Can Meditation Help Treat Autism?
Meditation practice has been known to help develop empathy, attention, mind-body interaction and strengthening of the immune system. Could this apply to children afflicted with autism as well?
Neuroscientists are understandably excited about the potential, and are encouraged by the latest research on the ability of meditation to make structural changes in the brain.
A recent study by Sonia Sequeira and Mahiuddin Ahmed has made a connection between the potential benefits of meditation and the mental disorders of children born with autism. Autism has been gaining attention in recent years because of the alarming rate at which it is being diagnosed in children across the country. Part of the concern is the limited understanding of what causes the disorder. The overwhelming costs of intensive treatment programs and prescription drugs make the already troubling illness an exhausting weight for many of families experiencing it.
But there is hope for a less costly treatment method that could be accessible to everyone. Meditation has manifold benefits for the body and mind. Autism, a neurodevelopmental disorder, limits the ain’s normal capacities to understand speech and other social interactions due to an inability to process sensory information effectively. The brain suffering from autism is overwhelmed by the standard experiences of consciousness, essentially short circuiting during regular tasks.
According to the scientifically verified benefits to ain functioning that accompany regular meditation, autistic children might benefit from the rewiring that occurs during meditative repose. The study points to mantra-centered meditation, which utilizes the repetition of a phrase to center the mind, as the most attractive option for children as it is often cited as the simplest and most effortless.
This is an exciting option for the many families trying to find life-long solutions for their children. Hopefully, more researchers will take the direction that Sequeira and Ahmed have outlined and the time-honored traditions of ancient spirituality can lend a hand to modern science.
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