a 3-day Mindfulness-Based Positive Behavior Support (MBPBS) program consisting of training in meditation and intervening to produce positive behaviors. Daily home practice was encouraged. They were then measured over the subsequent 30 weeks. Measurements were taken of meditation practice and perceived stress and the child’s aggressive and disruptive behaviors, and compliance with the mother’s requests.

 

They found that during the 10-week baseline that stress levels and the children’s behaviors were stable and unchanging. But during the 30-week follow-up period the mothers had large and significant reductions in perceived stress. They also found that the children displayed large significant increases with compliance with the mother’s requests and large significant decreases in aggressive and disruptive behaviors. Hence the Mindfulness-Based Positive Behavior Support (MBPBS) produced marked benefits for the mothers and also the children with autism or a developmental disability.

 

These are exciting results but the lack of a control condition limits the generalizability of the results. Nevertheless they suggest that a brief, 3-day, program can produce large positive benefits for both the mothers and the children. The improvements in the mothers’ stress levels were probably due to the improvements in the children’s behavior. This all suggests that this or similar programs should be implemented to greatly improve caregiving for children with autism or developmental disabilities.

 

So, reduce stress and improve behavior in mothers and children with autism spectrum disorder or intellectual disabilities with mindfulness.

 

interventions that target stress reduction in parents of children with intellectual and developmental disabilities may be an effective way to improve caregiver well-being and have collateral effects on child behavior and parent-child interactions.” – Laura Lee McIntyre

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Singh NN, Lancioni GE, Karazsia BT, Myers RE, Hwang Y-S and Anālayo B (2019) Effects of Mindfulness-Based Positive Behavior Support (MBPBS) Training Are Equally Beneficial for Mothers and Their Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder or With Intellectual Disabilities. Front. Psychol. 10:385. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00385

 

Parenting a child with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or intellectual disabilities (IDs) can be stressful for many parents. Mindfulness-Based Positive Behavior Support (MBPBS) is a customized mindfulness program that enables parents and other caregivers to reduce their perceived psychological stress to normative levels through mindfulness procedures and to support children with ASD or ID to self-manage their challenging behaviors through positive behavior support (PBS). In this study, we evaluated whether MBPBS would have differential effects on the stress levels of mothers of adolescents with ASD (n = 47) or with ID (n = 45) and the effects of the program on the aggressive, disruptive, and compliance behaviors of their children. Both groups of mothers participated in the 40-week study (10 weeks control and 30 weeks MBPBS program), rated their own stress levels, and collected daily observational data on the adolescents’ behavior. Results showed significant reductions in the level of stress in both groups of mothers, but no differential effects on mothers of children with ASD or with ID. In addition, significant reductions in aggression and disruptive behavior and increases in compliance behaviors were observed in the adolescents in both groups. The results suggest that MBPBS is equally beneficial for mothers of adolescents with ASD or ID. In the present study, although the mothers of children with ID had slightly higher levels of stress at baseline and mothers of children with ASD had lower levels of stress following the MBPBS program, the program can be considered equally effective in reducing the stress levels of both groups of mothers. This suggests that the program may be effective regardless of baseline levels of mothers’ stress.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00385/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_934868_69_Psycho_20190314_arts_A

 

Improve Physiological Relaxation in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder with Yoga

 

Improve Physiological Relaxation in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder with Yoga

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“mindfulness has emerged as a way of treating children and adolescents with conditions ranging from ADHD to anxiety, autism spectrum disorders, depression and stress. And the benefits are proving to be tremendous.” – Juliann Garey

 

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability that tends to appear during early childhood and affect the individual throughout their lifetime. It affects a person’s ability to communicate, and interact with others, delays learning of language, makes eye contact or holding a conversation difficult, impairs reasoning and planning, narrows and intensifies interests, produces poor motor skills and sensory sensitivities, and is frequently associated with sleep and gastrointestinal problems. ASD is a serious disorder that impairs the individual’s ability to lead independent lives including complete an education, enter into relationships or find and hold employment. It is also difficult and stressful for the caregivers.

 

The diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has been increasing markedly over the last couple of decades. It is currently estimated that over 1% of the world population has autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Its causes are unknown and there are no known cures. Treatment is generally directed at symptoms and can include behavioral therapies and drug treatments. Clearly, there is a need for effective alternative treatment options. A promising treatment is mindfulness training. It has been shown to be helpful in treating ASD.

