Complementary approaches are one of the important treatments for autism. Some parents choose to supplement educational and medical intervention with complementary therapies, such as art therapy, music therapy, special diets, vitamins and mineral supplements,
and sensory integration — which focuses on reducing a child’s hypersensitivity to touch or sound. However, there is no scientific proof that these therapies work. It’s important to talk with your child’s doctor before trying any treatment.
There are currently no medical tests that can diagnose autism. Signs of autism vary from individual to individual. Diagnosis is usually based on careful observation as well as information provided by parents and other caregivers on the child’s behavior, communication, social interaction, and developmental levels.
Floortime, Son-rise, and Relationship Development Intervention (RDI) are all considered to be “developmental treatments for autism.” This means that they build from a child’s own interests, strengths and developmental level to increase emotional, social and intellectual abilities. Developmental therapies are often contrasted to behavioral therapies, which are best used to teach specific skills such as shoe tying, tooth brushing, etc.
It is known that autism is a neurological disorder, and that there are differences in the shape and the structure of the brain of autistic children as opposed to non-autistic children – although this is not always the case. Certain ‘triggers’ have been implicated as possible precipitators of the disorder. These could include problems in pregnancy and birth, viral infections, exposure to certain environmental chemicals or pollutants, or even allergies to certain foods (i.e. gluten or dairy products).
While it is not known whether autism has a genetic link, the exact genes involved are unclear. Families with one autistic child have 3% – 5% chance of having a second autistic child (this differs to the 0.5% risk of the general population).
Treatment for autism at a glance
· Vitamin B-12
· Intramuscularly or Intravenous Magnesium
· Gluten and Casein Free Diets
· Pancreatic Enzymes
· Super Nu Thera
· Omega-3 Fatty Acids
· Aloe Vera
· Flower of Sulphur
· Efalex Oil or DHA Oil
Almost all people with autism have issues with speech and language. Sometimes these issues are obvious; many people with autism are non-verbal or use speech very poorly. Sometimes the issues relate not to articulation or grammar but to “speech pragmatics” (the use of speech to build social relationships). Across the board, though, speech and language therapy is good treatments for autism and likely to be helpful for people with autism.
There are two main types of auditory training methods, the Berard approach, lasting 10 to 12 days, and the Tomatis approach, lasting 6 to 12 months. A device that randomly selects high and low frequencies from a music source and then sends those sounds via headphones to the trainee accomplishes the Berard training. Filtering peaks are optional for the developmentally disabled population. The music is, in all cases, modulated throughout the 10 hours of listening, whether or not peaks are filtered.
Holding therapy gained widespread attention when Dr Martha Welch, a child psychiatrist from New York, began using it as a means of working with children with autism as treatments for autism. Her work is written in the book, Holding Time. During holding therapy the parent attempts to make contact with the child in various ways. This may mean simply comforting a distressed child, but often the parent may hold the child for periods of time, even if the child is fighting against the embrace. The child sits or lies face to face with the parent, who tries to establish eye contact, as well as to share feelings verbally throughout the holding session. The parent remains calm and in control and offers comfort when the child stops resisting.
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