Autism

WHAT IS TMS:

TMS is a non invasive magnetic stimulation of brain structures. It is an outpatient procedure and does not require hospitalization or anesthesia, is generally well tolerated and entails minimal systemic side effects.  TMS machines have been cleared by the FDA for use in treatment of Major Depressive Disorder [MDD] and the Brainsway TMS has also been FDA cleared for treatment of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder [OCD].  TMS HAS NOT BEEN CLEARED FOR SAFETY AND EFFICACY FOR TREATMENT OF AUTISM.

WHY DOES SPARK TMS OFFER TMS TREATMENT FOR AUTISM

For the past several years, clinical studies have explored the use of transcranial magnetic stimulation [TMS] as a potential breakthrough treatment in a range of autistic patients.  SPARK TMS Therapeutic Center, LLC is a TMS provider offering TMS therapies under the direction of its medical director/psychiatrist, Andrew Peshek, M.D. to prequalified individuals ages 14 and older.  Why TMS?   

Recent advances and growing evidence supporting the safety and efficacy of noninvasive neuromodulatory techniques in adults have facilitated the study of neuromodulation applications in children and adolescents. Noninvasive brain stimulation methods such as transcranial direct current stimulation and transcranial magnetic stimulation have been considered in children with depression, autism spectrum disorder, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, and other neuropsychiatric disorders. However, current clinical applications of neuromodulation techniques in children and adolescents are nascent. There is a great need for developmentally informed, large, double-blinded, randomized, controlled clinical trials to demonstrate efficacy and safety of noninvasive brain stimulation in children and adolescents.

Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Psychiatr Clin North Am. 2018 Sep;41(3):465477:

Here at SPARK TMS, we offer TMS therapy for patients with an existing diagnosis of autism from a qualified mental health professional. That diagnosis must be made by a qualified mental health specialist who has no affiliation with Spark TMS Therapeutic Center, LLC. 

Our Magstim TMS device is a state of the art device utilizing Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) to treat autism. This non-invasive treatment delivers magnetic stimulation to brain structures and networks related to autism. It is an outpatient procedure and does not require hospitalization or anesthesia. It is generally well tolerated, and entails minimal systemic side effects.  Each session lasts about 19 minutes.  Dr. Peshek will perform the initial procedure and determine the correct parameters for future sessions.  Follow-up sessions are administered and monitored by a trained, certified technician. Spark TMS is located on the first floor of a boutique office building at 128 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA in Old City.

WHAT IS AUTISM:   

The National Institute of Health describes AUTISM:

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder that affects communication and behavior. Although autism can be diagnosed at any age, it is said to be a “developmental disorder” because symptoms generally appear in the first two years of life.

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), a guide created by the American Psychiatric Association used to diagnose mental disorders, people with ASD have:

  • Difficulty with communication and interaction with other people
  • Restricted interests and repetitive behaviors
  • Symptoms that hurt the person’s ability to function properly in school, work, and other areas of life

Autism is known as a “spectrum” disorder because there is wide variation in the type and severity of symptoms people experience. ASD occurs in all ethnic, racial, and economic groups. Although ASD can be a lifelong disorder, treatments and services can improve a person’s symptoms and ability to function. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all children be screened for autism. All caregivers should talk to their doctor about ASD screening or evaluation.

Signs and Symptoms of ASD

People with ASD have difficulty with social communication and interaction, restricted interests, and repetitive behaviors. The list below gives some examples of the types of behaviors that are seen in people diagnosed with ASD. Not all people with ASD will show all behaviors, but most will show several.

