There is no specific orthodox medical treatment for autism. Phenothiazines (such as chlorpromazine), used to dampen severely self destructive behaviour, do not abort the autism. Instead they frequently produce toxic effects in the central nervous sy
There is growing public fear that autism results from vaccine damage and isolated cases seem to support this.2 Whether or not this is true, we do know that males with the familial "fragile X' syndrome, now shortened into the acronym Afrax (autism fragile X syndrome), are frequently autistic.3 Folic acid supplementation helps many, though not all.4
My own experience, through results achieved over several years with natural medicine treatments used on children of the Johannesburg School for Autistic Children, has convinced me that, like schizophrenia, autism is strongly linked to food sensitivities. In one study, parents of autistic children taken off sugar (430 cases), cow's milk (417 cases) and wheat (222 cases) rated the elimination 52 per cent, 46 per cent and 44 per cent effective, respectively.5
In homeopathy, the three time tested medications for autism are Chamomilla 6CH (keeps banging head on wall, upset by noise, restless, irritable); Hyoscyamus niger 6CH (suspicious of unfamiliar things, playing with genitals, mutterings); and Silicea 6CH (withdrawn, smelly, moist feel, nocturnal head sweats, sits on floor repeating the same action over and over).6 The British Homeopathic Research Group has published information on the successful pilot study of a clinical trial of homeopathy and autism.7 The remedy used in this case was Stramonium (marked and persistent disorder of the mental faculties without any pain).
With ear acupuncture, weekly soft laser stimulation of pathological points on the outer ear has been found to be beneficial.8
Pyridoxine (vitamin B6) taken in combination with magnesium has an impressive experimental track record.9 Successes have also been reported by others in the use of vitamins B1, B2, B5, B15, C and E, as well as glutamic acid10, but none of these has been clearly demonstrated to be helpful.11
Most studies measure improvements in terms of reduction of tantrums, increased alertness, improved speech, diminution of gaze aversion, better sleep patterns, greater sociability and acquiring self help skills such as dressing, toiletting, etc.
GAIA Multimedia, which produced the 1994 IBIS Chinese Herbs Programme, cite evidence for the use of two patented combinations of oriental herbs for autism in children: Liu Wei Di Huang Wan and Jia Wei Liu Wei Di Huang Wan.
Research has shown that by far the most effective psychotherapeutic approach is through behavioural treatment.12 Dr. Bernard Rimland, who was technical adviser on the movie Rain Man and is director of the USA's Autism Research Institute, maintains that recovery from childhood autism is possible, and he provides a list of books offering guidance for carers and parents.13
Finally, there is Auditory Integration Training (available from a speech/language pathologist at the Hale Clinic, 7 Park Crescent, London W1). The autistic child usually has hypersensitive hearing and protectively tends to block out sound. In hourly sessions over ten consecutive days, some slightly strange music is played to such a child over earphones. The sound frequencies are isolated and electronically filtered with random emphasis by means of volume modulation. The effect is to make the brain pay attention, in the hope that sounds do not get blocked out any more. Instead the child receives them, which later leads to understanding communication and auditory information.14 Harald Gaier
Harald Gaier is a registered naturopath, homeopath and osteopath.
1 LH Criep, Clinical Immunology and Allergy (2nd Ed), London & New York: Grune & Stratton, 1969, 180-1.
2 Sunday Telegraph (London) 24 Nov, 1996: 1-5.
3 Biol Psychiatry, 1990; 27(2): 223-40.
4 Annales Genetiques, 1984; 27(4): 230-2; see also Am J Med Genet, 1986; 23: 241-62 and Dev Med Child Neurol, 1986; 28(5): 624-7. (Note: there are an equal number of negative studies.)
5 B. Rimland, Comparative Effects of Treatment on Child Behaviour, (Publications 34B revised), San Diego, CA: Institute for Child Behaviour Research, 1988.
6 A Lockie, The Family Guide to Homeopathy, London: Elm Tree Books, 1989, 314.
7 Communication Br Hom Res Grp, 1996, 24: 14-7.
8 PFM Nogier, De l'Auriculotherapie a l'Auriculomedecine, Saint-Ruffine: Maiso neuve, 1981: 229-30.
9 B Rimland, Megavitamin B6 and Magnesium in the Treatment of Autistic Children and Adults, in E Schopler & GB Mesibov (eds), Neurobiological Issues in Autism, New York: Plenum, 1987: 390-405; also Ten positive studies are cited in Melvyn R Werbach, Nutritional Influences on Mental Illness, Tarzana, CA: Third Line Press, 1993: 77-9.
10 LJ Dunne, & JD Kirschmann, Nutrition Almanac (3rd ed), New York: McGraw-Hill Publishing Co, 1990: 139-40.
11 M Campbell, Pharmacotherapy in Autism: An Overview, in C Gillberg (ed), Diagnosis and Treatment of Autism, New York: Plenum, 1989: 203-17.
12 OI Lovas & T Smith, Intensive Behavioural Treatment for Young Autistic Children in BB Lahey & AE Kazdin (eds), Advances in Clinical Child Psychology, New York: Plenum, 1988: 285-324.
13 Autism Res Rev Intl, 1994: 8(2): 3.
14 T Hale, The Hale Clinic Guide to Good Health, London: Kyle Cathie Ltd, 1996: 14, 243.