 

A characterizing feature of ASD is dysfunction in the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) which is composed of 2 divisions. The sympathetic division underlies activation while the parasympathetic division underlies relaxation. When these divisions are out of balance the individual may be overly stressed or overly sedentary. Appropriate balance is important for health and well-being. A measure of balance is provided by the variability of the heart rate. Moderated heart rate variability reflects balance in the autonomic nervous system. So, changes in heart rate variability may be a good measure of relief of ASD by Yoga practice.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effect of Yoga Intervention on Short-Term Heart Rate Variability in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6329223/ ), Vidyashree and colleagues recruited children aged 8 to 14 years who were diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. All the children participated in continuing physical rehabilitation training. They were randomly assigned to receive either an additional 40-minute daily yoga practice for 3 months or no additional treatment. Yoga practice consisted of postures and chanting. The children were measured for the variability of their heart rate over 15 minutes with an electrocardiagram (ECG) measurement.

 

They found that after the 3 months of yoga practice there was a significant reduction in the resting heart rate of the children. Importantly, they found that a number of measures of heart rate variability were significantly improved in the children who practiced yoga including low frequency to high frequency ratio signaling a modulation of autonomic nervous system (ANS) activity. This signals a reduction in sympathetic activation and an increase in parasympathetic relaxation.

 

These findings suggest that yoga practice may significantly reduce imbalance in the ANS that characterizes children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). It is possible that this modulation may underlie the ability of yoga practice in improving ASD. There is a need for more research on this question. But the results are suggestive that yoga practice may be a beneficial treatment for children with ASD.

 

So, improve physiological relaxation in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder with yoga.

 

“mindfulness practices may be a viable technique in not only improving behavioral and cognitive responses in those with ASD, but also the overall well-being of their caregivers.” – Krupa Patel

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Vidyashree, H. M., Maheshkumar, K., Sundareswaran, L., Sakthivel, G., Partheeban, P. K., & Rajan, R. (2019). Effect of Yoga Intervention on Short-Term Heart Rate Variability in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. International journal of yoga, 12(1), 73-77.

 

Abstract

Background:

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by impairment in social interactions, communication, restricted, and repetitive behaviors. Evidence-based treatment options for ASD are limited. Yoga is practiced by over 20 million people worldwide, and multiple studies have investigated yoga as a possible effective intervention for children with ASD.

Aim:

The aim of this study is to investigate the effect of yoga intervention on short-term heart rate variability (HRV) in children with ASD.

Methodology:

In this study, 50 children (38 boys and 12 girls) with ASD were recruited from Swabhimaan Trust, Palavakkam, Chennai. They were randomly grouped into ASD with yoga intervention group (n = 25) and ASD without yoga intervention group (n = 25) by simple lottery method. Yoga group children underwent yoga training for 3 months, and the control group did not receive any such training. For short-term HRV, 15 min electrocardiogram recording in sitting posture was recorded in lead II using a simple analog amplifier.

Results:

In HRV, time domain parameters such as mean RR interval (0.72 [0.74] to 0.94 [0.92]), standard deviation of the NN intervals (52.04 [54.23] to 74.48 [72.80]), and root of the mean squared differences of successive NN interval (32.60 [34.40] to 40.83 [42.90]) significantly increased in ASD children after yoga intervention. In frequency-domain parameters, high frequency (HF) in n. u (48.08 [47.24] to 58.37 [59.22]) shows a significant increase and low frequency (LF) in n. u (52.4 [51.82] to 40.51 [40.12]), and LF/HF ratio (1.29 [1.31] to 0.78 [0.79]) shows a significant decrease in ASD with yoga intervention group children after 3 months of yoga training.

