Monday, October 30, 2017

The different therapies for autism

Individuals with autism belong on a large spectrum. In fact, no two people with ASD are alike. It is also a well-known and universally-accepted fact that there is no cure for ASD. There are, however, different kinds of therapies that can vastly improve the quality of living of a person with autism. Here are some of them.

Image source: fsnursing.com


Behavioral therapy

Applied Behavior Analysis or ABA helps a child with his everyday activities and how they relate to people. ABA also shows a child how to do things on their own at home, such as using the toilet, pouring water for themselves, and preparing their own meals. As such, ABA therapy is best done at home.

Speech therapy
Children on the spectrum often have trouble communicating. This is especially true for those classified as nonverbal or those with severe ASD. Speech therapy doesn’t necessarily teach these kids how to talk, but rather how to communicate via signs and signals. A popular method is having a set of pictures at home. Children point to the objects if they need or want to do something.

Occupational therapy
Occupational therapy or OT helps with the cognitive and physiological functions of a child. OT assists in fostering the brain and motor function coordination which kids with ASD have trouble with. This kind of therapy helps with the most basic movements such as climbing, walking, crawling, pointing, and others.

Image source: autismawareness.com

Dr. Curtis Cripe is a neuroengineer with a background that includes the treatment of learning and neurodevelopmental disorders. He currently leads the Research and Development department of the NTL group. For more on Dr. Cripe and the NTL group, follow this Facebook page.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Digit span: Its importance in neurodevelopment

Memory plays a huge part in one’s life. In learning, the brain is made stronger and more robust with the help of enhanced memory. In aging, using an individual’s various skill sets well into their older years, as well as remembering abilities, partly rely on memory. 

Image source: eideticmemorytest.com

In brain function, memory is one of the most important aspects because, as Crossroads Institute notes, it “defines who we are, what we know, and how we utilize what we know.” 

There are three categories of memories, namely short-term, intermediate or working, and long-term memory. Short-term memory can be measured using digit spans. It is done by letting the participants see or hear a sequence of numbers, and then checking if they were able to recall the digits correctly, either in the normal or reverse order. The longest sequential numbers they accurately remember serves as the digit span. The digit span is a representation of how much information any person can retain at any point in time. 

There are two ways of determining the digital span: either using auditory or visual triggers. If these digit spans are lower than the normal for a person at their age, or there is a significant disparity between the two, the individual could experience learning or behavioral problems. 

Image source: jn.physiology.org

Dr. Curtis Cripe has a diverse background in various fields, including neuroengineering, psychology, psychophysiology, addiction recovery, brain injury, and child neurodevelopment. For more information about him, visit this LinkedIn page.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Understanding developmental delay

When a child fails to meet certain developmental milestones, such as rolling over, walking, and talking, within the normal age range, there is a possibility that they are suffering from a developmental delay. 

Image source: babycenter.com

Parents and teachers should take note, however, that children develop skills at a varying timetable. For example, some kids learn how to walk as early as nine months, while some can start doing so months after their first birthday. Both ages are within the normal range of development. 

But if a child consistently lags behind in at least two out of these five main areas of development, he probably has developmental delay, and early intervention should be undertaken. 

Cognitive skills: This refers to a human’s ability to think, learn, reason out, and solve problems. Without this, children would find it difficult to explore his surroundings and learn basic skills. 

Social and emotional skills: This enables children to have a meaningful relationship, interact, and express themselves to other people. These skills also allow them to control their emotions.

Speech and language skills: This is the ability of children to communicate with other people – to understand other people’s verbal and non-verbal cues and to make themselves understood. 

Motor skills: Motor skills include fine motor, or the use of small muscles, and gross motor, or large muscles. These include grasping items, playing with toys, sitting, standing, walking, and more.

Everyday tasks: These are for toddlers who should be able to tasks on their own, such as eating, dressing, and taking a bath. 

Image source: understood.org

Dr. Curtis Cripe has created various proprietary programs that seek to help patients with brain-based dysfunctions, examples of which are learning disabilities, developmental delays, inappropriate behaviors, and many more. Learn more about him by checking out this website.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

A Few Known Causes Of Neurodevelopmental Disorders

The development of the nervous system is by no meager means simple. This process that includes the growth of the brain is genetically encoded, highly regulated, and orchestrated. Even the environment has a huge influence on the process.

With this in mind, it’s to be expected that any deviation from the development process may result in a disorder, specifically, a neurodevelopmental disorder. There are many major factors, such as the timing of these deviations. But as for the known causes, scientists and researchers alike have found a few that include deprivation, genetic and metabolic diseases, immune system malfunction, physical trauma, and as mentioned earlier, environmental factors.

Take for instance deprivation from social, mental, and emotional care. This causes delays when it comes to brain and cognitive development. More often than not these delays are severe, especially when deprivation occurs during infancy and early childhood.

Image source:cloudfront.net

Genetics though, is a bit different since it cannot be controlled. The best example of genetics playing a part in a neurodevelopmental disorder can be seen in children with Down syndrome. Immune dysfunction is also like genetics in the sense that it cannot be controlled. A lot of neurodevelopmental disorders that involve immune dysfunction happen during pregnancy. The disorder known as Sydenham’s chorea, wherein the body moves in an abnormal fashion has been found to be rooted in the body and reaction against Streptococcus bacteria, in which brain tissue is damaged.

