Dealing with Autism : How can Transcendental Meditation help
Autism and Asperger’s syndrome (ASD) affects brain’s normal, i.e. expected development of social and communication skills, it is also seen that autistic children have problems with mathematical calculations. All this along with non-inclusion in the mainstream society adds up to the existing stress, not just for the person dealing with Autism but also for their family. As reported in the India’s 2011 census about 1 in a 100 children in India under the age of 10 has autism, and nearly 1 in 8 has at least one neurodevelopmental condition. These figures have a trend to grow over the next years. We are yet to see medicines or permanent cures for Autism but the stress level can be reduced and improved quality of life can be given through Transcendental Meditation, like more calmness, stability, improvement in the ability to focus and comprehend. Dr. Norman Rosenthal, a leading psychiatrist and scientist, in his book ‘Transcendence: Healing and Transformation through Transcendental Meditation’ has interviewed several young people with ASD as a part of his research for the book. His findings were that it is a lifelong disorder, with no definitive cure, which requires extensive and expensive care and help for decades. In his book he mentions that through Transcendental Meditation problems such as anxiety, stress, PSTD, depression, addiction etc., which can come be seen along with Autism can be handled quite effectively. Autistic children fear novelty, unexpected situations, and having to adapt to situations in which they don’t have control is one big challenge. As with so many other people, Transcendental Meditation works great with Autistic minds. It helps reduce their stress and anxiety, making it easier for them to venture out, try new things, and learn new skills. ASD affects the prefrontal cortex of the brain which is known for making rational decisions and judgements. TM seems to boost this function and thus helps autistic children with better decision making strategies and this is why autistic children are encouraged to go explore new environments and behaviours after they start to meditate. TM helps them venture out and try new skills. During meditation, the restorative mechanisms of the body are strengthened and down-regulate the uncontrolled function for survival. Life-promoting hormones such as human growth factor are secreted and more glucose is directed to the brain to fuel more efficient neuronal pathways that result in a feeling of well-being. Heightened brain synchronicity is the most frequently observed effect in these practices. Structural changes in several areas of the brain have been observed in autistic meditators. TM changes the way a brain functions and helps reduce the anxiety and stress levels in children and adults and help them lead a happy life.