Welcome to the world of therapy!

From behavior interventions to nutritional supplements - we’ve broken them down for you. When possible, we’ll also share a video to show the different therapies in action.

A few important notes before we get started:

  •   Many families find that their children benefit the most from a combination of these therapies. Get informed about what each of the different types involve and start forming a sense of what you feel your child might benefit the most from. This helps a lot when talking with service providers, as you’ll know what you’re looking for.

  •   Not all service providers offer the same types of therapies. Each tends to have its own specialty. If you know what you’re looking for, it’s easier to find what you need and it’s also easier to recognize if you’re being misunderstood.

  •   Remember that you, as a parent, are the foremost global expert when it comes to your child. When something isn’t a good fit for what you think your child needs - ask questions, or simply disagree and seek services elsewhere.

  •   Very few hit the center of the dartboard their first throw. If you try one type of therapy and you don’t feel that it’s been fruitful, try something else. This is a journey!

Regardless of the therapy(s) you choose, don’t delay. Especially with young children, getting started as soon as possible increases the likelihood of positive outcomes.

We will not be offering names or information about any service providers here. While they are obviously an important piece to treating children with autism spectrum disorders, selecting the right provider that meets your child’s needs is very personal. We recommend that once you have a sense of the therapies you’d like to pursue that you seek out recommendations or referrals from your health insurance customer service department, from support groups, or the local Autism Society Chapter website (they often have a service provider directory available online).

Our role is to inform you of the differences so you can form your own opinions and make your own choices.

Medical Therapy Options

It’s extremely important to include a medical professional when seeking treatment using biomedical therapies, supplements, anti-fungals, or considering dietary changes. Any of these things modify the body’s chemistry. Any changes, even dietary ones, should be done under the guidance of a trusted, licensed medical professional.

Remember that each individual is different and unique – and so is their level of success with any therapy.

Biomedical therapies, while not uncommon in ASD circles, are not approved by the FDA for the purpose of treating autism spectrum disorder. While it’s felt that scientific evidence does not support these practices, large numbers of families report improvement in many related symptoms.

One philosophy of biomedical treatment is that children on the autism spectrum often have underlying health difficulties, creating pain. Children who are nonverbal might not be able to articulate that pain, so it comes through in the one way they do know to communicate: behavior. Even children who are higher functioning – they might know that they don’t feel great, but can’t explain or articulate it, and can’t describe it. The thought behind biomedical treatment is that by resolving those issues it might help ASD impacted kids have more positive behavior, less physical stress, and overall better health.

Note: We are not medical doctors, and this is not medical advice. We are not recommending or endorsing any of the therapies listed below. We provide this information to inform parents and families about these items so they can participate fully in the decision-making process relating to any treatment plan.

Hyperbaric oxygen chamber therapy (HBOT)

With HBOT, oxygen is dissolved into all of the body's fluids, by inhalation of 100% oxygen in a chamber where atmospheric pressure is increased and controlled.  It is used for a wide variety of illnesses and injuries, with the idea that this enables extra oxygen to reach any damaged tissues, and enhances the ability of white blood cells to kill bacteria. But, it’s not for everyone.

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Supplements & antifungals

Many parents give their children dietary supplements in an attempt to treat autism or to alleviate its symptoms. The range of supplements available are wide; few are supported by scientific data (and none are currently FDA approved), but many parents report significant positive changes in their children and their ASD related symptoms.

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The main theory of chiropractic is that mechanical disorders of the spine affect general health. Officially, chiropractic treatment has not been shown to be effective for medical conditions other than back pain, and there is insufficient science to make conclusions about chiropractic care for autism. Despite this, some families have reported positive gains with chiropractic therapy.

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Cranio Sacral

For cranio sacral therapy, the main hypothesis is that restrictions at specific points of the skull affect rhythmic impulses and that by applying gentle pressure or stretching those areas it can improve the flow and balance to the brain, relieving symptoms of many conditions including autism. While there is no scientific support for this theory, families have reported positive effects in the hands of someone qualified to perform it.

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Diets /

In the early 1990s, it was hypothesized that autism can be caused or aggravated by products of gluten and casein. Based on this hypothesis, diets that eliminate foods containing either gluten or casein, or both, are widely promoted, and many testimonials can be found describing benefits in autism-related symptoms, notably social engagement and verbal skills. Science, unfortunately, has yet to obtain the same results.

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Based on the speculation that heavy metal poisoning may trigger autism, some parents have turned to detoxification treatments via chelation therapy. Chelation can be done by taking specific agents in pills or liquids to detoxify the blood, and other therapies are done intravenously. While some parents report great success, others aren’t comfortable with it.

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Speech therapy

People with autism may have problems with both speech and nonverbal communication. They may also find it very hard to interact socially. For these reasons, speech therapy is a central part of treatment for autism. Speech therapy can address a wide range of communication problems for people with autism.

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