Millions of parents seek answers and assistance when their children are diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder or ASD.
Parents are not often told that chiropractic care offers benefits for autism, even as autism rates continue to rise. Can a Holistic Chiropractor Help Autism? In short, yes, you can!
As you probably know, the spectrum of cognitive problems and symptoms for people diagnosed with autism is a large area.
Most parents seeking answers are told not to expect too much of their child and see a therapist.
Early intervention can indeed help tremendously, and those early steps should include chiropractic care, but parents often don’t find out about this choice until much later.
Common signs of autism
Most parents notice changes in early childhood, often by six months of age.
Common signs of autism are:
- Speech delay or speech regression.
- The ability to be sensitive to sound or certain noises.
- A delay in regular childhood markers, such as walking.
- It does not offer reciprocal gestures, such as not responding to peek-a-boo games (a game played with a young child, which involves hiding behind something and suddenly reappearing, saying “peek-a-boo”).
- A baby six months of age or older is not smiling or has stopped smiling.
These are just a few examples of some early signs of autism.
What Causes Autism?
This can be a very volatile topic, but the fact is that scientists do not know the exact cause of this disorder.
Some believe that this problem is genetic; others that toxins are caused by the environment that the mother is exposed to during pregnancy. In contrast, other researchers claim that it is a combination of reasons.
Scientists know that autism involves the brain and nervous system. Since chiropractic care consists in bringing the two together, including stress and pain relief, it only makes sense that chiropractic care can improve the quality of life for your patients.
Some doctors quickly point out that almost all children with autism have digestive problems. Could it be that a mix or imbalance in the bacteria in the digestive tract plays a role? Is this the cause or another symptom?
This is also an area that needs to be investigated and studied.
Most parents with autistic children have tried various diets, including restrictions on certain types of foods (such as the ketogenic diet, which imposes strict limits on carbohydrate consumption or gluten-free diets).
Also, vegan diets, totally natural diets, elimination of sugar, food coloring, and dairy products.
Almost all parents also report some improvement, regardless of their diet.
Why are chiropractors ignored in this area?
Chiropractors are generally ignored for children with autism for the same reasons that some parents do not take their children to a chiropractor; most parents believe that children do not need or will not benefit from chiropractic care.
Many people believe that chiropractors only work to improve back and neck pain. They don’t understand how a holistic chiropractor can help any child, much less help him with autism.
The National Academy of Sciences suggested in a chapter that children would benefit from a minimum of 25 hours a week of therapy as soon as they are diagnosed with autism. As indicated in their report, therapeutic programs from the age of 3 have immense benefits for children.
The Academy notes in its 2016 report that 80 percent of autistic patients speak before the age of 9.
Compare this to 20 years ago, when the number of autistic children able to speak and communicate effectively was less than 50 percent.
The role of a chiropractor in the natural treatment of autism
You might still wonder what this has to do with chiropractic care and how a chiropractor can help a child with autism.
First, let’s talk for a minute about what chiropractic work is. Most people think about improving a problem in their back or putting their neck “back in place.”
While this is partially true, it is like saying that all surgeons do is open and stitch the wound closed.
Chiropractic care looks at the importance of the central nervous system and the spine through which the nervous system passes. Like a giant highway system, the body’s nervous system controls every organ, every sensation, and thought process.
To give you a better idea of how this works, imagine that your brain is a warehouse, and all the other parts of your body are stores that need supplies.
Your nervous system is the path that trucks travel (electrical impulses). When a store is empty or damaged, send the information along the way. The warehouse responds with the appropriate action.
When the path is damaged, the information cannot be sent, it cannot be understood, and there is no response from the store (the brain), or the signal is ignored because the brain does not understand.
Chiropractic care aligns the spine and joints so proper communication can occur.
Chiropractors are medical doctors who go to school for a minimum of eight years and must pass various examinations before they are licensed. Their specialized training enables them to find and correct spinal dysfunction.
What benefits can a chiropractor offer to a child with autism?
Chiropractic care works by improving the function or communication between the spine and the central nervous system, thus rectifying the part of every organ and every aspect of the body.
A chiropractor can help children with autism by improving neurological function. The body’s autonomic nervous system is designed to protect people with specific automatic responses. A typical response is the “fight or flight” mode.
The body blocks all other stimuli to make the fight or flight decision by sensing danger. Sometimes due to a misaligned spine, the mind gets stuck in this mode, frozen, so to speak, leaving the person unable to respond.
The most excellent sensory activity is found along the spine. Like the highway we mentioned earlier, chiropractic care improves information processing by allowing communication to flow freely.
Adjusting the body structure often leads to accurate and long-lasting results without drugs and surgery. That is why chiropractic adjustments are considered part of a natural treatment regimen for autism.
Coordination and balance are also sensory systems found in the inner ear and spine. Adjustments improve motor skills by allowing the body and mind to connect through better avenues of communication.
Scientists observe that children with autism suffer from neurological interference, which prevents the pathways from communicating.
Chiropractic care is not so much about recovery as it is about improving the quality of life for these children. Chiropractic adjustments offer an additional release from the accumulated frustrations and stress that autistic children feel about their inability to communicate with others.
There are a wide variety of problems for which chiropractic care has been beneficial for children, such as:
- Stop recurring ear infections.
- Immune system improvement.
- Asthma .
An autism diagnosis is another mental / health problem that chiropractors can treat.
Chiropractic care cannot reverse autism. However, we treat children with autism as part of a comprehensive health program.
Other natural treatments that have helped autistic children include:
- A gluten-free diet.
- A completely natural diet high in fruits and vegetables.
- Ayurvedic massage.
You can also talk to your chiropractor about detoxification and nutritional information and how it might benefit your child.
Success stories of people with autism treated with chiropractic
Dr. Matthew McCoy published a study in 2013 in the Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research on a three-year-old girl with autism who suffered from a variety of symptoms, including headaches, vomiting, insomnia, and delayed motor skills.
After a month of chiropractic care, this girl had significant improvements in most areas, including autism-related issues such as making eye contact and improving development.
The Journal of Clinical Chiropractic Pediatrics systematically reviewed the literature that included 11 case studies involving autistic children. In her comments, it was stated that chiropractic care had a positive impact on all issues. This review was published in December 2016.
In May 2001, a study was discussed at the Congress of the World Chiropractic Federation, where a 5-year-old boy with autism received chiropractic care. Parents stated that they saw a significant improvement in their son after just two weeks.
Most success stories are anecdotal and can be found on popular social media sites, such as Facebook, Reddit, Twitter, or health news.
How long does it take for the results to be displayed?
We are all different, even those with autism. Some children show improvement after just one adjustment. Like the 3-year-old girl mentioned above, other children took about 30 days. The 5-year-old listed in success stories? Just two weeks.
Help your chiropractor
If you decide to try chiropractic care for your child, you can help the doctor by talking to him first, without your child being there, so that you can explain your concerns and ask questions without worrying about your child being upset.
You and the doctor should agree on some verbal cues or hand signals, so you know what to expect and can have the doctor end the session if your child is overly stressed.
Most autistic children thrive on routine, so it’s best to make appointments at the same time of day and regular intervals.
Almost all kids like how they feel after an adjustment, which should make a comeback date an easy situation.