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By practising the Transcendental Meditation Technique twice daily, a young student with Asperger's found improved behaviour and better grades, and his family became more harmonious and happy as a result.



A boy with Asperger’s Syndrome finds relief with the Transcendental Meditation Technique
by Global Good News staff writer
14 September 2011

Asperger’s is often referred to as ‘high-functioning autism.’ Asperger syndrome (AS) is a developmental disorder, associated with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), one of a distinct group of neurological conditions characterized by an impairment in language and communication skills, as well as restrictive patterns of thought and behavior.

In a heart-warming article published in the July/August 2011 issue of Autism-Asperger's Digest Magazine, Yvonne Kurtz, a substitute schoolteacher and mother, highly recommends the Transcendental Meditation Program.

In the article, she describes the odd mix of characteristics of someone with Asperger’s Syndrome. Referring to her son, Adam, she says that while he is intelligent (a solid B student in 7th grade), he only began to tie shoes, drink out of a cup, and use silverware when he began middle school.

Adam’s teachers told his mother of more symptoms of the disorder that they observed saying that he whined a lot and behaved as if in a fantasy world. They also commented that his behaviour seemed strange to his peers and that it was hard for him to get along with some of them. At home, disagreement between his parents in dealing with Adam’s temper tantrums created disharmony.

Looking for and finding help

Wanting to do anything she could to help her son, Yvonne at some point found herself reflecting on something that had helped her ‘develop a calmer approach to life,’ the Transcendental Meditation Technique. ‘I was introduced to TM some years before and I really liked it,’ she said in a video. Knowing the Transcendental Meditation Technique to be a simple and effortless practice, Yvonne wondered if it would also be helpful to Adam.

The mother was aware that the Transcendental Meditation Technique enlivens the prefrontal cortex, the CEO of the brain. Understanding that it is in control of the ability to make decisions, organize, socialize, and control impulses, she felt that a better functioning prefrontal cortex would be helpful to her son.

Yvonne and her husband decided to give the Transcendental Meditation Programme a try with Adam. Though she wondered if he would practise the technique regularly, she reports, ‘As it turned out, my concerns about him not wanting to meditate on a regular basis were unfounded. He took to it like he did to chocolate chip cookies. I’d wake up in the morning, walk by his room, and there he’d be sitting up in bed with his eyes closed.’

A couple of months after Adam learnt to meditate, Yvonne happily reported, she woke up one day realizing that it had been some time since her son had thrown a temper tantrum. She expressed the change in him in the following way: ‘Before starting TM, he sometimes lost school assignments and would scream, cry, and blame me for losing them. However, a few months after starting TM, when he lost a school assignment, he merely shrugged his shoulders and said in a disappointed voice, 'I guess I’ll just have to do it all over again.’

Yvonne goes on to tell that at a school conference for her son after that episode, she and her husband were told of many improvements seen in Adam including greater organization, getting along with the other children, a reduction in alarming behaviour, and almost all A’s. And, she notes, now, over a year since learning the Transcendental Meditation Technique, Adam continues to meditate twice a day. Yvonne continues to witness his behaviour improve, and she and her husband are enjoying a more harmonious relationship. ‘Today,’ Yvonne says, ‘we are a much happier family.’

Adam’s aspirations are growing as expressed in his desire to become an Eagle Scout. After her son was named ‘Student of the Month’ at his school, Yvonne for the first time felt that her dream for him to attend college and lead a normal life could be realized.

Encouraging others to look at the Transcendental Meditation Programme

While studies to date have been done on the Transcendental Meditation Technique and ADHD, Yvonne is hopeful that researchers will specifically study the effects of the technique on people with Asperger’s Syndrome. She particularly notes that these individuals have less integrated brain functioning than normal and that the Transcendental Meditation Technique has been scientifically shown to increase brain wave coherence suggesting, as she has witnessed in Adam, that it may be an excellent antidote to Asperger’s symptoms.

Adam recently told his mother, ‘Mom, TM helps me keep my head clear inside.’ She concurs, appreciating this benefit in her own life. ‘Because of our experience, I encourage parents to take a serious look at the TM programme. I would also encourage entire families to learn TM together, since almost everyone needs to reduce stress and increase inner calmness and creativity.’



Research References:

1) Travis, F., Haaga, D.H., Hagelin, J., Tanner, M., Arenander, A., Nidich, S., Gaylord-King, C., Grosswald, S., Rainforth, M., & Schneider, R. (2010). A Self-Referential Default Brain State: Patterns of Coherence, Power, and eLORETA Sources during Eyes-Closed Rest and the Transcendental Meditation Practice. Cognitive Processes, 11(1), 21-30.

2) Just, M., Cherkassky, V., Keller, T. , Kana, R, & Minshew, N. (2007). Functional and Anatomical Cortical Underconnectivity in Autism: Evidence from an fMRI Study of an Executive Function Task and Corpus Callosum Morphometry. Cereb. Cortex 17(4): 951-961.

© Copyright 2011 Global Good News®


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