Conclusion:

Yoga interventions have been successful in bringing parasympathetic dominance in ASD children, and the greater advantage is being a noninvasive way of intervention to support children with ASD and help them to achieve physiological as well as psychological balance.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6329223/

 

Improve the Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Functioning of Autistic Children and Their Parents with Mindfulness

Improve the Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Functioning of Autistic Children and Their Parents with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“A weekly mindfulness session for children with autism and a separate program for their parents showed promising results. After nine weekly sessions of mindfulness training, 21 adolescents with autism reported better quality of life and less time spent wandering in thought about topics like sadness, pain, and why they react to things the way they do. Parents reported that their children were more socially responsive. Parents also reported reduced stress and less frequent use of “dysfunctional parenting styles,” such as shouting.” – Sarah Hansen

 

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability that tends to appear during early childhood and affect the individual throughout their lifetime. It affects a person’s ability to communicate, and interact with others, delays learning of language, makes eye contact or holding a conversation difficult, impairs reasoning and planning, narrows and intensifies interests, produces poor motor skills and sensory sensitivities, and is frequently associated with sleep and gastrointestinal problems. ASD is a serious disorder that impairs the individual’s ability to lead independent lives including complete an education, enter into relationships or find and hold employment. It is also difficult and stressful for the caregivers.

 

The diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has been increasing markedly over the last couple of decades. It is currently estimated that over 1% of the world population has autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Its causes are unknown and there are no known cures. Treatment is generally directed at symptoms and can include behavioral therapies and drug treatments. Clearly, there is a need for effective alternative treatment options.

 

Mindfulness training has been shown to be helpful in treating ASD.  In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness-Based Program for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Their Parents: Direct and Long-Term Improvements.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5968048/ ), Ridderinkhof and colleagues examined the effectiveness of mindfulness training to improve the social and psychological health of children and their families.

 

They recruited children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and their parents and provided the child and one or both parents separately with a 9-week mindfulness training program. The sessions occurred once a week for 1.5 hours. For the children the sessions included breathing meditation, body scan, a 3-min breathing space, and yoga practices. For the parents the sessions also focused on mindful parenting. Home practice was encouraged. Before and after training and 2 months and one year later, the children were measured through self- and parental report for social communications, emotional and behavioral functioning, and mindfulness. Parents were assessed for their social communications, emotional and behavioral functioning, mindfulness, and parental stress.

 

They found that after treatment and 2 months and one year later the parents reported that the children showed significant improvement in social communications and attention and significant decreases in externalizing and internalizing symptoms, and rumination. The parents showed significant improvements in their social communications, attention mindfulness, and self-compassion and significant decreases in externalizing and internalizing symptoms, perceived stress, stress concerning parenting, and over-reactivity,. Hence, the mindfulness training appeared to produce significant improvements in both the children with autism spectrum disorder and their parents.

 

The results, however, have to be interpreted very cautiously. This study ran for over a year and there was no comparison condition. During that time the children mature, learn in school, and have additional experiences and the parents continue to learn how to cope with their child’s ASD. So, the observed improvements may have occurred anyway, even without the mindfulness training. The results, though are encouraging and suggest that a randomized controlled trial is justified. ASD is such a difficult issue for the child and the parents that the investment in further study is needed.

 

So, improve the social, emotional, and behavioral functioning of autistic children and their parents with mindfulness.

 

mindfulness practices may be a viable technique in not only improving behavioral and cognitive responses in those with ASD, but also the overall well-being of their caregivers.” – Krupa Patel

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Ridderinkhof, A., de Bruin, E. I., Blom, R., & Bögels, S. M. (2018). Mindfulness-Based Program for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Their Parents: Direct and Long-Term Improvements. Mindfulness, 9(3), 773–791. http://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-017-0815-x

 

A combined mindfulness-based program for children and their parents (MYmind) was beneficial for adolescents with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). In this study, we investigated whether this program is also beneficial for younger children with ASD, whether effects last on the long-term, and whether it reduces common comorbid problems. Forty-five children referred with ASD aged 8 until 19 years old, and their parents participated. Repeated measures of children’s and parents’ social communication problems, emotional and behavioral functioning, mindful awareness, and of parenting were conducted pre-intervention, post intervention, 2-month follow-up, and 1-year follow-up. While children did not report significant changes in mindful awareness, their social communication problems decreased, and their emotional and behavioral functioning improved. Results were not consistent at each occasion; improvements reported by children were most substantial at a 2-month follow-up and only partly remained at a 1-year follow-up, while all children’s improvements as reported by parents were present on all occasions. Parents themselves reported improved emotional and behavioral functioning, improved parenting, and increased mindful awareness on all occasions. Parents’ social communication problems reduced only directly after the intervention. Most improvements were supported by the qualitative investigation of children’s and parents’ experienced change as reported on open-ended questions. This study suggests that children, including adolescents, with ASD and their parents can benefit from a mindfulness-based program with parallel sessions for children and parents.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5968048/

