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Autism

 

Homeopathic Treatment of Autism

 

The main goal of treatment is to lessen the associated deficits and family distress and to increase the quality of life and functional independence.

The approaches available include applied behavior analysis (ABA), developmental models, structured teachings, speech and language therapy, social skills therapy and occupational therapy.

Conventional treatment, that is allopathy, advocates many medications to treat problems associated with autism. More than half of the children in the United States diagnosed with autism are given psycho-active drugs or anti-convulsants, antidepressants, stimulants and antipsychotics.

A patient with autism may not respond typically to the above medications, that aren't backed by reliable research about their efficacy or safety. These medicines have adverse effects and no known medication relieves the core symptoms of autism - social and communication impairment.

Many alternative therapies and interventions are available, yet, few are supported by scientific studies. Treatment approaches have little empirical support in quality-of-life contexts and many programs focus on success measures that lack predictive validity and real-world relevance.

However, there is one approach that works in a most non-toxic way known to health and healing - an alternative therapy known as homeopathy, which is a natural, holistic form of medicine based on fixed laws derived from the laws of nature. It is a system of medicine developed by Dr. Samuel Hahnemann, a German MD (Medical Doctor). Being a (w)holistic form of medicine, classical homoeopathy takes into consideration the person as a whole and the prescription is based on the individuality of the case.

Homeopathic medicines are safe, natural, non-toxic substances without side effects. It is a safe, effective alternative to drugs like Ritalin, Clonidine, Dexedrine, Prednisolone and so on - which all have lasting side effects.

The positive effects seen with homeopathic treatment are long lasting - not just for a few hours after the dose, as seen in allopathic treatment.

With homeopathic treatment, healing takes place at :

  • Physical level : Improved digestion, increased immunity, better regulation of sleep and appetite, controlled bowel habits and so on.
  • Mental and emotional level : Calmer, happier children; reduced aggression; reduction in self-injurious behavior and in harming others.

Homeopathy results in growth spurts in autistic children - just like normal children grow and does not alter or suppress the normal development of children.

The children come with many names for this spectrum of problems : Autism, Asperger's syndrome, PDD-NOS, ADD, ADHD, Sensory Integration Disorder. Homeopathy does not treat a disease or its name - it merely stimulates the body's own vital healing processes to eliminate whatever is causing the problems, no matter what the name - which means, it can heal all the problems mentioned in the previous sentence.

Moreover, allopathic treatment approaches are expensive; indirect costs are more so. A US study estimated an average cost of $3.2 million in 2003 for someone born in 2000, with about 10% medical care, 30% extra education and other care, and 60% lost economic productivity. One 2008 US study found 14% average loss of annual income in families of children with autism and a related study found that autism is associated with higher probability that child care problems will greatly affect parental employment. After childhood, key treatment issues include residential care, job training and placement, sexuality, social skills, and estate planning. But this is not the story with homeopathic treatment as it is an ideal treatment.

The most common question asked by parents at the onset of homeopathic treatment is : "How long will it take to see changes in my child with homeopathy ?"

Parents should be patient and observe the changes over a couple of months to a year with the homeopathic treatment of autism, although, in some cases, changes are seen within weeks - sometimes within days.

Usually parents ask, "When he is already on allopathic medication, can my child also be given homeopathic treatment ?"

The answer is, "YES". If the conventional treatment (allopathy) has not shown any improvement in the child or severe side effects have resulted from the same, such as aggression, diarrhoea, weight loss and so on, then, it is best to stop it completely, at the onset of the homeopathic treatment.

On the other hand, in cases where there is some benefit to the child with the allopathic treatment and the parents are looking for a safer and more effective alternative to life long allopathic treatment, the homeopathic doctor slowly weans the child, off the allopathic medication, as the homeopathic medicine begins to show its positive effects.

Homeopathy is compatible with other therapies such as AIT, SIT, speech therapy, occupational therapy and so on. In fact, the beneficial effects of homeopathy on the child will be a blessing to all his therapists and care givers, who will find the child is better at learning everything.

What is the expected scenario with classical homeopathic treatment ?

