Many parents of children who have Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) turned to natural or complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) to help treat their children’s various health and behavioral problems.
Between 30 and 95% of children who have ASD have had, or are having, some type of CAM treatment. Although, not all CAM treatments have been researched and proven to work. What might work for someone, might not work for another, and it’s as simple as that. Consulting with your doctor before modifying your child’s diet, treatment or lifestyle should be your priority.
1. Trying an Autism Diet
Doctors usually recommend children with autism, an autism diet which lowers or eliminates gluten and casein from the diet. Gluten can be found in seeds of wheat and other grains, which is known to cause digestive problems, while casein is a protein in dairy products and another source for digestive issues. Eliminating both gluten and casein will improve the overall health and behavior of children with autism.
Gluten and casein significantly affect our behavior, and according to the Autism Society, the average diet includes more wheat and dairy products than what is necessary. Gluten and casein peptides can mimic the effect of drugs such as morphine or heroin and cause sleepiness, giddiness, inattentive behavior, aggression, self-abusive behavior and more.
How can melatonin help children with autism? Well, many children with autism experience sleeping problems such as sleeping difficulties, waking up early, poor sleep quality, and restlessness.
A recent study from the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders found that melatonin can help children with autism sleep better and improve their overall sleep quality. A note, however, melatonin should be used only if the cause of the sleeping problems is autism.
3. Farms Can Help Children with Autism
Children with autism have a hard time relating to people, so new research has found that farms and animals can help children with autism relate better to other people.
More and more researches are showing that animal-assisted interventions (AAI) can improve the lives of children with autism. People who work at these farms say that the animals have a calming effect on kids and improve the overall social interaction between them and the kids. So far AAI programs have helped a lot of children with autism and have shown a lot of positive results.
4. Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Omega 3 fatty acids are a good fat found in fish oils and supplements. Omega 3 fatty acids help the development of the brain and its functions.
Studies have shown that adding omega 3 fatty acids to an autistic child’s diet can improve the overall behavior. Other studies have shown that omega 3 fatty acids can improve social skills in children with ASD.
5. Relaxation Techniques
A common problem in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder is behavior. A technique that will calm the mind and muscles, such as deep pressure massage or wearing weighted clothing, can lessen agitation in people with ASD. An expert proposes that progressive relaxation techniques, that involves teaching people the difference between tense and relaxed muscles, can benefit children with ASD. Teaching children with ASD how to tighten and relax their muscles, including muscles in hands, arms, and legs, can alleviate stress and agitation.