Complementary approaches to autism

This journal examines and critiques selected complementary therapies that a used in cases of autism.

You should consult a medical practitioner before embarking on any program that is potentially harmful.

Tuesday
Feb022016

Art & autism

Art therapy can assist in the integration of the nervous system. It can help to address sensory problems and can allow the autistic child to focus on difficult physical feelings whilst learning to self-soothe and channel feelings into creative pursuit.

Art therapy can assist with self-expression and developing an ‘inner landscape’. If used well art therapy can not only bridge a bond between the autistic client and therapist that can be used to integrate social safety and capacity, it can also allow the autist to begin to self-reference.

Tuesday
Feb022016

Ayurvedic & autism

Ayurvedic medicine can gently realign the body and provide greater strength and calm in those with autism. From a polyvagal perspective, the body’s vagal system is being better supported - which in turn allows the client to have a better, more stable connection between the brain and nervous system. The more the autist is able to be conscious of this process and notice and own the progress the more they can integrate the change at a higher level.

Studies are beginning to show that the nutritional and immune support of ayurvedic medicine can help with cognitive problems associated with autism like anxiety, poor memory, attention issues and hyperactivity.

Tuesday
Feb022016

Biomedical & autism

The biomedical model aims to address nutritional deficiencies with vitamins and micronutrients.

This is thought to reduce inflammation of the nervous system - which can have deleterious effect on the vagal system of those with autism.

There is much anecdotal evidence to support this approach and more research needs to be done. Until now there has not been a clear understanding of why this kind of approach works so well in those with autism. The polyvagal theory now offers a sound and succinct explanation.

Tuesday
Feb022016

Chelation & autism

Chelation is an approach that aims to way to remove toxins from the body such as lead or mercury that are thought to be antecedents to autism. Chemicals are ‘flushed’ from the body with a range of other chemicals and it can be a long and drawn out process.

This therapy has yet been proven and is seen by many as dangerous with the risk outweighing the benefit.

In the US the FDA has issued a caution against do-it-yourself chelation kits as there is some evidence that it can cause harm if not done properly. It can be distressing for the autistic child as well as dangerous, and is not recommended.

Tuesday
Feb022016

Diet & Autism

There is a developing consensus that supports the link between diet and mood within the wider community and, anecdotally, a large proportion of parents attest to dietary intervention being an effective therapy for their autistic children. For many a casein and gluten free diet for autism is now quite common.

There is growing empirical evidence to suggest that a special autism diet plan may be of use in helping with emotional regulation.

The polyvagal theory can provide a framework for understanding the mechanism by which a dietary intervention can be useful, however autism is a multi-faceted issue and a range of approaches are necessary. Always consult your doctor before adopting any dietary changes.