As mentioned before, improvement occurs in the child as a whole - at the physical, mental and emotional levels.

  • At the physical level, parents in the very early part of treatment talk of :
    • Improved sleep pattern - The child has a restful sleep pattern.
    • Improved digestion.
    • Regulation of bowel habits : Constipation becomes a past worry and children with regular bouts of diarrhoea begin to have healthy, regulated bowel movements.
    • Constitutional homeopathic treatment helps improve the immunity of the body. As a result, children prone to recurrent illnesses such as respiratory tract infections will be healthier and not have attacks of infection, as frequently.
  • Concentration improves - The child begins to concentrate better on the task given and is less distracted. This improvement has far reaching changes in all aspects of the life of the child.
  • All parents make statements like, "My child's understanding has improved. The response to a request is faster. The child is more compliant." This can be attributed to increased auditory comprehension and focus.
  • There is a sense of calmness. The child becomes more aware of what is going on around him or her. For example, a child who was previously withdrawn and in his own little world, may begin to notice his grandfather reading the newspaper in the same room.
  • Improved eye contact - The child's eye contact improves steadily. It is easier to elicit and maintain eye contact.
  • Tracking, that is, visually following an object around a path, improves. Scanning, that is, looking for a particular object in a book, improves.
  • Sitting tolerance improves. This helps during teaching sessions and parents find it easier to travel with the child as well.
  • There is a marked reduction in self-stimulatory behavior - for example, hand flapping.
  • Dependence on stimulation such as violent swinging and running in circles reduces - for example, a child addicted to the swing for hours during the day, will not depend on it like before.
  • Obsessive compulsive behavior also reduces.
  • Constitutional homeopathic treatment brings harmony and a move towards equilibrium in the overactive nervous system of the autistic individual, therefore, dependence on fixation and monotonous repetitive behavior reduces.
  • Hyperactivity also reduces - The child who would jump from one toy to another without proper focus will spend more constructive time on one task, before going on to the next. With homeopathic control of hyperactivity, the child will remain active, happy and responsive; it will not be like a 'Zombie (with hardly any responsiveness)', as with other forms of medication.
  • Dysfunction in sensory integration - which is the bane of most autistic individuals - gets controlled with homeopathy.
    • In children with visual hypersensitivity, the child does not blink as much in bright light.
    • Reduction of tactile hypersensitivity improves the child's reaction to being touched. He does not flinch on being touched and is braver at social interactions.
    • Reduction in auditory hypersensitivity is seen in the child. He is more comfortable in a noisy environment, such as a party or a restaurant.
    • More harmony in the senses results in many positive changes in the life of the child. The child is more comfortable in social interactions. Children learn to eat new foods.
  • Improvement in communication skills :
    • In a non-verbal child, the child communicates his needs better. Communication becomes more spontaneous.
    • In children with verbal communication skills, the child progresses at a faster rate from 1 word to 2 word phrases and so forth. Speech is more spontaneous and clear.
  • Overall, most of the children learn to adapt better to change. A child who earlier was terrified of going to the beach or visiting people is more comfortable at the experience and begins to enjoy it as well. They begin to develop social relationships.

Homeopathy can not only help the child the rest of the way to recovery by addressing the underlying susceptibility to autism, but also help prevent a recurrence of symptoms in the future.

Recovery is a long journey, but the right remedy will bring results, faster than any biological treatment can. While there are many means to an end, homeopathy can speed up the recovery dramatically and may be, save thousands of Dollars.

There are 78 homoeopathic medicines which give great relief in autism. However, the correct choice and the resulting relief is a matter of experience and right judgment on the part of the homeopathic doctor. The treatment is decided after thorough case taking of the patient. Thus, homeopathic remedies for autism are designer made, unlike allopathy, in which all patients receive the same drugs - although trade names may be different.

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What is Autism ?

 

Autism is a complex developmental disability that typically appears during the first three years of life and affects a person's ability to communicate and interact with others.

Autism is defined by a certain set of behaviors and is a "SPECTRUM DISORDER" that affects individuals differently and to varying degrees. There is no known single cause for autism, but increased awareness and the right approach can help families today.

