Do Alternative Treatments for Autism Work?

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Do Alternative Treatments for Autism Work?

Postby Winnie » Mon Jul 11, 2016 3:04 pm

Do Alternative Treatments for Autism Work?
By Lesley McClurg

July 11, 2016

(podcast available at beginning of article)

A huge majority of parents who have a child with autism have tried some sort of unorthodox treatment to alleviate core symptoms and improve skills like communication or social behavior. A 2013 UCSF study found 88 percent of parents surveyed tried some form of complementary or alternative medicine for their child.

The treatments range from special diets and supplements — two of the most frequently tried interventions — to music or animal therapy. But parents have little guidance from medical science, because the evidence for alternatives is thin, if it exists at all.

That said, there is some evidence suggesting children may benefit from simple treatments like vitamin B12, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamin D, says UCSF psychiatrist Dr. Robert Hendren, who specializes in autism. Hendren’s studies of small patient populations have found these supplements produced some positive results in improving social behavior and reducing hyperactivity.

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Re: Do Alternative Treatments for Autism Work?

Postby crazykool » Fri Jul 29, 2016 7:20 am

I think it depends on the person & where in the spectrum they are in.

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Re: Do Alternative Treatments for Autism Work?

Postby DC1346 » Fri Aug 05, 2016 2:51 am

I agree with crazykool. What works with one person may not work for another.

With this being said, you should be aware that there is no cure for autism. As someone who is autistic (Asperger's Syndrome), I know from my own experience that treatments typically involve some form of coping mechanisms which either help to alleviate stress or to provide some degree of structure with which to make sense of a confusing and chaotic world.

There is no one size fits all solution because those of us who are autistic will fall in different places on the autistic spectrum. As individuals we also have different likes and wants and needs. What bothers one person may not bother someone else (or it may not bother that person to the same degree) ... so the process of developing an appropriate coping mechanism will vary.

As someone who is 55 years of age, I wasn't diagnosed with autism until I was 54 ... so I'm an adult survivor who learned to adjust on his own. I must say that I've done rather well for myself despite my autism. I hold three college degrees, hold two levels of teacher certification, have published 7 books, and own two homes. I've lived on my own since earning my first degree back in '82 and have worked in 5 different states and 3 different countries.

Although my diagnosis hasn't really told me anything about myself that I didn't already know or suspect, KNOWING why I am the way I am has been a tremendous relief.

I've always known that I was different and I've always had problems with being socially awkward but I didn't understand why until I was clinically diagnosed.

Now that I know that I'm autistic, I've given myself permission to embrace my reclusive tendencies. I've ended all friendships. I broke off an engagement. I have work and I have home and when I'm at home, I turn off my cell phone, refuse to answer the door, and expect to be left alone.

Far from being depressed, I've been tremendously relieved because the act of trying to fit in ... to have a "normal" life with friendships and relationships and all of the other interpersonal ties that neurotypicals have was in itself, inherently stressful because I was trying to be someone that I'm not. I used to be tremendously depressed because I couldn't have a normal life ... but now that I know that I'm autistic, I'm okay. My depression is gone and a lot of my stress is gone.

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