Chiropractic and autism

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Chiropractic and autism

Autism is a disorder in which children have an inability to develop relationships with people, delayed speech acquisition, non-communicative use of speech, repetitive mannerisms, and marked distress during changes of normal conditions that they are accustomed to. Generally, autistic people have a normal physical appearance.

For years, the etiology of autism was thought to be related only to physiological factors. Recently it has become apparent that many of these children have neurological deficits.

Although much is yet to be understood about autism, the possible link to neurological deficits indicates that chiropractic may hold an answer.

Right now, though, autistic children tend to be at the mercy of medical research, most of which is predicated on the theory that autism is a single condition such as Down's Syndrome or phenylketonuria.

However, it has already been shown that autism can arise on the basis of conditions as pathologically diverse as congenital rubella, congenital syphilis, and tuberous sclerosis. The findings demonstrate that the behavioral syndrome autism can develop in children with heterogenous disease states.

It is not known whether autism is a single disease entity or a behavioral syndrome with several causes. It remains uncertain whether autism should be sub-classified, and, if it should, how it should be divided. Knowledge is lacking on whether autism in children or normal intelligence is the same thing in those children who have mental retardation.

Disagreement continues on how best to classify children who show some, but not all, features of autism. It is unclear which symptoms are primary and which are secondary. Finally, the cause or causes of autism and the psychological mechanisms which underline its development have not been established.

However, there are a number of case studies showing that autistic children may respond to chiropractic adjustments.

Case history

One of our more dramatic cases of autism was a seven-year-old boy with an evaluated physical age of one and a half years old and mental age of a one year old.

The child was classed as "normal" until the age of three years, when he received a DPT vaccination shot and he immediately lost his three-year-old capacity.

The child regressed, and at age five, all vocabulary ceased. He suffered rapid physical decline and, at age seven, was brought in for chiropractic care.

His bowels and kidney function were completely erratic and uncontrollable. After two months of care, the child's vocabulary returned. The teacher at his special education school asked the child's mother if he had been placed on stronger medication, as he was behaving better.

The mother told the teach that she was taking her son to the chiropractor. Before seeing a doctor of chiropractic, the mother had been told her son would never get any better and would probably get worse.

After one year of chiropractic care, the child no longer had frequent bowel accidents, he could now communicate his wishes and most of the autistic type behavior had diminished. The child is still under care and the changes are extremely slow. However, there is a positive change. All of the child's teachers and his parents are astounded at the results obtained when they had originally been told nothing more could be done.

When neurological deficits are present, we can rightfully assume that the nervous system is not functioning properly. Subluxations present during childhood created this disease process and chiropractic can be the solution.

Autism is just one of the many clinical conditions that the International Pediatric Association is researching at its Atlanta facility. At the annual convention, May 5 - 7 in Atlanta, participants will hear about other similar cases by many of the speakers on the program.

The Chiropractic Journal.

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By Larry Webster

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