 

Improve Social and Emotional Skills in Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder with Yoga

Improve Social and Emotional Skills in Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder with Yoga

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“in addition to benefits typically associated with yoga—improved strength and flexibility, and an increasing sense of peace—autistic children also experience a reduction of pain, anxiety, aggression, obsessive behaviors, and self-stimulatory activities. And there’s more good news. The children are also having greater success making new friends and regulating emotions.” – Hannah Brandstaetter

 

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability that tends to appear during early childhood and affect the individual throughout their lifetime. It affects a person’s ability to communicate, and interact with others, delays learning of language, makes eye contact or holding a conversation difficult, impairs reasoning and planning, narrows and intensifies interests, produces poor motor skills and sensory sensitivities, and is frequently associated with sleep and gastrointestinal problems. The diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has been increasing markedly over the last couple of decades. It is currently estimated that over 1% of the world population has autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The Centers for Disease Control estimates that in the U.S. 1 in 68 children (1 in 42 boys and 1 in 189 girls) have autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

 

ASD is a serious disorder that impairs the individual’s ability to lead independent lives including completing an education, entering relationships or finding and holding employment. Its causes are unknown and there are no known cures. Treatment is generally directed at symptoms and can include behavioral therapies and drug treatments. Clearly, there is a need for effective treatment options. Mindfulness training has been shown to be helpful in treating ASD. Exercise has also been shown to help relieve some of the symptoms of ASD. It stands to reason, then, that the combination of mindfulness training and exercise provided by yoga practice would be effective for the symptoms of ASD.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effects of multimodal mandala yoga on social and emotional skills for youth with autism spectrum disorder: An exploratory study.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: http://www.ijoy.org.in/article.asp?issn=0973-6131;year=2018;volume=11;issue=1;spage=59;epage=65;aulast=Litchke), Litchke and colleagues performed an exploratory pilot study of the effectiveness of a yoga program specially tailored for children with Autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Five boys, aged 8 – 13 years, with ASD were recruited and provided with 2 guided 60-minute group yoga sessions per week for 4 weeks. The participants sat in a circle and were led in “Multimodal Mandala yoga comprised 26 circular partner/group poses, color and tracing sheets, rhythmic chanting, yoga cards, and games.” Before and after training they were measured for social skills and facial/emotional mood.

 

They found that after training the boys had significant improvements in social skills, including response to initiation, initiating interaction, and affective understanding and perspective taking. In addition, qualitative analysis of narrative notes made by the program helpers suggested that there were improvements, after yoga training, in the boys’ mood and emotional expression, teamwork, and empathy toward others. These results suggest that the yoga program enhanced the social and emotional behaviors of the boys with ASD. The yoga program appeared to improve skills needed for developing positive relationships with others.

 

These results must be taken as preliminary and no clear conclusions can be reached as this was an uncontrolled pilot study. But the results provide clear support for conducting a larger randomized controlled clinical trial. Improving social skills and emotional responding is very important for boys with Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) to be able to better navigate their environment and carry on successful lives. These pilot results provide hope that yoga practice may be helpful.

 

So, improve social and emotional skills in youth with autism spectrum disorder with yoga.

 

“Children with autism and special needs can learn coping strategies through the practice of yoga so they may live calmer, happier, more peaceful and healthier lives.”

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Litchke LG, Liu T, Castro S. Effects of multimodal mandala yoga on social and emotional skills for youth with autism spectrum disorder: An exploratory study. Int J Yoga 2018;11:59-65

 

