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Autism - Support Across the Spectrum Autism - Support Across the Spectrum

Low-Cost Autism Therapy Shows Promise (I'm so going to try this!!!!!)

Posted by on May. 21, 2013 at 2:27 AM
  • 17 Replies
1 mom liked this

Low-Cost Autism Therapy Shows Promise

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A simple, home-based therapy that relies on sensory stimulation could make a world of difference for kids with autism, a new study suggests.

Researchers say that children who participated in the therapy known as environmental enrichment in addition to standard treatments like applied behavior analysis showed significantly more improvement in social and cognitive skills as compared to kids with autism who only had the traditional treatment.

In a small study being published this week in the journal Behavioral Neuroscience, researchers looked at 28 boys with autism ages 3 to 12, all of whom received standard behavior therapy. In addition, 13 of the boys participated in environmental enrichment exercises each day during the six-month study period.

The supplemental therapy — which was administered by parents in the home — used everyday objects like hot and cold water, aluminum foil, sandpaper, scented oils and a piggy bank to expose children to various stimuli during two, 15 to 30-minute sessions daily. What’s more, sensory activities were incorporated in other areas of the boys’ daily lives. The kids listened to classical music and, at night, a scented cotton ball was placed in their pillowcases so that they would be exposed to a fragrance while they slept, for example.

After six months, researchers from the University of California, Irvine found that children who participated in environmental enrichment were six times more likely to have significant improvement in relating to people as well as sights and sounds. They also made greater strides in cognitive functioning.

Meanwhile, parents were twice as likely to report improvement in their child’s overall autism symptoms when they had received both therapies.

“Because parents can give their child sensory enrichment using items typically available in their home, this therapy provides a low-cost option for enhancing their child’s progress,” said Cynthia Woo, a study co-author and a project scientist at the University of California, Irvine.

While further study is needed, the researchers said the approach could be particularly valuable for kids who are older. Most autism therapies are effective when started at very young ages, but the current study showed progress for boys up to age 12.


by on May. 21, 2013 at 2:27 AM
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Replies (1-10):
darbyakeep45
by Darby on May. 21, 2013 at 5:24 AM

Um not really buying this...that's just me though.  I wouldn't try this with my son.  I don't think it would make a difference.  

Charizma77
by Carissa on May. 21, 2013 at 8:23 AM

It's interesting.,,

Jadnorton
by Bronze Member on May. 21, 2013 at 8:31 AM
2 moms liked this
It is interesting and I would try it... It sounds like you are trying to slowly desensitized them to stimuli that you find around the world. It's probably like everything else. It will work for some but not all.
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newmommy430
by Silver Member on May. 21, 2013 at 8:34 AM
Interesting. I wonder if it makes a difference if they are sensory seekers or avoiders.
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Jadnorton
by Bronze Member on May. 21, 2013 at 8:38 AM
I would think it would help avoiders more.

Quoting newmommy430:

Interesting. I wonder if it makes a difference if they are sensory seekers or avoiders.
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newmommy430
by Silver Member on May. 21, 2013 at 8:44 AM
I would think so too. However, my son (being a seeker) does do a lot better in therapy when he does sensory activities before his therapy.

Quoting Jadnorton:

I would think it would help avoiders more.



Quoting newmommy430:

Interesting. I wonder if it makes a difference if they are sensory seekers or avoiders.
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mypbandj
by Jen on May. 21, 2013 at 8:52 AM
1 mom liked this
Hmmm
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lady_katie
by Silver Member on May. 21, 2013 at 9:04 AM

I agree, I think it's like your training the brain to process stimuli correctly, which is probably a lot of desensitizing. My son's OT primarily works with him on his sensory over sensitivities doing things somewhat like this article describes, and she tells me over and over again that it helps to "organize" the way that his brain processes stimuli in the immediate moment, and that over time he should start processing it better on his own. When she first said this to me, I thought that she was nuts, but she's been working with him for 7 months, and I have to admit that she knows what she's talking about. One time, my son even had a bout of spontaneous speech (he's mostly non-verbal) after she did sensory work with him, and she told me that it's not uncommon to see language develop in relation to organizing the sensory system through these methods. So, I do agree that there's something to this article, but I don't really believe that it's tackling the root cause of the sensitivities, it's more like a way to treat the symptom, which isn't a bad thing if it helps. 

Quoting Jadnorton:

It sounds like you are trying to slowly desensitized them to stimuli that you find around the world. It's probably like everything else. 


theresa1966
by on May. 21, 2013 at 9:04 AM

My son is 11yrs old going on 12yrs old. He has been listening to classical music since the age of 6yrs when he goes to bed. But its one song he likes so its repeated over and over at night. It relaxes him. I bought the CD and the ....Dollar Tree....Where everything is a Dollar...LOL.....I always look for Music CD for my son there....because once in a while he will change but goes back to the one song...right now he is in pre-teen.....and  he is getting a mouth on him.....LOL...Not....OMG....

JTMOM422
by Brenda on May. 21, 2013 at 9:23 AM

This sounds interesting but how are the above items used. It really gives in depth details. My ds is a sensory seeker so this might work but at the same time I would be cautious of it being too stimulating to his system. 

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