Autism Trauma Sensory Processing Anxiety Neurodivergent Nervous System learning Disability

Welcome To Our
Autism Plus Pages

๑۞๑,¸¸,ø¤º°`°๑۩ ¸„.-•~¹°”ˆ˜¨ 𝗜𝗻𝗰𝗿𝗲𝗱𝗶𝗯𝗹𝗲𝗛𝗼𝗿𝗶𝘇𝗼𝗻𝘀。𝗼𝗿𝗴 ¨˜ˆ”°¹~•-.„¸ ๑۩ ,¸¸,ø¤º°`°๑۞๑

In a flower garden the water and nutrients in the soil combine to allow the seeds to germinate, then the sun comes in so the stems will be sturdy enough to hold our beautiful blooms.

Just like in Autism, the biomedical approach will allow the gut and nervous system to heal (or become fertile for germination)... only then can a integrative treatment plan can be strengthened
and joy and success can be enjoyed in daily life...
and your children can flourish...(or bloom). 

๑۞๑,¸¸,ø¤º°`°๑۩ ¸„.-•~¹°”ˆ˜¨ 𝗜𝗻𝗰𝗿𝗲𝗱𝗶𝗯𝗹𝗲𝗛𝗼𝗿𝗶𝘇𝗼𝗻𝘀。𝗼𝗿𝗴 ¨˜ˆ”°¹~•-.„¸ ๑۩ ,¸¸,ø¤º°`°๑۞๑

What is Autism?

The first thing you need to understand is that most of you think you know about autism is probably wrong. If I was to set down to a conference table with 10-15 random medical professionals,  and ask them to write down what they think autism looks like in a child and what resources and therapies are available for treating Autism in todays world that they would have very little to write.
Yet one out of forty of their clients have Autism of one type or another.

Misconceptions about autism are prevelent in todays' America and around the globe in society and in the medical profession. So it is crutial that both the medical professions and our citizens become aware of the following research and information on Autism.
It is a growing field and the more that we learn the more we realise that this is more prevelant now, than ever before.  

Now, the second thing you should know is that ADHD, autism, sensory processing disorder (SPD), and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), and several neurological disorders, very often overlap. So when doctors see something that they are familiar with, that is what they know and are trained in treating. So, rather than treating the whole body and mind as one unit. They splinter a few skills that never mesh together because they are not seeing the root cause.

(like in the BIOMEDICAL INTEGRATIVE MODEL and the NeurodiversiTy approach below.) 
Links go to the actual Medical ReseaRch

For example, hyperlexia can have ten other diagnosises depending on what type of professional that you met with. Here are 10+ common diagnoses a hyperlexic child might also have (besides autism).  ADHD is the same way. 

Autism is like a flower garden:
they both have many varieties and combinations.
When we can treat them at the roots, they can flourish.

Medical doctors simply haven't had the experiences, and the training to diagnose it, no less treat it. Everyone seems to have an image of what it looks like in a nieghbor, a family member, or even a friend or their children. Doctors try to make sense of alot of sensory, psychological, digestive and physical anomalies that seem linked to other illnesses. So they miss the diagnosis of autism and assgn a few of the symptoms to something they are familiar with. So this is really a huge problem that medical professionals have yet to take on. Left untreated as a whole diagnosis, is detrimental to ones development and can lead to:

  • Problems with social interactions, communication and behavior

  • Problems in school and with successful learning

  • Employment problems

  • Inability to live independently

  • Social isolation

  • Stress within the family

  • Victimization and being bullied

Autism is a condition related to brain development that impacts how a person perceives and socializes with others, causing problems in social interaction, behavior and communication.

The disorder also includes limited and repetitive patterns of behavior. The term "spectrum" in autism spectrum disorder refers to the wide range of symptoms and severity. 

Autism spectrum disorder includes conditions that were previously considered separate — autism, Asperger's syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder and an unspecified form of pervasive developmental disorder. Some people still use the term "Asperger's syndrome," which is generally thought to be at the mild end of autism spectrum disorder.

  While there is no cure for autism spectrum disorder, intensive, early treatment can make a big difference in the lives of many children.
For More information See The Mayo Clinic's Autism Pages

Professionals CLICK HERE for Rossignol Medical Center

Here are the research/stats...

- Autism and SPD: there is up to an 88% overlap (meaning, if you are autistic, you are 88% likely to also have SPD... the numbers are different in the other direction. I'll link to an article on this below.)

- Autism and ADHD: there is up to a 60% overlap (I do believe this goes in both directions)

- Autism and anxiety (including GAD): there is up to an 80% overlap

- ADHD and SPD: there is up to a 60% overlap

- ADHD and GAD: there is a 23% overlap

- GAD and SPD: I could not find stats on this overlap, but I did find a peer reviewed article that states the following... "Results suggested that childhood SPD symptoms were significantly associated with a higher likelihood of a lifetime anxiety disorder diagnosis."

I have several resources that I used to put this together. I'll link to them in comments below.

***An important disclaimer about this graphic***

- This graphic is not exhaustive. My goal was to call out some of the most common overlapping symptoms/responses.This graphic is meant as a jumping off point, not a destination. If any of this resonates with you, please look into the relevant conditions to learn more. 🙏🏻

More From Sensory Stories By Nicole

You can not have a bouquet of flowers,
without putting all the pieces together.
Just like in treating autism,
you need an medically intregated
and neurodiverse approach .

¤¸¸.•´¯`•¸¸.•..>> 𝗜𝗻𝗰𝗿𝗲𝗱𝗶𝗯𝗹𝗲𝗛𝗼𝗿𝗶𝘇𝗼𝗻𝘀。𝗼𝗿𝗴 <<..•.¸¸•´¯`•.¸¸¤

New Chatter About Autism


Wondering what autistic masking is and  what it looks like?