Context: Youth with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) demonstrates impairment in the ability to socially and emotionally relate to others that can limit participation in groups, interaction with peers, and building successful life relationships. Aims: The aim of this exploratory study was to examine the effects of a novel multimodal Mandala yoga program on social and emotional skills for youth with ASD. Subjects and Methods: Five males with ASD attended 1 h yoga sessions, twice a week for 4 weeks. Multimodal Mandala yoga comprised 26 circular partner/group poses, color and tracing sheets, rhythmic chanting, yoga cards, and games. Treatment and Research Institute for ASD Social Skills Assessment (TSSA) scores were collected before and after the eight yoga sessions. The Modified Facial Mood Scale (MFMS) was used to observe mood changes before and after each yoga class. Paired sample t-tests were conducted on TSSA and MFMS scores to compare social and emotional differences post the 4-week camp. Narrative field notes were documented after each of the eight yoga sessions. Results: A significant improvement from pre- to post-test was found in overall TSSA (t(4) = −5.744, P = 0.005) and on respondent to initiation (t(4) = −3.726, P = 0.020), initiating interaction (t(4) = −8.5, P = 0.039), and affective understanding and perspective taking subscales (t(4) = −5.171 P = 0.007). Youth’s MFMS scores increased from 80% to 100% at the end of eight yoga sessions demonstrating a pleasant or positive mood. Thematic analysis of the narrative notes identified three key factors associated with the yoga experience: (a) enhanced mood and emotional expression, (b) increased empathy toward others, and (c) improved teamwork skills. Conclusion: This multimodal Mandala yoga training has implication for developing positive social and emotional skills for youth with ASD.

http://www.ijoy.org.in/article.asp?issn=0973-6131;year=2018;volume=11;issue=1;spage=59;epage=65;aulast=Litchke

Improve Childhood Autism with Yoga

Improve Childhood Autism with Yoga

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“yoga can be of significant benefit to children with ASD. In addition to benefits typically associated with yoga such as increased strength, balance, coordination and flexibility, benefits such as increased social-emotional skills, language and communication, body awareness, self-regulation, focus and concentration and a reduction in anxiety, impulsive, obsessive, aggressive and self-stimulatory behaviors have also been noted.” – Shawnee Hardy

 

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability that tends to appear during early childhood and affect the individual throughout their lifetime. It affects a person’s ability to communicate, and interact with others, delays learning of language, makes eye contact or holding a conversation difficult, impairs reasoning and planning, narrows and intensifies interests, produces poor motor skills and sensory sensitivities, and is frequently associated with sleep and gastrointestinal problems. The diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has been increasing markedly over the last couple of decades. It is currently estimated that over 1% of the world population has autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The Centers for Disease Control estimates that in the U.S. 1 in 68 children (1 in 42 boys and 1 in 189 girls) have autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

 

ASD is a serious disorder that impairs the individual’s ability to lead independent lives including completing an education, entering relationships or finding and holding employment. Its causes are unknown and there are no known cures. Treatment is generally directed at symptoms and can include behavioral therapies and drug treatments. Clearly, there is a need for effective treatment options. Mindfulness training has been shown to be helpful in treating ASD. Exercise has also been shown to help relieve some of the symptoms of ASD. It stands to reason, then, that the combination of mindfulness training and exercise provided by yoga practice would be effective for the symptoms of ASD.

 

In today’s Research News article “Efficacy of Structured Yoga Intervention for Sleep, Gastrointestinal and Behaviour Problems of ASD Children: An Exploratory Study.” See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5427410/, Narasingharao and colleagues performed a pilot study the ability of yoga training to alleviate some of the symptoms of Autism spectrum disorder (ASD). They recruited children between the ages of 5 and 15 years who had been diagnosed with ASD and their parents. Children were excluded if they had severe health issues or exhibited symptoms of Attention Deficit and Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD). The children were randomly assigned to receive either 90 days of structured yoga instruction and practice for 75 minutes daily in the morning or to a no treatment control condition. The yoga program included breathing exercises, postures, and relaxation. The parents and teachers of the children completed evaluations before and after treatment of the children’s sleep, gastrointestinal problems, and behavioral problems.

 

They found that after treatment the yoga group, but not the control group, demonstrated significant improvements in sleep and increases in uninterrupted sleep, significant improvements in digestive problems, and significant improvements in behavior. The children improved in attention, hyperactivity, social interactions, verbal behavior, cognitive performance, body awareness, and autistic behaviors. This was a pilot study and a randomized controlled trial needs to be conducted with an active control group, more objective measures of behavior, and longer term follow-up. The active control is needed to determine if the exercise and not the yoga per se was responsible for the improvements. Nevertheless, the results are striking and certainly justify the investment in performing a larger trial.

