Autism is “the most common condition in a group of developmental disorders known as Autism Spectrum(ASD)(Anonymous, 2009, p. 22) It is said to occur as a result of some irregularities in regions of the brain. Studies show that a defect in the genes which control brain development and regulate how neurons communicate, cause an interference in the development of the fetus in the early stages (Anonymous, 2009). Children with autism struggle with social interaction and communication. They are extremely sensitive to sound and touch and may often resist physical displays of affection. Some children may often show signs of depression and display behavioral issues (Lai, Lombardo, & Baron-Cohen, 2014) In addition, children with autism may show co-morbidity. For example, a child may also be diagnosed with epileptic seizures, learning disabilities or Attention Hyper Activity Disorder (ADHD)(Anonymous, 2009).
Pinkham et all, 2008(as cited in Sasson, Nowlin, & Pinkham, 2012) Children with autism often have challenges processing social information. This challenge makes bullying a major concern for parents, since children with autism have difficulty reading body language and facial expression, they may over react or under react when met with interacting with their peers (Network of Autism Training and Technical Assistance Program, 2016).
Tourette’s Syndrome is said to occur when there are abnormalities in the basal ganglia, frontal lobe and cortex, the circuits which interconnect the regions, neurotransmitter and communications among nerve cells(National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Strokes [NINDS], 2014). Tourette’s as it is commonly called is characterized by motor tics that involve some muscle groups in some cases the individual’s motor movement may be self harming. As with Autism, persons with Tourette’s Syndrome may present with several other disorders, including obsessive behaviors, behavioral disorders, mental disorders, learning disabilities and ADHD(NINDS, 2014).
Neurological disorders can surely be a cause of frustration for both the individual faced with the disorder and members of their families. Parents express anger and sadness when they are faced with judgment from persons, when these children have what is termed a “meltdown”. One of my clients told a story of being labeled an “unfit parent, who spoiled her child rotten”. This came from persons who did not understand autism and how it affects the child.
Within recent times, the study of neurobiology has been taking a closer look at spirituality and its effect on the brain and development (Roehlkepartain, King, Wagener, & Benson, 2016). Meditation has been credited with reducing anxiety, improving self control and providing persons with the ability to regulate their emotions and improve behavior (Rosenthal & Black, 2015).Kurtz, 2011 (as cited Rosenthal & Black, 2015) indicated that an adolescent with ASD who practiced Transcendental Meditation(TM) reported being able to regulate his emotion and reported improvement in sleep. Rosenthal and Blake’s (2015) own study indicates that TM may be useful in reducing stress and anxiety associated with the ASDs. Further research in this field may prove beneficial to persons who struggling to cope with the symptoms associated with neurological diseases.