What Are the Different Alternative Treatments for Autism?

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison

There are many alternative treatments a person may consider for autism. For example, parents of autistic children often try diet changes for this purpose, and some consider ways to remove toxins from the body as treatment. Additionally, alternative therapies for autism can include those that involve creativity, including visual arts and music. Since alternative therapies may not always work as hoped, people may benefit from speaking with a doctor before implementing them.

Milk contains the protein casein. Some experts recommend eliminating casein from the diet of people with autism..
Milk contains the protein casein. Some experts recommend eliminating casein from the diet of people with autism..

The parent of an autistic person may choose to prevent his child from consuming foods that commonly cause allergy symptoms, such as dairy products and wheat, even if there is no proof the child is allergic to them. Some parents also remove yeast and proteins called gluten and casein from their children’s diets in an effort to help. Vitamin supplements, such as vitamin B-6 and B-12, are often included in alternative treatments for autism as well. Usually, parents are advised to seek a dietitian's advice before making dramatic changes to a child’s diet, as severe restriction can lead to nutritional deficiencies.

Art therapy can help autistic children improve communication skills and use their imagination.
Art therapy can help autistic children improve communication skills and use their imagination.

Some people believe the development of autism may be related to a buildup of toxic metals. As such, some alternative treatments for autism involve attempts to draw them out of the affected person’s body. Two of the metals often implicated in autism are mercury and lead, and parents may seek chelation therapy for their children in an effort to draw these and other suspicious metals out. Chelation therapy involves injecting a chemical into the affected person’s body in the hopes that it will attach itself to the offending metals and aid in their removal from the body. A patient may receive injections over several weeks in the hopes of treating autism, but the therapy also removes minerals the patient needs and can cause health problems.

Children with autism may express themselves through stories.
Children with autism may express themselves through stories.

Alternative treatments for autism can also include therapies based on the use of art and creativity. For example, art therapy, when provided by an experienced, licensed therapist, is said to help improve an autistic person’s communication skills and ability to use his imagination. It may also help him better interpret other people’s facial expressions, which can aid in communication. Additionally, art therapy may help autistic people overcome difficulties with touching certain types of materials, including those that are wet.

Music therapy may also help an autistic individual develop communication skills and even learn to express himself in non-verbal ways. An autistic person might also benefit from music therapy that includes games, as his participation encourages him to interact with others. Additionally, many experts assert that music can aid in brain and social development and help a person build and improve vital motor skills. Creativity-based alternative treatments for autism may also help an autistic person better cope with sounds and changes in his environment that might otherwise prove disturbing for him.

Some believe that vitamins B-6 and B-12 may help treat autism.
Some believe that vitamins B-6 and B-12 may help treat autism.
Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a wiseGEEK writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

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