Autism spectrum disorder (ASD)

“Autism is really more of a difference to be worked with rather than a monolithic enemy that needs to be slain or destroyed.”
—Stephen Shore, PHD

Autism is not an illness or a disease or something to be cured, but there are natural treatments and therapies that can help manage symptoms and overcome some of the struggles and challenges you may face.

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurological condition present at birth and affects more than 1% of the population. It is a lifelong developmental condition and affects how they behave and learn, and interact with the world around them. Autism can range from low functioning to high functioning; those with the least severe problems can learn to communicate effectively, keep jobs, live independent lifestyles, while those with severe autism may continue to struggle with speech, learning, and communication skills into adulthood.

Autism is a complex and often challenging condition and as a spectrum disorder it affects people in different ways, which is why at IMI we have a number of therapies and treatments that can be tailored to your child’s unique set of symptoms and needs. This can include counselling or psychotherapy, potent (prescribed) herbal and dietary supplements, osteopathy, homeopathy, and other complementary therapies such as acupuncture, chiropractor, osteopathy to help manage other symptoms that can be present with autism such as epilepsy, tics, ADHD. We work hand in hand with you on this ever-changing terrain of autism. It is our aim to inspire and empower you to live extraordinary lives by nourishing yourself from the inside out.

Autism can be accompanied with learning disabilities, mental health issues and other health conditions such as hearing impairment, sleep problems, gastro-intestinal problems. Here is a list of some symptoms of autism.

Symptoms of Autism includes:

  • Difficulty with social interaction and communication
  • Problems expressing feelings and/or emotions
  • Trouble maintaining eye contact
  • Sensory sensitivity to noise, light, touch, smell, taste
  • Motor difficulties, extreme clumsiness and/or significant impairment in motor coordination (e.g. dyspraxia)
  • Intense and highly-focused interest in a particular subject (e.g. Obsessive-compulsive disorder)
  • Gastro-intestinal problems (e.g. constipation, diarrhoea, gas, bloating, reflux, abdominal pain)
  • Repetitive behaviours and routines (e.g. hand tapping or twisting)
  • Mental health issues (e.g. Anxiety, depression, ADHD)
  • Epilepsy
  • Tourette’s syndrome, tic disorder

There is no clear cause and it would appear it is a mixture of both genetic and environmental factors. There is a lot of research currently being carried out because the identification of this disorder is relatively recent.

The medical model looked at autism as a set of deficits or impairments that need to be fixed or changed. However there is now a greater understanding of the concept of neurodiversity, and the response to autism is changing to a focus on what the individual person needs rather than what is “wrong” with them.

As an integrated clinic we have a number of treatments and therapies at our disposal and tailor your treatment to your individual needs. These may include Psychotherapy and cranio-sacral therapy as well as therapies such as, acupuncture, chiropractor, osteopathy which can help manage other symptoms often present with autism, such as epilepsy, tic disorder, insomnia.

These therapies and treatments are safe for children and can also treat many paediatric health conditions as well as effective treatment for anxiety, depression, and insomnia.

Naturopathic medicine is an excellent treatment for someone with autism. Many children and young people on the autism spectrum have gastro-intestinal problems and by addressing the diet a naturopath can test and identify food sensitivities, potential allergies, bacterial imbalances in the gut, toxic exposure and address any deficiencies or imbalances with nutritional and immune support that can include potent (prescribed) herbal, vitamin and mineral supplements, and homeopathy. We begin with a detailed review of your medical history, illnesses, symptom patterns, diet, lifestyle, and family, social and environmental.

Craniosacral therapy (CST) – also known as Cranial osteopathy, is particularly effective treatment for children with an autism. It is a manual, hands-on form of therapy used to relieve pain, decrease tension, anxiety and improve physical and emotional wellbeing with gentle touch to the head, neck, and spine. It has been known to help improve eye contact and attentional and behavioural issues.

Craniosacral therapy takes place with the patient lying fully clothed on a treatment table. Each session can take between thirty minutes to one hour and requires regular sessions over a period of time are needed for treatment to work effectively. IMI therapist will determine the number of sessions you may need.

Counselling and psychology is another important treatment for anyone with autism. Our counsellors are passionate about promoting self-reliance, self-awareness and resilience, and to highlight the positive qualities relating to your autism. The sessions can help you develop coping strategies, relaxation techniques and discuss relationships issues. It allows you to have a safe space to talk about your feelings in confidence and without fear of judgement. We can also include family counselling to help the whole family develop new skills, attitudes, and ways of relating to a child with autism and the impact it can have on the whole family.

What to do next

If you would like a formal assessment to correctly diagnose autism, please see one of our clinical psychologists. If you or your child has been diagnosed with autism there are various treatments that can help, such as naturopathy, counselling and craniosacral therapy. For enquiries or to make an appointment please call 2523 7121 or fill in the enquiry e-form.

If you are unsure who to make an appointment with our integral health advisor can signpost you to the most appropriate practitioner and treatment.

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