Kamran, 7, ASD

Kamran, 7, was becoming difficult to handle due to his non-verbal autism, which improved substantially with neurofeedback training

In two years of neurofeedback training, Kamran became verbal


Kamran, a seven-year-old diagnosed with autism at an early age, exhibited various challenging behaviors. His symptoms included inflexibility, limited speech development, lack of empathy, sensitivity to loud noises, repetitive rituals, and aggression. These behaviors created significant challenges for his family, particularly his mother and two sisters.

Neurofeedback training for Kamran began when he was five years old. Initially conducted at home due to his difficulties with entering new environments, sessions were carefully tailored to his preferences and needs. They started with short sessions using his favorite YouTube video and gradually increased in duration. After obtaining sufficient data through a qEEG recording, a brain map analysis revealed sources of fear and anxiety, mood control issues, and irregularities in his Default Mode Network.

Default Network Training, involving more targeted and personalized protocols, proved to be highly effective in addressing Kamran’s challenges. Within just a few sessions, positive changes became evident. His sensitivity to sound and new situations decreased, and unexpected changes to his routine were no longer triggers for him. These improvements were accompanied by a newfound warmth, an appreciation for others, and a sense of becoming a part of a team, as reported by his family.

Kamran’s interactions with his little sister also became more considerate, benefiting her emotional well-being. He started to focus on engaging tasks for longer periods, and his play became more imaginative. Weekly neurofeedback sessions continued, allowing for varied content and advancing his progress.

Around nine months, or approximately 30 sessions into his neurofeedback training, Kamran’s speech and communication skills began to improve significantly. A speech therapist at his school played a crucial role in this development. Kamran’s ability to understand verbal commands and emotional content increased, and he became more amenable to structured communication and negotiated interaction. He also transitioned to a different class, where he was considered an intermediate performer.

After 70 neurofeedback sessions, Kamran had made remarkable progress. While he still faced challenges, his newfound manageability brought relief to his caregivers, and his little sister also benefited from the calmer environment. Positive changes extended beyond Kamran as an abusive neighbor was removed, allowing his family to have a semblance of a social life. Kamran’s ongoing neurofeedback sessions are seen as an investment in his continued progress and the well-being of his caregivers.

Kamran's Full Story:

Kamran is seven years old.  We began neurofeedback training at age five, and he has made transformational progress since.

Since his infancy, Kamran’s mother knew he was developing differently.  Diagnosed with autism at the earliest point, his symptoms manifested as:

  • Inflexibility with regard to activities and actions counter to his strong determination. A sense of consideration for others, recruitability and adaptation never developed.  Any suggestion he did not like resulted in impulsive, aggressive outbursts until he had his way.
  • Speech did not develop beyond a few favoured expressions he appeared to embrace mainly for their melodic prosody. Trying both English and Farsi, he took to neither, seemingly rejecting the use of language as a means of expressing his needs, and gesticulations were mainly aggressive and inconsiderate of the ‘other’, including his little sister.
  • Empathy and a sense for others’ feelings or emotions were absent, except for expressions of joy upon gratification of his needs and wishes, and overt dismay at not getting his way. His intrinsic positivity made it hard to infer cruelty either though when he pushed other kids over and they cried with pain.
  • Loud noises and sudden movements would cause him to freeze in a state of fright, followed by emotional outbursts and aggression that would take time to calm him down from and severely interrupt any planned activities.
  • Repetitive rituals enveloped him in a cloud of self-absorbed satisfaction. He could repeat a sequence of pretending to wash his hands and dry them under a hand dryer drawn on the bathroom wall tiles for a long time.  TV content was limited to his favourite youtube videos, mainly involving trains, although “Mr. Tumble” could provide some intermittent relief.  Doors were a particular fascination, as he repeatedly opened and slammed them with glee, to the extent that all doors inside the house had to be removed.

Physically, Kamran developed beyond milestones for his age; his coordination was good as was his sense of satiety.  He was highly energetic, jumping on sofas, running around the house making noises, and repeating his favourite act of sliding down the stairs (under close supervision) until exhaustion.  He became so strong by age five that his wanton pushes and punches were fearsome, particularly as they were unpredictable.  Kamran’s mother and two sisters were constantly challenged, and injury-prone; his mother had to cut her hair very short to avoid him ripping at it. 