 

The findings are exciting. Keeping in mind the limitations in drawing conclusions based upon a pilot trial, the results suggest that yoga practice produces significant improvements in the symptoms of Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in children. These improvements, in turn, markedly improved life for the parents and teachers. Since ASD is so difficult to treat, the present results are particularly exciting and suggest that the discipline of yoga may be of great benefit to the children with ASD and the people who have to care for or teach them.

 

So, improve childhood autism with yoga.

 

“It seems there is little these days that doesn’t benefit from yoga, and it is amazing to see yoga work its magic on children with autism and their families.” – Elizabeth Rowan

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Narasingharao, K., Pradhan, B., & Navaneetham, J. (2017). Efficacy of Structured Yoga Intervention for Sleep, Gastrointestinal and Behaviour Problems of ASD Children: An Exploratory Study. Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research : JCDR, 11(3), VC01–VC06. http://doi.org/10.7860/JCDR/2017/25894.9502

 

Abstract

Introduction

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neuro developmental disorder which appears at early childhood age between 18 and 36 months. Apart from behaviour problems ASD children also suffer from sleep and Gastrointestinal (GI) problems. Major behaviour problems of ASD children are lack of social communication and interaction, less attention span, repetitive and restrictive behaviour, lack of eye to eye contact, aggressive and self-injurious behaviours, sensory integration problems, motor problems, deficiency in academic activities, anxiety and depression etc. Our hypothesis is that structured yoga intervention will brings significant changes in the problems of ASD children.

Aim

The aim of this study was to find out efficacy of structured yoga intervention for sleep problems, gastrointestinal problems and behaviour problems of ASD children.

Materials and Methods

It was an exploratory study with pre-test and post-test control design. Three sets of questionnaires having 61 questions developed by researchers were used to collect data pre and post yoga intervention. Questionnaires were based on three problematic areas of ASD children as mentioned above and were administered to parents by teachers under the supervision of researcher and clinical psychologists. Experimental group was given yoga intervention for a period of 90 days and control group continued with school curriculum.

Results

Both children and parents participated in this intervention. Significant changes were seen post yoga intervention in three areas of problems as mentioned above. Statistical analysis also showed significance value of 0.001 in the result.

Conclusion

Structured yoga intervention can be conducted for a large group of ASD children with parent’s involvement. Yoga can be used as alternative therapy to reduce the severity of symptoms of ASD children.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5427410/

Improve Autism with Yoga

Improve Autism with Yoga

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Children with autism have very different sensory experiences from other people, and these responses often cause their bodies to get stuck in fight, flight, or freeze modes that divert blood from the digestive organs to the skeletal muscles. This activity results in disrupted digestion, increased heart rate, and shallower breathing—all of which readily provoke anxiety. Yoga helps a student’s body to get out of the ‘fight, flight or freeze’ response, and to feel more relaxed and less anxious. When the body is no longer in the ‘fight, flight or freeze’ response, blood returns to the core and the body can do its work of breathing.” – Louise Goldberg.

 

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability that tends to appear during early childhood and affect the individual throughout their lifetime. It affects a person’s ability to communicate, and interact with others, delays learning of language, makes eye contact or holding a conversation difficult, impairs reasoning and planning, narrows and intensifies interests, produces poor motor skills and sensory sensitivities. The diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has been increasing markedly over the last couple of decades. It is currently estimated that over 1% of the world population has autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The Centers for Disease Control estimates that in the U.S. 1 in 68 children (1 in 42 boys and 1 in 189 girls) have autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

 

ASD is a serious disorder that impairs the individual’s ability to lead independent lives including entering relationships or finding and holding employment. Its causes are unknown and there are no known cures. Treatment is generally directed at symptoms and can include behavioral therapies and drug treatments. Clearly, there is a need for effective treatment options. In today’s Research News article “Relaxation Response–Based Yoga Improves Functioning in Young Children with Autism: A Pilot Study.” See summary below or view the full text of the study at:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3221508/

Rosenblatt and colleagues study the application of yoga practice for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in a pilot investigation.

