Q: My daughter has had symptoms of autism since her 15 month old vaccines. She does not talk well and has many behavioral difficulties. Is there any treatment techniques in osteopathy that are helpful with this diagnosis?
A: I have had several children come to me with developmental delay or autism that had minimal speech and multiple behavioral disorders. True osteopathy performed as it was created, utilized nature and animals in the treatment process. Many prescriptions included activities out in nature or interaction with animals. I use myofascial release and craniosacral therapy to balance the structure and then ask nature to help with the rest.
I have noticed that the children with speech problems particularly enjoy activities with the umbrella cockatoos, they dance and sing with them and then mimic the words that the birds say. I also use the horse as a tool in hippotherapy sessions to stimulate the central nervous system, increase the strength of the core musculature supporting the spine, and mobilize the pelvis and spine. It seems the combination quickly brings results where vocabulary steadily improves and the children end up telling their friends in school about the horses and the birds. It is very amazing to see the interaction that goes on between the child and the particular animal they tend to choose as their favorite. They always seem to relate to one horse and or bird in particular. It is very individual bonding not one animal is chosen more often than the other just different ones for different personalities. It seems important for these children to integrate the changes that can be made through manual techniques into their function and physicality through motion and non conditional interaction. The awe for the speaking exchange with the birds sparks intrigue with language followed by imitation and then sharing. The mobility and strength improvements created by the horse allows for support of the entire system. The head is aligned better allowing freedom of the jaw. The musculature of the spine is able to offer support so that the child has more control over the entire muscular system. The pelvis is more mobile and this freedom allows the spine to pump fresh cerebral spinal fluid around the brain which translates into clarity of thought and better coordination of the muscles of speech and over the muscles controlling the limbs. The children thrive with the exposure and collaboration to and with the animals and nature.