What are natural treatments for autism?

William Stillman
Health Education

Thank you for your very smart and responsible question. We live in an era when every other television commercial is for a drug promoting a quick fix. Often unconsidered is that every medication has the potential for adverse side-effects (often in fine print or voiced at warp speed in commercials). There are very few psychotropic medications (mood altering) that are Food & Drug Administration approved for use in children. When such medications are prescribed to "treat" autism, it is at the discretion of the prescribing physician and require very careful monitoring.

Options for a natural course of supporting your child's autism can include:

  1. Presuming your child's intellect. This requires that you totally disbelieve any notion that autism negatively affects your child's intellect (regardless or whether or not she talks). Talking to and with your child (not about and around) and feeding her hungry brain at her chronological age with age-appropriate educational materials communicates to your child that you are an ally who sees beyond the label(s) and looks past any physical limitations.
  2. Proper nutrition. Your child with autism has a highly sensitive physiology that may include a very delicate digestive and gastrointestinal system. Many people with autism have strong and adverse reactions to wheat and dairy food products (or may seem to crave them) because of the intense "opiate effect" caused in the brain. Also to be avoided are chemicals, dyes, and preservatives found in most processed foods.
  3. Consistent routines. People with autism are creatures of habit that will benefit most from (while dramatically reducing anxiety and hyperactivity) feeling safe and comfortable and in control of knowing what's coming next. Word and/or picture schedules set up at bedtime for the next day are a must.
  4. Physical activity. Many children with autism feel disconnected from their bodies. They may be unable to articulate speech or may walk tip-toe in order to literally feel their legs. Daily opportunities to push, pull, climb, jump, and lift (especially to favorite music) will aid him in better coordinating brain-to-body communication. Swimming is optimal!
  5. Socialization. It is fair and reasonable that, as a parent, you set limits on video game playing, YouTube-watching, and computer time. Identify your child's most pasionate topic of special interest, and use it to connect her to at least one other child who shares it too.


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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.