Autism and Brain Function
What is my autistic child Thinking?
It is no secret that parents of autistic children wonder what their children are thinking. I know this feeling personally because I am the mother of an autistic child.
In researching this entry, I asked my husband what he wanted to know about our son’s autism. He said, “I want to know more about what is going on in his head so that I can understand why he does what he does.”
There is lots of research into autism and brain function. And what it tells us is that the differences are subtle. One article, Autism Spectrum Disorder: Autistic Brains vs Non-Autistic Brains (psycom.net), says “If we look to the brain for answers or diagnosis, we won’t necessarily find it.” However other experts tell us that there are some answers to be found there. Dr. Jeffrey S. Anderson, MD, Ph.D., says “There’s a little bit of difficulty in autism communicating between the left and right hemispheres in the brain. There are not as many strong connections between the two hemispheres.”
This might explain why autistic children struggle with communication. Communication was addressed in an earlier blog on our family resource page here (How can I get my autistic child to talk? – SOAR Behavior Services (soarbehaviorwa.com) Along with the fact that the brain doesn’t have as many connections it has also been found that the brain of autistic individuals is slightly more symmetrical than the brains of typical individuals.
So what does this all mean? While much is still unknown, it is possible the structure of the brain affects the way the two hemispheres communicate. As a result, the lack of connections between the two hemispheres affects the way the brain functions. However, the answer to the question “what is my child thinking?” is still a ways off.