This article is written by two credentialed massage and craniosacral therapists who also happen to be mothers who had children diagnosed on the autism spectrum.
We were both able to find and provide true and lasting relief and healing for our children.
While we both went down all the mainstream paths with little to no results, we also ventured off the beaten path to find out a sacred truth: It is possible to heal our children.
Do you remember the term refrigerator mom? Once upon a time, before autism became a full spectrum of various degrees—and before the world knew what it was at all because the number of children with this diagnosis was so much less—came a man in 1960 named Leo Kanner, M.D.
Kanner coined the term refrigerator mom to describe mothers who simply were not capable of teaching their children proper emotions or compassion.
This marked the pinnacle view of autism as faulty parenting and hopelessness for improvement. The hands-on recommendation was Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA), developed by Ivar Lovaas, Ph.D., which is the oldest, most-researched therapy that works on behavior modification.
However, it does not provide recovery.
When it comes to autism spectrum, the range is so wide that it becomes difficult to navigate. If you’ve met one child with autism, then you know one child with autism. The way each child presents with their symptoms is nothing like the next child with the same or similar diagnosis.
Why then is it that for every different child out there, the treatments prescribed are always the same?
We have found in our experience that doctors and therapists who are in the mainstream are only taught to help the situation that is current with our children.
All of a sudden, your appointed ABA therapist or board certified behavioral analyst has more of a say so in your home than you do as the parent. Medication is usually the first recommendation.
Medicine is coupled with your standard protocol: ABA therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy or speech therapy, and these are your only offerings as resources to help your child function to their best of their current ability.
In the experience of these authors, very few caregivers offer hope that your child can thrive and heal in full from their original autism spectrum diagnosis.
Many doctors have tunnel vision and only see the child as they are that day and have no insight into where they could be if some integrative therapies were employed.
The first six months following my daughter’s ASD diagnosis, we tested everything possible for our child; blood, urine, saliva and stool.
We employed intensive daily ABA therapy (four hours each day, along with a very restricted diet). This also was coupled with speech therapy for her speech apraxia diagnosis that was already in progress.
In six months with all this prescribed therapy, her development improved a measly three months over six months’ time. Can you imagine the disappointment to realize with all these intense therapies and doing everything we were told to do our child barely improved at all?
Then we found Upledger CranioSacral Therapy.
Nothing Short of a Miracle
To my amazement, within just two weeks of beginning our first session, my child began speaking! She tested out of having speech apraxia within that first month of adding this in to our protocol.
To top this off, in her follow-up six-month evaluation at the same Developmental Pediatricians office, only adding in CranioSacral Therapy and keeping everything else, such as diet, the same, her development came up 14 months over the following six-month time period.
The developmental pediatrician actually said, “Well, this is nothing short of a miracle.”
A few months after this, we pulled our child out of the ABA school and allowed her to engage in a school with typically developing children. She thrived from those peer models. I am honored to announce that in less than a full year later at our next evaluation, our autism spectrum diagnosis was officially removed.
The same developmental pediatrician this time said, “This rarely to never happens. You need to take your miracle and know that everything you’re doing is working.”
With this information and results in hand, we now need to know how to begin to dialogue our experience and insight into this amazing life-changing therapy to medical professionals. We must start with the ones who would listen.
What drives the process and leads to recovery, even among doctors, is how much skin they have in the game: A doctor with a child on the autism spectrum is still a parent first. It is this parental connection and understanding of their own child that opens the door for therapies like CranioSacral Therapy.
The others are those doctors who have seen in their practice the unimaginable improvements that go beyond what they have ever been taught to believe about a child recovering from autism. The children they see for themselves who were previously thought to have no chance to ever recover who have vastly improved from their initial autism diagnosis.
Those children are the eye openers for the medical field.
In order to network with doctors effectively, I memorize a dialogue of a few explanations regarding CranioSacral Therapy. I first develop and memorize a news-byte version, accurate but very general.
If they are open to this, I go into what I call the cocktail version. It’s deeper than the news byte but not quite to the medical version.
You must watch their eyes and read their body language. If they continue to be open, then there is the deeper version I go into a with a bit more detailed medical backed with facts version when I have a doctor that’s engaged and open.
Education is the key, even for doctors. Offering a session allows them to experience CranioSacral Therapy themselves and gives me another opportunity to provide information and resources.
Hope is the Driving Force
I had the opportunity to educate Dr. Geoffrey Bouc, M.D., about craniosacral therapy. I asked him why he now recommends craniosacral therapy for an individual with autism, and he said,” It is an invaluable part of recovery and maximizing potential function.”
More education is needed for therapists, parents and health care providers into the amazing benefits that some of these integrative therapies can provide. A child on the spectrum has an incredibly sensitive body.
This includes but is not limited to toxins, environmental toxins, foods, biomedical enhancements and also this includes energy.
Their bodies are also sensitive to energy. Working with the subtle body can create opportunities for their bodies to heal in ways that most have never given any attention to.
Know this one truth: Our children can thrive in their lives and hope must the driving force in your search.
About the Authors
Tami A. Goldstein, W.L.M.T., C.S.T., is certified in Upledger CranioSacral Therapy and therapeutic massage. She is an advocate, speaker, and educator on autism and bodywork for autism. She’s the international award-winning author of the book Coming Through the Fog, an autism recovery and a contributing author in Cutting Edge Therapies for Autism (2014 Edition). She wrote “CranioSacral Therapy Applications for Autism for the November 2017 issue of MASSAGE Magazine on behalf of Upledger Institute International. Emily A. Francis is a certified pediatric therapist.
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