Reposted with permission from Healthism.
For parents of children on the Autism Spectrum figuring out treatment can be tough. The spectrum is vast and children have different symptoms and triggers that require different treatments. There are a number of ways to treat your child’s needs through different therapies – from the way you eat to different activities you do. That is why we’ve contacted the BEST of the best when it comes to Autism specialists to find out more about each treatment. Here is what they had to say:
- GLUTEN FREE & ALL NATURAL DIETS
WHAT IS IT? Improving your child’s health by changing what they eat.
HOW DOES IT WORK? Children with Autism tend to have food sensitivities more than food allergies, the biggest offenders can be gluten and casein (casein is a protein in dairy products and gluten is found in wheat, barley, rye, and some oats). Some autistic children have vast improvements on a Gluten Free Casein Free diet (GFCF) while other do not.
Also, a diet of minimally processed, or foods in as close to their natural state as possible, can help some children with Autism. One common symptom of Autism is gastrointestinal (GI) upset because children with Autism often lack, or have very low levels, of detoxification and digestive enzymes. This leads to poor digestion and absorption of food and nutrients resulting in a multitude both behavioral and physical symptoms. Minimally processed or all natural foods contain less potential GI and behavioral triggers which can mean all the difference to a child with Autism.
HOW DOES IT HELP? The first major improvement is an almost immediate reduction in GI distress. The effects vary, but some parents have actually proclaimed to have “gotten their child back” due to the vast improvement in behavior and reduction in autism symptoms.
Also, almost everyone notes a positive change from shifting to a natural diet. A recent study found that autistic children who experienced chronic GI distress had the greatest improvements in behavior and social interaction when compared with autistic children without significant GI distress.
Colleen Hurley, RD is a Wholistic practitioner, Registered Dietitian, Certified Kid’s Nutrition Specialist, and a Master Gardener offering wellness education through services and her website at www.colleenhurleyrd.com.
Debi Taylor, Autism Specialist; www.SpiritOfAutism.org
- CRANIO-SACRAL THERAPY WHAT IS IT? Improving Health by Allowing The Breath of Life to Do It’s Job
HOW IS IT ADMINISTERED? Biodynamic Craniosacral therapy orients and magnifies the forces that direct cells to do their job. It has one foot rooted in anatomy, and another in what practitioners call the breath of life that breathes in all of our cells every second. Healing occurs by these forces communicating more strongly, and clearly in a person’s energy field and body and tissue field. It works at the root level of health which is the quantum physics of the body.
The breath of life is the similar to electricity in that it’s used everyday as it breathes and directs each cell. Practitioners do not quite understand how it happens, but with Autism these forces can be blocked by various conditions at birth, in-utero, from genetics, and from environmental toxins. Biodynamic Craniosacral therapy allows the body to show the practitioner what level it wants to work on. It orients towards the forces that are present from conception on, to magnify them to heal areas where the body is less connected to these baseline forces specialists call the breath of life.
When cells and the entire body connect more to these forces of health, the body heals on emotional, mental, physical, and energetic levels. Craniosacral therapy will improve one’s health by strengthening the body’s innate intelligence and a sense of well being occurs.
HOW DOES IT HELP? Some practitioners have had good results with this, as Craniosacral therapy supports whatever is needed at anytime. The affects are direct and indirect. Treatment can magnify other therapies as well as support maximizing the child’s brain development. When children and their parents receive Craniosacral therapy (as both should be treated since they are all in a unit) it supports their nervous system, immune system, and more, as healing happens where it is needed.
It is believed that only the body knows exactly what it needs, the practitioner just holds the proper container for healing to happen. While the practitioner is tracking what is happening with their client, they make sure to “get out of the way” to allow the breath of life to do the job.
Dr. Kate Klemer has been practicing Cranial work since 1986. She has studied various forms of the work. Over the past 10 years she has been training to be a teacher of biodynamic craniosacral therapy. www.drkateklemer.com.
- EQUINE-ASSISTED THERAPY WHAT IS IT? Help through horseback riding.
HOW DOES IT WORK? After an initial application and intake process is done, a child may start a specific treatment plan specific to their needs. This will include elements of occupational, speech and language, physical, and cognitive behavioral therapies. While a child may spend up to 45 minutes riding they also work on daily living skills. They are taught the daily care of a horse like grooming and feeding which is paralleled to their own self daily care. LifeStriders Therapeutic Riding Center also makes sure to include sensory integration, so the children are playing games and doing activities while riding.
HOW DOES IT HELP? Many people with disabilities don’t have a normal gait, a common symptom of many children with Autism. When a person is not moving how they were meant to move the brain doesn’t get certain kinds of stimulation. With Equine-Assisted Therapy a horse carries four beats per step, so a child’s brain is getting stimulation they wouldn’t get with their normal two beats per step.
There have also been studies that show that oxytocin, or the bonding hormone, is released during riding. A result of this is an increase in sustained contact. And while the brain is stimulated week after week they’ve seen increased verbalization in most of their non-verbal patients. Many non-verbal students even say their first words during riding, which is music to a parent’s ears.
Veronica Sosa Agnoli, MS, LPC is the Executive Director of LifeStriders Therapeutic Riding Center, establishing LifeStriders as a leader in the field of Equine Facilitated Learning/Mental Health and therapeutic riding.
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Have you used either of these therapies with your children? What have you seen that works or doesn’t work? Is there an alternative therapy you use that we haven’t covered?