“Bodymind Training for Autism”:
an app to teach Bodymind balance
to children with autism spectrum disorder.
This idea won the 2017 “The Pitch” Competition at Dartmouth College’s DEN
(Dartmouth Entrepreneurial Network) and DALI Lab (Digital Arts, Leadership and Innovation)
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The nervous systems of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are underdeveloped. The causes are unknown, although new discoveries are made almost daily about genetic, epigenetic and environmental contributions. Recent research demonstrates that children with autism frequently show early signs of neuropathy of the C-tactile nerve fibers (which mediate response to gentle touch). This is thought to interfere with early mother-child bonding, and thus with the neuro-social developmental process, leading to neurological, social, and behavioral issues. We hypothesize that helping a child with autism to explore self-touch, movement awareness, and positive imagery, can help improve the sense of self and other, balance the autonomic nervous system, and promote ongoing developmental improvement towards full independence and self-fulfillment.
Qigong Sensitivity Training (www.QSTI.org), pioneered by Dr. Louisa Silva, is a highly effective method of touch therapy for autistic children ages three to twelve, which has been validated in numerous research studies. However, as children approach puberty, children may become more interested in active forms of self-regulation. We are developing a video-based app which teaches Bodymind methods for active self-care, and which also uses imagery which may directly induce greater coherence in the child’s nervous system. Once fully developed, we will test the efficacy of the app in a series of randomized controlled clinical trials. Find more information on the science behind Bodymind methods here.
“The ASD videos have greatly reduced the severity of our son’s anxiety. We have found them especially helpful in the morning, when he’s having a hard time separating from us for school.”