The three sisters were challenged to the state of exhaustion each day, and had the additional stress of an inconsiderate neighbour who not only banged on the walls, which set Kamran off, but also expressed his intolerance by shouting abuse across the garden wall, confronted them physically, and smashed their car window twice.  The police were deemed unhelpful and the sisters took it upon themselves to document the terror and launch civil proceedings, finally leading to his prosecution and eviction years later.

School was a temporary relief, though frequent incidents required their premature attendance to pick him up and bring him to his familiar environment.  He was the highest physical achiever in his class, and they thought he had few role models there, despite its specialisation.  He was not advancing with regard to verbal skills, literacy or numeracy, and did not interact socially with others, though happy in his own world. 

When Kamran started neurofeedback age five, he was not ready to enter a new environment, not least due to his fascination with doors.  We therefore did sessions at his home, after he had been playing actively in the park, bathed twice, sat with his mother on the sofa while one sister massaged his feet and another fed him his favourite treat, pomegranate seeds with ice cream.  We eased him into the process by starting with his favourite youtube clip of an empty Underground train on the London Circle Line, and set about getting him used to wearing three electrodes while doing ILF / Othmer Method neurofeedback training for calming. 

After two such half-hour sessions, we felt confident enough to try putting a shower cap-like hat with nineteen electrodes on his head for a qEEG recording.  He was familiar enough with myself and the process that this worked straight away, and we obtained sufficient recording material for a brain map analysis. 

This revealed multiple sources of fear and anxiety; mood control and focus issues; and Default Mode Network irregularities.  Equipped with this knowledge, we then conducted Default Network Training, a set of much stronger and targeted protocols personalised to his needs, in the same manner as before, yet with far more substantial training effects.  Within two sessions, we were also able to increase session time to 1-1.5h, leaving him calm enough for bedtime.

Kamran, 7, with non-verbal autism looking at trains which he enjoyed while engaging with neurofeedback training

Kamran’s progress from weekly neurofeedback sessions started to show quickly.  His sensitivity to sound and new situations became much attenuated.  Unexpected outcomes, changes to his routine, and suggestions of new activities were no longer triggers after the fifth session.  His mother and aunts reported that they could feel a new warmth, an appreciation of others, and sensed a new team member.  This particular step was impressive, while hard to describe, and defined the beginning of an emotional journey. 

Kamran’s interaction with his little sister became more considerate, which helped with Azadeh’s emotional stability.  He appeared to sense when he had hit someone too hard, or rather the difference between punching the sofa or a person, though both were still fairly common.  He was able to focus on engaging, changing tasks for longer and his play began to involve figures.  His carers reduced the amount of toys and distractions, and he found solace in being read stories with pictures. 

We continued with weekly sessions, able to vary and advance the content.  Kamran’s sense for expressions and commands appeared to become more nuanced, and despite persistent obstinacy and a strong sense for dominating all activity, hope emerged for more consensual engagement and the potential for compromise and negotiation. 

After around nine months, or thirty sessions, Kamran’s expressions began to adopt more purpose and structure.  Absent physical impediments to his speech, and in light of a bilingual setting, a more targeted strategy for his speech development was sought.  It was clear by now that he understood verbal commands and emotional content, yet the habit of forcing his way needed to yield to negotiated interaction. 

A speech therapist at his school was engaged and proved useful.  Combining the effort of structured communication with rewards sufficiently incentivised Kamran to attempt more complicated verbal endeavours.  He was also able to join a different class where he was deemed an intermediate performer, having ‘role models’ as well as examples of behaviour challenges he had meanwhile mastered.  This added steepness to his progress trajectory. 

After 70 neurofeedback sessions, Kamran was a transformed child.  With plenty of learning ahead, his challenges became opportunities, and his new manageability provided significant relief to his carers, while his little sister became calmer too.  The abusive neighbour had been removed, and the three sisters were able to cultivate a semblance of a social life.  Kamran continues to do neurofeedback sessions, as his carers view this as an investment in both him and their own welfare.