Harry D. Schneider, M.D. is a Physician and Brain Research Scientist Columbia University Medical Center. Columbia University is one of the leading centers using Functional MRI/DTI to investigate language decline in children with low-functioning autism. Dr. Schneider will bring his autism research and cutting edge therapies to ICare4Autism’s August Autism Conference.
The typical age of autism onset is before 3 years of age. Symptoms can include problems such as: using and understanding language, difficulty relating to people, unusual playing with toys, difficulty with changes in routine or familiar surroundings, and repetitive body movements or behavior patterns. Dr Schneider explains that there are many more individual problems and symptoms which cannot all be listed because each child is unique.
The cause of autism is still unknown. Research at Columbia University suggests that abnormalities in the development of the brain and central nervous system cause autism. Although others are involved in research on possible genetic, infectious, immunological, and environmental causes and mechanisms of autism, at the functional MRI center at Columbia University Medical Center. Dr. Schneider’s team is focusing on the assumption that autism spectrum disorder results from atypical neural circuitry that will be evident in the neural systems that mediate language functions. Finding the defect in these neural circuits of the brain related to the processing of language is at the core of ASD.
Dr. Schneider’s treatments and interventions for ASD are customized for a child’s individual needs and can include language intervention which consists of teaching methods directed to active and functioning brain areas, this protocol may be combined with musicology and linguistics. Cerebellar dysfunction (pathology) is high in ASD. Initiation of speech may be altered or even halted by cerebellar injury. The Schneider research team has seen cerebellar activations in low-functioning autism and makes use of them for language learning!
Carefully selected nutritional supplementation with natural foods and herbal products thought to increase neurotransmitters are also used for verbal production and learning. Conventional medications now known to increase language function are also explored with each family.
To help enhance language production, a portable brain stimulator is used at the Plainview office by Dr. Schneider. This is not part of the research being done at Columbia, rather research being conducted by Dr. Schneider. This simple to use device attaches easily to the child’s scalp over brain areas that may benefit verbal production, painlessly stimulating select brain areas using a small amount of direct current.
With Dr. Schneider’s current research and direct work with autistic children, the medical community and more specifically the autistic research community, parents and autistic children will benefit. We will see an increase in clarity of language and communication from children suffering from the most low-functioning forms of autism.