Autism Spectrum Disorder is a group of development disorders with a wide array of symptoms and symptom severity which is why it is considered a “spectrum.” According to Autism Speaks, 1 in 45 children have been diagnosed with ASD. Symptoms of ASD include, but are not limited to, difficulty with social interactions and/or relationships, difficulty with verbal and nonverbal communication, unique patterns of behavior including repetitive behavior, fixations, fussy eating habits, sensitivity to sound, touch or light, impulsiveness, aggressive behavior, disinterest in activities or playing, and more. There are many ways to treat and manage symptoms of ASD including physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, feeding therapy, and medication. But, while all of these are useful and valid tools in treating ASD symptoms, there are many natural ways to treat and manage symptoms of autism.
Natural treatments for autism are great complimentary treatments that work well in conjunction with other therapies and services. Additionally, by working with a naturopath, you will have the option to explore herbal and nutritional supplements as well as other therapies that may help manage symptoms. By seeking the counsel of a naturopath, bloodworm and other lab tests can be conducted to determine if there are any allergies, hormonal imbalances, or vitamin deficiencies that need to be addressed. With results it is far easier to target treatments and choose specific nutritional and herbal supplements for the unique needs of the individual. Autism Speaks elaborates on the benefits of nutritional supplements for treating ASD, “Some evidence suggests that children with autism tend to be deficient in certain nutrients, and that these children show improvement when taking moderate doses of multivitamins. A daily multivitamin is a safe and reasonable option for persons of any age, especially for those who may not be eating a well-rounded diet.Another popular CAM treatment involves injections of the vitamin methyl B12. The suggestion is that the vitamin protects against oxidative stress, signs of which have been found in some children with autism. In a small pilot study, Dr. Hendren’s team at UCSF associated the treatment with improved social behaviors, language and communication in 25 to 35 percent of participating children…Many parents have reported that probiotics (“good” bacteria) help ease gastrointestinal distress in their children…Fatty acids are essential for the development and function of the brain. Omega-3 fatty acids are popular nutritional supplements and widely considered safe. Several very small studies have suggested that omega-3 fatty acid supplements may reduce autism-related symptoms such as repetitive behavior and hyperactivity, as well as improve socialization.”
In addition to nutritional supplements, many people find that changes in diet can make a dramatic impact on autism spectrum disorder symptoms. Those dietary changes include things like eliminating gluten, casein and soy completely and focusing heavily on a whole foods diet that has very limited or completely eliminated processed foods. Additionally, it is important to include foods that contain probiotics daily. There are other complimentary and therapeutic treatments including chiropractic adjustments, acupressure, and acupuncture. To learn more about natural treatments for ASD, speak to a naturopath for uniquely tailored, patient-specific advice.