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.

SUPPLEMENTS AND 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.

Dietary supplements have been used by many to treat the symptoms of ASD since the 1960’s.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

It’s long been felt that children with ASD can be very picky eaters, creating gaps in nutrition. Also, there are many who believe that gastrointestinal issues make it difficult for the body to gain the full nutritive value from food alone.

Some common supplements may include melatonin, Vitamin B-6, magnesium, omega 3’s, Vitamin C, probiotics, and a high-quality daily vitamin.

Theoretically, by determining the nutritional deficiencies a child may have, and using supplementation to bring those levels into ‘typical ranges’, it may help to ease some symptoms and improve overall health.

IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER

Some supplements can interact negatively with other medications, or create a risk of injury if too much is taken. Families should work with a licensed medical professional to help determine which, if any, of these supplements (or others) might be worthwhile to try. All supplements modify body chemistry. Some may see improvement, and others might not. Sometimes, symptoms or behavior may actually worsen.

IMPORTANT TIPS

Bring on each supplement one at a time, with several days to observe how the body responds to each one individually. If a supplement brings positive effects, it should be considered for continuation. If a supplement has no impact or a negative one (and yes, this does happen) then it might be considered for discontinuation.

Keep a journal and record everything from mood, to sleep to bowel movements. Keeping a log is the best way to look back to find trends and consistencies (or lacks thereof).

Families have told us when it comes to supplementation that using quality products is key. If it can be found at the grocery, the local chain pharmacy or the big box store, it might not be as pure or as effective as what you might get from a health store where they tend to be more knowledgeable.

If supplements are prescribed by a physician as medically necessary, they may be deductible come tax time – so save receipts.

WHAT’S THE SCIENCE SAY?

Supplementation hasn’t been well studied, but here are the findings of one study: ‘Oral vitamin/mineral supplementation is beneficial in improving the nutritional and metabolic status of children with autism… The supplement group had significantly greater improvements than did the placebo group…. suggests that a vitamin/mineral supplement is a reasonable adjunct therapy to consider for most children and adults with autism.’

Again – some families report having great success, and others saw no change. And for others, they might have noticed an increase in negative behavior. Discuss the possibilities of supplementation with a knowledgeable physician.

WHERE TO START

Supplementation changes body chemistry, and some vitamins at high of levels can be dangerous, leading to injury. It’s important to undertake supplementation under the guidance of a physician. While some pediatricians might not be informed about dietary supplements, there are a variety of physicians & doctors to be found around the state who have had specific training in the areas of determining deficits in ASD children and navigating supplementation. Visit our page on covering the costs to see an out-of-network physician.

WHERE TO FIND THEM

One of the best ways to find a medical provider that might be a good fit for you and your family is by referral – word of mouth. Talk with other families about the physicians they work with, and about their experiences. Connect with other families by attending support groups or contacting a local autism related organization.

A national organization (with an active Wisconsin Chapter), Talk About Curing Autism (or TACA) has a strong focus on supplements. Remember: different organizations have different philosophies. Find an organization that fits your family well, and get plugged in.

Please note: This information was compiled by a parent volunteer from public sources, and is not intended to be medical or legal advice.