 

They recruited children between the ages of 3 to 16 who were diagnosed with ASD and divided them into preschool (ages3-4), latency (ages 5-12), and adolescence (ages 13-16) groups. The children continued their usual treatments plus practiced yoga for 45 minutes once a week for eight weeks. Parents were instructed to encourage yoga practice at home guided with a CD. The program included breathing techniques, postures, music and dance, and relaxation. The participants were measured before and after the 8-week treatment period for behavioral symptoms, atypicality, depression, externalizing, internalizing, aberrant behaviors, and irritability.

 

They found that the latency group (ages 5-12) after the 8 weeks of yoga practice showed significant improvements in behavioral symptoms, atypicality, depression, externalization, internalization, and irritability. These are interesting results, but it was a pilot study, lacking a control condition. So, conclusions must be highly tempered. Nevertheless, over the course of the study the 5 to 12-year-old children had significant improvements in ASD symptoms.

 

It is particularly interesting that atypicality was improved. Atypicality involves the core characteristics of autism, including all of their atypical behaviors, behaviors well outside the norms. Interestingly, it also involves extremes in intelligence, from genius to retardation. So, yoga practice appears to go right to the core of autism and improve the unusual behavior that are typical of ASD. This is particularly significant and provides impetus to performing a large randomized clinical trial of yoga practice as a treatment for autism spectrum disorder.

 

So, improve autism with yoga.

 

But seeing the kids—many of whom were extremely anxious, withdrawn, or angry—let go, for even a moment, was a revelation. We were amazed at how effective yoga was with these children and how much they enjoyed it.” – Louise Goldberg.

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

Rosenblatt, L. E., Gorantla, S., Torres, J. A., Yarmush, R. S., Rao, S., Park, E. R., … Levine, J. B. (2011). Relaxation Response–Based Yoga Improves Functioning in Young Children with Autism: A Pilot Study. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 17(11), 1029–1035. http://doi.org/10.1089/acm.2010.0834

 

Abstract

Objectives

The study objectives were to develop and objectively assess the therapeutic effect of a novel movement-based complementary and alternative medicine approach for children with an autism-spectrum disorder (ASD).

Design

A within-subject analysis comparing pre- to post-treatment scores on two standard measures of childhood behavioral problems was used.

Settings and location

The intervention and data analysis occurred at a tertiary care, medical school teaching hospital.

Subjects

Twenty-four (24) children aged 3–16 years with a diagnosis of an ASD comprised the study group.

Intervention

The efficacy of an 8-week multimodal yoga, dance, and music therapy program based on the relaxation response (RR) was developed and examined.

Outcome measures

The study outcome was measured using The Behavioral Assessment System for Children, Second Edition (BASC-2) and the Aberrant Behavioral Checklist (ABC).

Results

Robust changes were found on the BASC-2, primarily for 5–12-year-old children. Unexpectedly, the post-treatment scores on the Atypicality scale of the BASC-2, which measures some of the core features of autism, changed significantly (p=0.003).

Conclusions

A movement-based, modified RR program, involving yoga and dance, showed efficacy in treating behavioral and some core features of autism, particularly for latency-age children.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3221508/

Care for Autism Caregivers with Mindfulness

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Care for Autism Caregivers with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Mindful Parenting is a contemplative practice through which our connection to our child, and awareness of our child’s presence, helps us become better grounded in the present moment” – Mindful Parent

 

There is a tremendous demand for caregiving in the US. It is estimated that over 65 million (29% of the adult population) provides care to someone who is ill, disabled or aged, averaging 20 hours per week spent caring for their loved ones. This caregiving comes at a cost to the caregiver. It exacts a tremendous toll on caregivers’ health and well-being. Caregiving has been associated with increased levels of depression and anxiety as well as higher use of psychoactive medications, poorer self-reported physical health, compromised immune function, and increased mortality.

 

Providing care for a child with autism can be particularly challenging. About one out of every 68 children is considered autistic. These children’s behavior is characterized, in varying degrees, by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors. These make it difficult to relate to the child and receive the kind of positive feelings that often help to support caregiving. The challenges of caring for a child with autism require that the parent be able to deal with stress, to regulate their own emotions, and to be sensitive and attentive to their child. These skills are exactly those that are developed in mindfulness training. It improves the psychological and physiological responses to stress. It improves emotion regulation. And it improves the ability to maintain attention and focus in the face of high levels of distraction.