Autism is distinguished by a pattern of symptoms rather than any single symptom. Every person with autism is an individual and like all individuals, has a unique personality and combination of characteristics. Some individuals mildly affected, may exhibit only slight delays in language and greater challenges with social interactions. People with autism also process and respond to information in unique ways.

In February 2007, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention issued their ADDME autism prevalence report. The report, which looked at a sample of 8 year olds in 2000 and 2002, concluded that the prevalence of autism had risen to 1 in every 150 American children and almost 1 in 94 boys.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Autism ?

 

Autism is a brain development disorder that first shows signs during infancy or childhood and generally follows a steady course without remission or relapse. Impairments result from maturation-related changes in various systems of the brain.

Autism is one of the fine pervasive developmental disorders (PDD), which are characterized by widespread abnormalities of social interactions and communication and severely restricted interests and highly repetitive behavior.

Of the 4 PDD forms, Asperger syndrome is closest to autism in signs and likely causes, Rett syndrome and childhood disintegrative disorder share several signs with autism, but may have unrelated causes.

The main characteristics of autism are impairments in social interaction, impairments in communication, restricted interests and repetitive behavior.

Social Development

  • People with autism have social impairments and often lack the intuition about others, that many people take for granted.
  • Social impairments becomes apparent early in childhood and continue through adulthood.
  • Autistic individuals show less attention to social stimuli, they smile and look at others less often and respond less to even their own name.
  • Autistic toddlers have more striking social deviance; for example, they have less eye contact and anticipatory postures and are more likely to communicate by manipulating another person's hand.
  • 3 to 5 year old autistic children are less likely to exhibit social understanding, approach others spontaneously, initiate and respond to emotions, communicate non verbally or take turns with others.
  • However, they do form attachments to their primary care givers. They display moderately less attachment security than usual, although this feature disappears in children with higher mental development.
  • In children with mental retardation, autism is associated with aggression, destruction of property and tantrums.

Communication

  • About a third to a half of individuals with autism do not develop enough natural speech to meet their daily communication needs.
  • From the 1st year of life, there may be delayed onset of babbling, unusual gestures, diminished responsiveness and the desynchronization of vocal patterns with the caregiver. In the 2nd and 3rd years, autistic children have less frequent and less diverse babbling, consonants, words and word combination; their gestures are less often integrated with words.
  • An autistic child is less likely to make requests or share experiences and is more likely to simply repeat others' words (echolalia) or reverse pronouns.
  • Joint attention seems to be necessary for functional speech. For example, they may look at a pointing hand instead of the pointed-at object and they consistently fail to point at objects in order to comment on or share an experience.
  • Have difficulty with imaginative play and with developing symbols into language.

Repetitive Behavior

Autistic individuals display many forms of repetitive or restricted behavior, which the Repetitive Behavior Scale - Revised categorizes as:

  • STEREOTYPE is apparently purposeless movement, such as hand flapping, head rolling, or body rocking.
  • COMPULSIVE BEHAVIOR is intended and appears to follow a rule, such as arranging objects in a certain way.
  • SAMENESS is resistance to change. For example, insisting that the furniture not to be moved or refusing to be interrupted.
  • RITUALISTIC BEHAVIOR involves the performance of daily activities the same way each time, such as an unvarying menu or dressing rituals. This is closely associated with sameness and an independent validation has suggested combining the two factors.
  • RESTRICTED BEHAVIOR is limited in focus, interest or activity, such as preoccupation with a single television program.
  • SELF INJURY includes movements that injure or can injure the person, such as biting oneself.

No single repetitive behavior seems to be specific to autism, but only autism appears to have elevated patterns of occurrence and severity.

Other symptoms

Autistic individuals may have other symptoms that are independent of the diagnosis, but that can affect the individual or the family.

