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Brain Training breakthrough helping kids with autism and asperger's syndrome

  • 11-Jan-2013

Helping kids with autism Brain training in the form of relational skills training can help kids with autism and asperger's learn. Psychologists have long suspected that Autistic and Asperger's children lack what is called "perspective taking". In simple terms, these children lack the ability to imagine what it is like to have someone else's feelings or “perspective” on things and so they appear to lack empathy and live in their "own little world". Treatments for these conditions are based on best guesses as to how to help kids with this problem. Until recently psychologists have done a poor job at defining exactly what skills are involved in learning how to take someone else’s perspective. However, in recent years, psychologists have made breakthroughs in identifying exactly how to teach better perspective taking and empathy. The solution lies in the finding that a very specific "relational skill" is lacking in kids with Autism and Asperger's and it is one that can be easily taught. This skill is called a “deictic” relational skill set and in plain English it refers to the inability to imagine how things might be if looked at from a different place or time. Here is a simple skill that even a intelligent Asperger's child will find difficult. Q. If you and I swapped chairs now, and today became tomorrow, where would you be sitting tomorrow? A. "Over there where you are sitting now". While any normally developing child might find this question difficult, Autistic and Asperger's kids find them particularly difficult, even when they are bright in other ways. It's no surprise they find it difficult to feel empathy – because they cannot imagine what it is like to be somebody else. The good news is that deictic relational skills are easily taught and research psychologists all over the world are busy teaching them to kids in programs and private clinics. Scientific papers published by [researchers in Ireland](http://opensiuc.lib.siu.edu/tpr/vol57/iss4/3/), The [USA](http://www.eric.ed.gov/ERICWebPortal/contentdelivery/servlet/ERICServlet?accno=EJ880556) and [other countries](http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/bin.320/abstract;jsessionid=B7C0E17B41368007272DEF076F05BAD2.d04t01?), as well as [books produced by researchers](http://www.amazon.com/Relational-Responding-Applications-Developmental-Disabilities/dp/1572245360/) in Europe and the USA, have presented the evidence that the training of deictic relational skills may represent a major breakthrough in the treatment of Autism spectrum disorders. The effects are so exciting that researchers have even begun to apply this training to the [treatment of schizophrenia](http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0005791609000925). These breakthroughs have been made courtesy of a radical new psychological approach to the treatment of kids with special needs, developmental delay or learning difficulties. The researchers are from the field of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and the theory is known as Relational Frame Theory. A new text book on the topic has just been [published by Drs. Simon Dymond and Bryan Roche](http://www.amazon.com/Advances-Relational-Frame-Theory-Application/dp/1608824470/). Doctor Bryan Roche is also the co-founder of RaiseYourIQ Brain Training.

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