and even certain TOYS can be
Autism Biomedical & Alternative Treatments
These autism biomedical and alternative treatments are not backed by science and many of them are cause for controversy. In fact none of them are proven in the scientific realm. But then science hasn't given us a whole lot to go on since they've yet to find the cause or cure for ASD's. Science doesn't back every form of therapy. Some, including music therapy, contain too many other variables to positively identify whether or not it's effective from a scientific standpoint. In those cases I don't put a whole lot of stock in science because I've seen things work for my son that were not scientifically proven. Loving parents (and grandparents) can have a HUGE impact on their autistic child. Can science measure that? Let's face it, loving parents can have a HUGE impact on any child.
Autism Biomedical Treatments
• Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT)
• The DAN! Protocol
• Gluten Free Casein Free Diet
• Vitamin B12
• Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation
• Adult Stem Cell Therapy
• and more.
I can't explain all of these, and frankly many of them scare me. Also many of these autism biomedical treatments are difficult for me to explain without bias. I must admit I'm not a fan of most of the treatments I just listed. That doesn't mean they won't work or can't work for your child, it just means I'm personally not convinced. So I'll try to explain some of them without sounding judgmental.
Horse therapy (a.k.a. equine therapy or hippo therapy), surfer's healing, and more could be considered alternative therapies, but I'm wouldn't say they are autism biomedical treatments. Virtually all therapies that aren't mainstream or scientifically proven to work in treating autism could be grouped in this category of alternative therapies depending on who you're talking to.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT)
I've heard of a couple different methods for HBOT but the most common method seems to be placing your child inside a small chamber where they lay down and relax. Oxygen is supplied to the chamber for a determined amount of time. The rationale behind using hyperbaric oxygen therapy as a treatment for ASD is that the treatments increase blood flow to the brain and with that increased blood flow an increased amount of oxygen is delivered to areas of the brain, which are thought to be oxygen deficient. Greater amounts of blood and oxygen to the brain stimulate cerebral tissues and aid in recovery. HBOT is also thought to reduce excess fluids and swelling of brain tissues which aid in neurological function. HBOT would certainly be classified as an unconventional autism biomedical treatment.
More commonly used to treat lead poisoning, chelation is also thought to help people with autism. It can be administered intravenously or with oral supplementation. Many parents who choose to chelate their child will use supplements that can be purchased over-the-counter. Ethylene diamine tetraacetic acid (EDTA) is one of several chelating agents that is available. It enters the bloodstream and bonds with heavy metals. When the EDTA exits the body, usually in stool, the mercury is forced out with it. The rationale is that some autistic children have an unusually high amount of heavy metals in their bodies, especially mercury, which triggers the symptoms of ASD. And removing those metals will aid in recovering the child. Again, it's an unconventional autism biomedical treatment.
The DAN! Protocol
DAN is an acronym for Defeat Autism Now which is a project of the Autism Research Institute. You might say DAN doctors think outside the box. They may use certain methods with certain children, but each of those methods may be different. It's not uncommon for a DAN doctor to use nutritional supplements, special diets, and detoxification with their patients. Their thought is that autism is a biomedical disorder, not necessarily psychological and they treat it accordingly. Essentially these doctors are licensed health care providers who have attended a pair of two-day trainings. There is no further credentialing, testing, or follow up. Doctors then sign the philosophy statement and pay an annual fee.
Gluten Free Casein Free Diet
This strict diet basically eliminates wheat and dairy products from the body. This is one of the alternative treatments my wife and I tried with our son for a while. It can be difficult and costly but some parents claim it has worked wonders for their children. It's based on the belief that a child may be allergic to gluten and casein, which may be triggering the symptoms of autism, or at least contributing to them.
The belief here is that nutritional deficiencies are possibly causing autism, or causing the symptoms of ASD to be more severe. Vitamin B12 and autism biomedical therapy to the rescue! Apparently B12 is an essential vitamin for healthy brain function. It helps to manufacture the protective layer surrounding nerves in the brain, and in addition it helps the brain to produce neurotransmitters, which are vital for communication within the brain.
When taken intravenously, proponents believe B12 increases the absorption of essential nutrients into the body. This aids the nervous system leading to improvements in behaviors of autistics.
Two of my son's favorite stuffed animals, Shark and Kitty. You can call them toys, we call them therapy. We often use them to help him with imaginative play.