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Brain Structure And Function Overview… 

In both my second and third books, I had discussed how so much in Zachary could be understood based on brain structure and function alone – if I assumed little or no communication among the various parts of the brain!  Over time, I had no doubt that some of Zachary’s neural connections among the various parts of the brain had started to “rebuild”, however, there was in my opinion, absolutely no denying that assuming little or no communication among the various parts of the brain seemed to explain a great deal of what we saw in children with autism.

As mentioned in my third book, one of the major keys to “rebuilding” those broken neural connections absolutely involved the computer since almost the entire brain appeared to be activated while on the computer.   In my opinion, we had made a very grave error in attempting to teach these children – we had assumed they could only handle so much sensory input at once in the learning situation, and as such, we provided things like “a flashcard” – one at a time – stimulating only limited parts of the brain – when the key, in my opinion, was truly in stimulating as much of the brain as possible – at once.    

If you thought about that, it made perfect sense.   It all went back to the “use it or lose it” theory.   The more you used your brain, the more neural connections it appeared to form and as such, the key to rebuilding severed connections had to lie in activating as much of the brain as possible – at once!   This was why a computer, I now believed, was a medical necessity for children suffering from autism! 

The following was the “basic brain overview” chart I had provided in both my second and third books.   I truly believed it was critical that parents come to memorize these simple charts because, within this information were the keys not only to teaching our children and understanding them, but also the keys to dealing with behavioral problems and/or “meltdowns”.    For more on this issue, again, I encouraged all parents to read the books I had previously written.   There was simply too much information to repeat here and I wanted to keep this book focused more on matters of “communication”.

The human brain had two hemispheres (left and right) joined by a mass of fibers in the middle, known as the corpus callosum.   This mass of fibers, the corpus callosum, allowed the two hemispheres to speak to one another.   The two hemispheres of the human brain were further subdivided into regions called “lobes”.   Specifically, the brain had four lobes: 

Frontal Lobe

Temporal Lobe

Parietal Lobe

Occipital Lobe


most anterior, below forehead)


side of head, above the ears


at the back and top of the head


most posterior, back of the head


motor activity

motor planning and execution

activity in response  to environment

memory as it related to habits and other motor activities

olfactory cortex

language production

higher functioning (i.e., concept of self, imagination, etc.)

controls emotional response

assigns meaning to words (i.e., word associations)



auditory and olfactory processing (hearing and smell)

memory acquisition


understanding of language

voice recognition

face recognition

categorization of objects

some visual perception

ability to distinguish between truth and a lie


somatosensory processing

spatial processing

visual attention

touch perception

manipulation of objects

goal directed movement

3 dimension identification

integration of  sensory information that allows for the understanding of single concepts (integration of the parts into the whole)


visual processing

Such were the basic functions within these major sections of the brain.   The following provided a basic view of what happened if damage occurred to one of these areas.

Science now knew a great deal in terms of what we saw if specific parts of the brain were damaged.   The following provided a brief summary of this information.

If Frontal Lobe damaged - results in


difficulty problem solving and sequencing

inability to produce/express language

lack of flexibility or spontaneity

persistence in thoughts (i.e., obsessive – compulsive)

inability to focus or attend to one thing at a time (attention deficit)

changes in social behavior

variability in mood/emotions



If Temporal Lobe damaged - results in

selective attention in terms of sight and sound

difficulty understanding spoken word

issues with interest in  sexual behavior

short term memory loss and interference with long term memory

emotional issues (i.e., increased aggression)

difficulty in face recognition

categorization issues

persistent talking if damage to right lobe




If Parietal Lobe damaged – results in

inability to recognize self

inability to attend to more than one object

lack of awareness of body parts and/or surroundings (somatosensory issues)

difficulty in focusing visual attention

reading difficulty

difficulty with spatial processing (i.e., math)

difficulty with eye-hand coordination and/or drawing of objects

difficulty differentiating left from right

difficulty locating words in terms of writing

difficulty with associations (i.e., naming of objects)

If Occipital Lobe damaged - results in

problems with vision in terms of

identifying colors

locating of objects in one’s environment

illusions – including hallucinations

inability to recognize words (issues with reading/ writing, recognition of symbols/drawings etc.)

difficulty with objects in motion


Although I would not attempt to cover all parts of the brain, there were a few other key areas that also helped to explain so much.
Other Key Parts To The Brain That Resided Outside Of The 4 Lobes Included:

Amygdale (part of “limbic system)

Involved in the processing of emotions (perceiving emotions in others)

Basal Ganglia

Involved in the regulation of movement and the learning of skills, controlled intensity of mental activity, timekeeper, conscious and subconscious task sequencing

Brain Stem

Located in the upper, back neck area and responsible for “life functions” including heart rate, breathing, digestion, swallowing, reflexes to sight/sound, regulation of body temperature via sweating (autonomic nervous system), blood pressure, alertness levels, sleep, balance (vestibular issues)


Motor coordination and motor learning, some memory for motor reflex functions.   Also known to be involved in coordination of higher executive functions, language and emotions, tracking of moving objects

Corpus Callosum

Major link between the left and right hemisphere - allowed the two hemispheres to communicate

Hippocampus (part of the “limbic system)

Involved in long term memory formation (damage here would prevent one from making “new memories”)


Maintained body temperature, etc.


One of many parts of the brain stem involved in control of  “life functions” of breathing, heart rate, etc.


Visuomotor functions, visual reflexes, auditory relays, motor coordination


Auditory and vestibular functions (balance), sensory and motor.  Area of the brainstem between the medulla and the midbrain, that linked the medulla and the thalamus!

Spinal Cord

Input-output of sensory information to/from the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) and the peripheral nervous system (everything else outside of central nervous system)


Acted as a “gateway”.  Sent information to specific parts of the cerebrum and controlled information flow to cerebral cortex (the 4 lobes).  A gateway between sensory (except olfactory) or motor neurons in the peripheral nervous system (anything outside the brain and spinal cord) and the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord)

CNS = central nervous system

Included the brain and spinal cord only

PNS = peripheral nervous system

Included those parts of the nervous system not included in the CNS.

 Back To Book 4 Chapter Outline

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DISCLAIMER - The statements here mentioned and/or found in my materials have not been evaluated by the FDA or any other government agency or person in the medical field or in behavior therapy and are not meant to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent any illness/disorder and/or behavior.  This information is not intended as medical advice or to replace the care of a qualified healthcare physician or behavior therapist.  Always consult your medical doctor or behavior therapist.  All information provided by Jeanne A. Brohart on her website is for INFORMATION PURPOSES and to GENERATE DISCUSSION ONLY and should not be taken as medical advice or any other type of "advice".  Information put forth represents the EXTENSIVE RESEARCH and OPINIONS of a mother based on her experiences and research and provides information as it relates to one family's journey with autism in hopes that other families may benefit from this experience and/or research.  The creator of this site is not responsible for content on other sites.

DISCLAIMER - PART II - Now... for those of you who think "mother at home researching" means "uneducated person with unfounded information"... I have 10 years of university... 3 degrees... and over 30,000 hours of research into these areas.   For anyone who thinks my research is "unfounded"...  read the RESEARCH FILE posted on my home page... with its over 1,000 references ... for your reading pleasure... because... quite clearly... you haven't read it yet!   Breaking The Code - Putting Pieces In Place!©