Dr. Curtis Cripe is a neuroengineer with a background that includes child neurodevelopment. He is the head of the Research and Development department of NTL group. Learn more about Dr. Cripe’s work by visiting this Facebook page.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Understanding ADHD with These Helpful Facts

Over the past few decades, more and more individuals have been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD. A lot of speculation and debate has been had over ADHD, its existence and its nature. All the conflicting information has only served to cloud people’s understanding of ADHD. Here are a few facts that may help clarify the disorder.


Image source: telegraph.co.uk
It exists.
Forget about people saying that kids don’t have ADHD, that they’re just naturally and easily distracted. Most every medical, psychological, and educational organization in the US has recognized ADHD as a true medical disorder. Medical experts have also deemed it necessary to be treated once diagnosed.
It doesn’t discriminate.
ADHD can affect everyone. It doesn’t matter whether a person is young or old, or male or female, ADHD doesn’t discriminate. Although it has been found that almost one out of every ten children in America are diagnosed with ADHD, and two to three boys are being diagnosed for every girl.
It isn’t easily diagnosed.
ADHD is difficult to diagnose as the process of diagnosis itself is complex. People can’t look at a restless child and simply say that he or she has ADHD. A thorough observation has to be made to look for the various major symptoms. This period needs to go on for a minimum of six months. These symptoms and behaviors happen in almost every setting, which is why the people conducting the diagnostic procedure need to be extra observant at all times.
Image source: nydailynews.com
Dr. Curtis Cripe is a neuroengineer with a multi-disciplinary background that includes neurodevelopmental disorders in children. At present, he heads of the Research and Development department of NTL group. To find out more about Dr. Cripe’s work, follow this Facebook page.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Seeing Into The Spectrum: Advanced Neuroimaging Technique Said To Predict Autism

There used to be no predicting whether babies less than two years old will develop autism or other developmental disorders later on. But an advanced MRI technique being studied by researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is showing promise in decoding how different regions of the brain interact in babies at high risk for autism.

Image source: Harvard.edu

Functional connectivity MRI, or fcMRI, reveals a correlation between connections among certain areas of the brain and the likelihood of autism.The researchers focused on infants with siblings diagnosed with autism, as this set is assumed to be high-risk. The fcMRI, scanning 230 different regions of the brain associated with specific abilities such as language and social behavior, was conducted on them in their sleep when they were six months old. The scans were studied alongside other clinical information in the formation of predictions.

The study, published in the June 2017 issue of Science Translational Medicine, supports the idea that the brain undergoes changes before behavioral symptoms of autism manifest at two years. It then grouped neuroimaging results among a population of 59 six-month-old infants into autism and non-autism predictions. It also identified almost a thousand brain connections that are predictive of autism.

The confirmation of the study’s predictions was compelling. Eighty-two percent (9 out of 11) of infants predicted to develop the disorder went on to have autism. The study also correctly predicted all the infants who will not develop the disorder.

The predictive promise of neuroimaging in the early identification of neurodevelopmental disorders is seen to support recommendations for early intervention, which mitigates the behavioral symptoms of autism.

Image source: Psychneuro.wordpress.com

Dr. Curtis Cripe is a neuroengineer with a diverse multidisciplinary background that includes software development, bioengineering, addiction recovery, psychophysiology, psychology, brain injury, and child neurodevelopment. To learn about the basics of neuroimaging and other neuroengineering techniques, visit this webpage.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Learning Disorders And What People Can Learn From Them

Whenever people have trouble processing information from what they read in books, their learning rate goes down. This is more of a neurological disorder and can have negative effects on a person’s ability to organize thoughts and remember important details. Here are a few more learning disorders to note.

Dysgraphia

The symptoms of dysgraphia can mostly be seen in a person’s handwriting. This learning disorder has a huge impact on a person’s fine motor skills. People diagnosed with dysgraphia may exhibit irregularities in their handwriting, such as inconsistency when it comes to spaces, clear differences in font sizes, inconsistent use of paper space, numerous spelling errors, and overall difficulty in composition.

Image source: danielcameronmd.com
Auditory Processing Disorder or APD

As the name suggests, people diagnosed with APD have difficulty processing information that they hear. When there are subtle differences in the sounds of words, it often goes unnoticed by people with APD. This happens even when words are clearly spoken. Individuals with APD also have difficulty pinpointing the origin of the sound, and they sometimes find it impossible to make sense of it.

Visual Perceptual and/or Motor Deficit

This is very similar to APD except that the sense that is affected is sight. People with visual perceptual or motor deficit not only find processing and interpreting what they see, but they also have a difficult time copying or drawing it. Shapes and letters, as well qualities such as colors can get past them. They also have problems drawing either because they hold the pen or pencil too tightly, or they have poor hand and eye coordination.

Image source: huffingtonpost.com
NTL Group specializes in neuroengineering programs diagnosing and treating neurological disorders connected to learning disorders and many other disabilities. Dr. Curtis Cripe heads research and development. For more about his work, visit this website.