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Help for Functional Disconnection by Dr. Yola Barbosa

There is an increasing amount of scientific evidence that shows the underlying issue in autism is an imbalance in communication between areas of the brain and certain neural pathways that are underdeveloped or mis-wired. A recent study published by the University of North Carolina and Autism Speaks showed that these changes in communication can be seen as early as six months of age.

A properly functioning brain communicates between both hemispheres as well as within each hemisphere at lightning speed. Think of these communications like runners in a relay race: they connect, pass on information and release, repeating this process millions of times a minute. In a poorly functioning brain, these runners are often out of sync, missing each other or passing on only partial information.

This miscommunication, or functional disconnection, is at the root of all types of neurobehavioral and learning problems. In autism, the underactivated areas are in the right hemisphere of the brain.

The Brain is Changeable

It was once thought that the brain was static, unable to grow or change. But extensive research in epigenetics and neuroplasticity has shown that it’s remarkably adaptable and able to create new neural pathways in response to stimulus in the environment.

Additionally, it is now understood that difficulties associated with a wide range of learning disorders and neurobehavioral disorders result primarily from environmental influences that affect genetic expression and are therefore often correctable. Because the brain can change, and because difficulties can be corrected, children suffering from functional disconnection can be helped greatly.

Implementing an Effective Program

With the primary goal of improving your child’s function, an optimal approach is to implement a program that consists of academic and sensory-motor activities in combination with simple dietary changes. Ideally, the program would utilize methods for stimulating the different areas of your child’s brain where there is a lack of proper connections.

A comprehensive, fully customized program consisting of exercises geared toward addressing each child’s specific challenges, along with a supplemental in-home program complete with nutritional guidelines, can further your child’s accomplishments.

Dr. Yola Barbosa is the center director at the Brain Balance Achievement Center located at 49 W Allendale Ave. in Allendale, NJ. For more information call 201-825-1030 or visit

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