  • An estimated 0.5% to 10% of individuals with autism show unusual abilities, ranging from splinter skills such as the memorization of the trivia to the extraordinarily rare talents of prodigious Autistic Savant.
  • Unusual responses to sensory stimuli.
  • Poor muscle tone, poor motor planning, and toe walking; autism is not associated with severe motor disturbances.
  • Atypical eating behavior occurs in about 75% of children with autism.
  • Eating rituals and food refusal also occur; this does not appear to result in malnutrition.
  • Some have gastrointestinal troubles.
  • Sleep problems are more common in children with developmental disabilities; children may experience problems including difficulty in falling asleep, frequent nocturnal awakenings, and early morning awakenings.
  • Parents of children with autism have higher levels of stress; siblings of children with autism report greater admiration of and less conflict with the affected sibling; siblings of individuals with autism have greater risk of negative well being and poorer sibling relationships as adults.

In a nutshell, the child may have the following:

  • Insistence on sameness; resistance to change.
  • Difficulty in expressing needs; using gestures or pointing instead of words.
  • Repeating words or phrases in place of normal, responsive language.
  • Laughing for no apparent reason; showing distress for reasons not apparent to others.
  • Preference to being alone; aloof manner.
  • Tantrums.
  • Difficulty in mixing with others.
  • Not wanting to cuddle or be cuddled.
  • Little or no eye contact.
  • Unresponsive to normal teaching methods.
  • Sustained odd play.
  • Spinning objects.
  • Obsessive attachment to objects.
  • Apparent over sensitivity or under sensitivity to pain.
  • No real fears of danger.
  • Noticeable physical over activity or extreme under activity.
  • Uneven gross fine motor skills.
  • Non-responsive to verbal cues; acts as if deaf, although hearing tests are normal.

Autism is associated with several other conditions:

  • Genetic disorders.
  • Mental retardation : A wide variation, illustrating the difficulty of assessing autistic intelligence.
  • Maleness : Boys are at higher risks for autism than girls. The autism sex ratio averages 4.5:1 and is greatly modified by cognitive impairment; it may be close to 2:1 with mental retardation and more than 5.5:1 without.
  • Epilepsy : With variations in risk of epilepsy due to age, cognitive level, and type of language disorder.
  • Severe metabolic defects, such as phenylketonuria.
  • Minor physical anomalies are significantly increased in the autistic population.

What causes Autism ?

 

There is no single known cause for autism, but it is generally accepted that it is caused by abnormalities in brain structure or function. Brain scans show differences in the shape and structure of the brain in children with autism versus neuro typical children. In many families, there appears to be a pattern of autism or related disabilities further supporting a genetic basis to the disorder. It also appears that some children are born with a susceptibility to autism.

  • Genetic vulnerability.
  • Environmental factors : All known teratogens (agents that cause birth defects) related to the risk of autism appear to act during the first eight weeks from conception and though this does not exclude the possibility that autism can be initiated or affected later, it is strong evidence that autism arises very early in development. Environmental factors that have been claimed to contribute to or exacerbate autism, include certain foods, infectious disease, heavy metals, solvents, diesel exhaust, PCBs, phthalates and phenols used in plastic products, pesticides, brominated flame retardants, alcohol, smoking, illicit drugs, vaccines and prenatal stress.
  • Diagnosis of Autism

     

    The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all children be screened for autism at the 18th and 24th month well-child doctor visits, using autism-specific formal screening tests.

    About half of parents of children with autism notice their child's unusual behaviors by age 18 months and about 4/5th notice it by age 24 months. As postponing treatment may affect long-term outcome, any of the following signs is reason to have a child evaluated by a specialist without delay :

    • No babbling by 12 months.
    • No gesturing by 12 months.
    • No single words by 16 months.
    • No two-word spontaneous phrases by 24 months.
    • Any less of any language or social skills at any age.

    Diagnosis is based on behavior, not cause or mechanism. Autism is defined in the DSM-IV-TR as exhibiting at least six symptoms in total, including at least two symptoms of qualitative impairment in social interaction, at least one symptom of qualitative impairment in communication and at least one symptom of restricted and repetitive behavior. Sample symptoms include lack of social or emotional reciprocity, stereotyped and repetitive use of language or idiosyncratic language and persistent preoccupation with parts of objects. Onset must be prior to age three years, with delays or abnormal functioning in either social interaction, language as used in social communication or symbolic / imaginative play.

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