Social communication / interaction behaviors may include:

  • Making little or inconsistent eye contact
  • Tending not to look at or listen to people
  • Rarely sharing enjoyment of objects or activities by pointing or showing things to others
  • Failing to, or being slow to, respond to someone calling their name or to other verbal attempts to gain attention
  • Having difficulties with the back and forth of conversation
  • Often talking at length about a favorite subject without noticing that others are not interested or without giving others a chance to respond
  • Having facial expressions, movements, and gestures that do not match what is being said
  • Having an unusual tone of voice that may sound sing-song or flat and robot-like
  • Having trouble understanding another person’s point of view or being unable to predict or understand other people’s actions

Restrictive / repetitive behaviors may include:

  • Repeating certain behaviors or having unusual behaviors. For example, repeating words or phrases, a behavior called echolalia
  • Having a lasting intense interest in certain topics, such as numbers, details, or facts
  • Having overly focused interests, such as with moving objects or parts of objects
  • Getting upset by slight changes in a routine
  • Being more or less sensitive than other people to sensory input, such as light, noise, clothing, or temperature

People with ASD may also experience sleep problems and irritability. Although people with ASD experience many challenges, they may also have many strengths, including:

  • Being able to learn things in detail and remember information for long periods of time
  • Being strong visual and auditory learners
  • Excelling in math, science, music, or art

FOR A FULLER DISCUSSION ABOUT AUTISM, GO TO:
https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/autism-spectrum-disorders-asd/index.shtml

 

TREATMENTS AND THERAPIES:  

Treatments and Therapies [From NHI website]

Treatment for ASD should begin as soon as possible after diagnosis. Early treatment for ASD is important as proper care can reduce individuals’ difficulties while helping them learn new skills and make the most of their strengths.

The wide range of issues facing people with ASD means that there is no single best treatment for ASD. Working closely with a doctor or health care professional is an important part of finding the right treatment program.

Medication

A doctor may use medication to treat some symptoms that are common with ASD. With medication, a person with ASD may have fewer problems with:

  • Irritability
  • Aggression
  • Repetitive behavior
  • Hyperactivity
  • Attention problems
  • Anxiety and depression

Read more about the latest news and information on medication warnings, patient medication guides, or newly approved medications at the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) website at https://www.fda.gov/.

Behavioral, psychological, and educational therapy

People with ASD may be referred to doctors who specialize in providing behavioral, psychological, educational, or skill-building interventions. These programs are typically highly structured and intensive and may involve parents, siblings, and other family members. Programs may help people with ASD:

  • Learn life-skills necessary to live independently
  • Reduce challenging behaviors
  • Increase or build upon strengths
  • Learn social, communication, and language skills

Other resources

There are many social services programs and other resources that can help people with ASD. Here are some tips for finding these additional services:

  • Contact your doctor, local health department, school, or autism advocacy group to learn about special programs or local resources.
  • Find an autism support group. Sharing information and experiences can help individuals with ASD and/or their caregivers learn about treatment options and ASD-related programs.
  • Record conversations and meetings with health care providers and teachers. This information helps when it’s time to make decisions about which programs might best meet an individual’s needs.
  • Keep copies of doctors' reports and evaluations. This information may help an individual qualify for special programs.

 

Child Autism Test (Self-Assessment)  

Does your child have autism? This is a quiz for parents looking to determine whether their child is experiencing the symptoms common among children with autism.  Rate using the following scale:  Never [0]    Rarely [1]   Sometimes [2]     Often [3]   Very often [4].  Add up to determine a composite score

• Does your child speak very little and give unrelated answers to questions?
• Does your child not respond to their name or avoid eye contact?
• Does your child not engage in games of pretend with other children?
• Does your child struggle to understand other people’s feelings?
• Is your child easily upset by small changes?
• Does you child have obsessive interests?
• Is your child over or under-sensitive to smells, taste, or touch?
• Does your child struggle to socialize with other children?
• Does you child avoid physical contact?
• Does your child show little awareness of dangerous situations?
TOTAL


If the score is 20 or above, you should consider seeking a diagnosis from a qualified mental health specialist.   Licensed Psychologists, Neuropsychologists, and/or Psychiatrists in your locale should be able to assist you in determining a diagnosis of autism is appropriate.

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