Alternative Autism Treatment Plans Bring Hope And Healing

June 27, 2012 0 Comments

Routine early intervention programs for children with autism consist of a variety of research-validated therapies designed to improve developmental problems and minimize unacceptable behavior patterns that affect learning in a schoolroom environment. Occupational therapies for sensory issues, speech-language pathology and behavior modification techniques fall into this category. While these programs are extremely effective, they do not address problems that fall outside of an educational curriculum. For that reason, alternative autism treatment plans are often used in addition to standard therapies.

What Biomedical Interventions Do

Improving the quality of life for an autistic child requires interventions that treat the whole person. Treating just developmental issues and communication or social difficulties does nothing to help gastrointestinal complaints, food sensitivities and medical conditions. Biomedical interventions seek to relieve the discomfort that comes from intestinal or hormonal imbalances, diet or nutritional deficiencies and environmental toxins. When physical abnormalities are corrected, behavior, learning and social abilities often dramatically improve.

Biomedical treatment programs are individualized and fine-tuned to meet each child’s medical and physical needs as revealed by extensive lab testing, but they can include one or more of the following interventions:

– dietary restrictions

– vitamin and mineral supplementation

– essential fatty acids

– melatonin for sleep disorders

– digestive enzymes, probiotic or antifungal

– thyroid medication

– chelation for heavy metal toxicity

– glutathione supplementation

– amino acid therapy

Autism is a complex problem. There is no single answer. While most autistic children experience similar issues such as food sensitivities and gastrointestinal problems, addressing the issues specific to each child can bring hope and healing for the entire family.

Controversy Surrounding Alternative Methods for Treating Autism

The biomedical perspective says autism can be clinically treated by looking into gut inflammation problems, food intolerance, heavy metal toxicity and other physical abnormalities. While autism is specifically defined as problems with speech and language, rigid thought and behaviors, developmental delay and socialization difficulties, medical problems often contribute heavily to those signs and symptoms. Traditional therapies seek to correct problematic behaviors by using modification techniques, but if a child is in pain or does not feel well, standard therapies will not work as well as they would if underlying medical conditions were corrected first.

Even so, controversy regarding the lack of scientific evidence supporting alternative approaches for treating autism continues to oppose medical intervention. Partly, because autism remains classified as a psychological disorder rather than a physical one, and partly because legitimate scientific studies would deny autistic controls the early intervention essential to improve their quality of life.

Role of Hope in Healing

Opponents to medical interventions often justify their position by referring to the desperation that many parents of autistic children feel when seeking out alternative autism treatment methods. They do not understand the role hope plays in autism recovery. While appealing to biomedical issues as the sole reason behind an autism diagnosis can be as misguided as ignoring the potential for healing that medical therapy provides, autistic children do manifest dysfunctions or abnormalities across several body systems.

By considering all of those dysfunctions and taking action to intervene, parents have the unusual potential of using their hope to transform their autistic child’s quality of life. The goal of early intervention is to give autistic children the best chance at reaching their full potential. Addressing behavior and ignoring medical issues can never do that.

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