 

The skills developed with mindfulness training become particularly important with caregiving for children with autism. All of the challenges of parenting become amplified. The application of mindfulness skills to the parents of children with autism is relatively new. So, it would seem reasonable to investigate this further. In today’s Research News article “Effectiveness of mindfulness-based interventions on quality of life and positive reappraisal coping among parents of children with autism spectrum disorder.” See:

https://www.facebook.com/ContemplativeStudiesCenter/photos/a.628903887133541.1073741828.627681673922429/1422543424436246/?type=3&theater

or see summary below, Rayan and Ahmad recruited parents of children with autism and randomly assigned them to either receive 5 weeks of mindfulness training or a no-treatment control group. Mindfulness training was delivered in weekly 2.5 hour sessions with accompanying homework. The parents were measured prior to and after the training for quality of life, the ability to positively reappraise stress, and mindfulness.

 

They found that after mindfulness training the parents, not surprisingly, were significantly higher in mindfulness. Importantly, they also had significant improvements in quality of life including both psychological and social aspects and showed significant improvement in their ability to positively reappraise stress. Mindfulness training appear to have relatively powerful effects as all of the effects occurred with moderate to strong effect sizes. So, mindfulness training produced positive improvements in the parents in their ability to cope with the stresses of caring for an autistic child and improved their quality of life.

 

These results are important. Caring for a child with autism is difficult and takes a toll on the parents. They need help and support. The findings demonstrate that mindfulness training may be a powerful treatment to improve the parents’ quality of life and ability to cope with the stresses. Mindfulness training may do this by focusing attention on the present moment. Thinking about the past problems with the child and looking to future issues can result in deep worry, rumination, and catastrophic thinking. This amplifies the stresses of parenting a child with autism. By moving attention to just dealing with what is occurring in the present, these stresses can be coped with on their own basis alone, without amplification. This should markedly improve the quality of life for the parents.

 

So, care for autism caregivers with mindfulness.

 

“through mindfulness practice, we can come home to ourselves, getting on our own best side, attending to our own needs in a way that only we can do for ourselves. Parenting can be so hard, so the intention is to not make it worse. We learn to let go of unrealistic expectations, to love and accept ourselves more and more as we really are, finding more and more wholeness. Our children are in need of our unconditional love. But, we cannot give what we do not possess. Therefore, we must begin first with ourselves, experiencing more and more kindness, compassion and self-acceptance. As a result, this begins to naturally flow to our children, more and more.” – Lisa Kring

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts

 

Study Summary

 

Rayan A, Ahmad M. Effectiveness of mindfulness-based interventions on quality of life and positive reappraisal coping among parents of children with autism spectrum disorder. Res Dev Disabil. 2016 Aug;55:185-96. doi: 10.1016/j.ridd.2016.04.002.

 

Highlights

  • QOL is considered a critical outcome for measuring the effectiveness of intervention programs for parents of children with ASD.
  • To date, little is known about the effectiveness of MBI on QOL and coping in parents of children with ASD.
  • MBI can improve psychological and social domains of QOL and enhance coping in parents of children with ASD.
  • Parents who non-judgmentally respond to their children are expected to report better QOL and positive stress reappraisal coping.
  • The MBI should be considered as a supportive intervention to help parents of children with ASD.

 

Abstract

Background: Previous research has supported mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) to enhance quality of life (QOL) in different populations, but no studies have been found to examine the effectiveness of MBIs on QOL among parents of children with ASD.

Aim: The purpose of the current study was to examine the effectiveness of brief MBI on perceived QOL and positive stress reappraisal (PSR) among parents of children with ASD.

Methods: A quasi-experimental, with nonequivalent control group design was used. One hundred and four parents of children with ASD were equally assigned to the intervention and control groups. The study groups were matched on measures of their gender and age, and level of severity of ASD in children. The intervention group participated in MBI program for 5 weeks, while the control group had not attended the program.

Results: After the intervention program, results of paired samples t-test indicated that parents in the intervention group demonstrated significant improvements in measures of psychological health domain of QOL, social health domain of QOL, mindfulness, and positive stress reappraisal with medium to large effect size (P < 0.01). The control group demonstrated improvement in measures of the dependent variables with small effect size.

Conclusion: MBI is culturally adaptable, acceptable, and effective method to improve QOL and PSR in parents of children with ASD.