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What Are the Different Alternative Treatments for Autism?

Nicole Madison
Updated Feb 11, 2024
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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.

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.

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.

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.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Nicole Madison
By Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a WiseGeek writer, where she focuses on topics like homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. Her passion for knowledge is evident in the well-researched and informative articles she authors. As a mother of four, Nicole balances work with quality family time activities such as reading, camping, and beach trips.
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Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a WiseGeek writer, where she focuses on topics like...
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