At 21 years old, I came to the realization that I’m autistic. After hearing the term ‘autistic masking’, I learned that I’d been subconsciously doing it my entire life. For the first time, I saw how the mask I never knew I was wearing had helped me survive in a world where I’d always felt so different, but never knew why.


So, what is autistic masking? Autistic masking is defined as either consciously or subconsciously hiding autistic traits to blend in and appear neurotypical. Masking is also used to gain friendships, relationships, careers, and social status.

Some autistic children are taught to mask by their parents, teachers, and therapists. For those like me who didn’t know they were autistic until adulthood, masking was subconsciously learned by observing other people’s body language and conversation patterns.

Autistics are really good at recognizing patterns.. and deep down, even as undiagnosed autistic children, we know we’re different. Desperate to fit in however we can, we learn to watch others and copy what they do.

Their handshakes, facial expressions, the inflection they use in their voices.. and so on and so forth. It often takes time for us to perfect these behaviors, but we do, and we blend right in.


Autistic people aren’t the only ones who mask. To a certain degree, everybody masks to survive. It’s just that autistics rely more heavily on their masks to survive, and they mask in ways that are specific to Autism. Those with neurotypes like ADHD, OCD, and Bipolar mask their differences too, but in different ways.



As a kid, this was so me. I only felt safe to be myself when I was at home with my family. No matter what, I knew that they’d always love me.

I didn’t have this same feeling at school, church, or pretty much anywhere I went outside of my house. I instantly felt anxious around anyone I didn’t know well. I was especially timid and withdrawn in groups of more than 2 or 3 people.

Yeah, school wasn’t a great time for me. I learned to manage the constant state of anxiety I experienced by being quiet, following the rules, and blending in.

I barely spoke unless it was necessary. My teachers were concerned and mentioned this to my parents, who couldn’t understand it. I was constantly talking to them at home! My teachers still weren’t convinced, and I was moved from kindergarten and put back in preschool that year.

Looking back, I now understand this as selective autism. The stress and anxiety of being at school was just too much for my anxious little self to handle. As a result, talking felt terrifying! So, I saved it all for when I got home. I was so careful to do everything as perfectly as I could at school, because I was driven by the anxiety to not stand out at all costs.


The perfectly behaved, quiet, patient girl at school often became the irritable, depressed, lethargic girl at home. Especially as I started puberty at the early age of 9 (which did not help by the way). I took the anxiety I didn’t realize I was experiencing out on my family all of the time.

The anxiety of wearing the mask was taking a toll on me, and I didn’t even know I was wearing it. The older I got, the more I learned to be the peppy, happy girl who was always okay. While I could wear that mask around other people, I couldn’t maintain it at home.

It was just too damn exhausting. From about 8 to 12, I spent a lot of time alone feeling lethargic and depressed. I slept constantly. I was becoming more aware of my differences, but I couldn’t make sense of them… or if there was even any justification for why I felt the way I did in the first place.


If you don’t know, stimming is a form of self-regulation for autistics. Stimming is any form of repetitive movement that’s used to soothe or calm. Everybody stims, but autistic people just stim a lot more! If you’re looking for calming stim ideas, check out my post, 11 Calming Stims for Autistic Adults.

When neurotypicals think of the concept of stimming, many think of the stereotypical hand flapping stim that represents many autistics, but definitely not all. We all stim differently. Some stims are socially acceptable, and some aren’t.

It’s each person’s personal choice to choose their stims and whether or not they do them in public. Personally, I stim very discreetly when I’m around other people. For example, doing things like rubbing my nails against my fingers and rubbing my fingers together helps me stay more present, focused, and grounded.


I’ve faked being okay sooo many times. Too many to count. As a kid, I didn’t understand how florescent lights affected me, or why it was so easy for me to zone out in groups of people. I didn’t know how to manage my energy, and I’d be on the verge of a shut down.. but somehow, I’d hold it all in until I could find a quiet space alone.

As autistics, many of us are able to hold up our masks so fucking well. So well that many people often doubt us when we tell them we’re autistic.

“But do you don’t look autistic! You look so normal!” they say. Many have been told similarly invalidating statements by doctors who insist they’re ‘fine’ and not autistic, because they’re married, hold a job, or have kids.


We’ve learned to fake being okay so well. Because for a while, it was the only way we knew how to survive. We wanted to be able to be okay with all the things that neurotypicals are usually okay with.. like attending parties with ease, making eye contact, driving, meeting new people, etc.

Whatever we felt like we had to be to fit in, we did our very best to become it. Even when it didn’t feel right for us, we did it anyway. Because more than anything, we just wanted acceptance. Yet, we still struggled to meet neurotypical expectations, we very often fell short of them.

Looking back, I now realize that my motivation behind my masking was driven by my desire to ‘feel okay’ and accepted. Not only by other people, but to myself, too. I needed to convince myself that I was okay, ‘normal’, and not broken. When I cried, this was always the deepest fear that came back to me, and I never knew why.


Because I learned social rules, cues, and expectations by observing them in other people, it felt more and more natural for me to blindly trust all the things that didn’t make sense to me. Subconsciously, I believed that other people always knew better than I did.

I looked to them, and I learned how to replicate social greetings, facial expressions, a different tone of voice.. The older I got, the more I perfected these behaviors until eventually, they just became a part of who I am.

I used to pretend to like hugs and actually feel things when people hug me. But I didn’t like them, and I felt bad for not liking them – because I was supposed to like them, right?


Autistic masking is a different experience for each autistic person. But, I think those are a lot of the ways they’re most similar. Sometimes autistic masking is learned, and sometimes it’s taught. While it can be used as a tool to protect autistics against abuse and bullying, wearing the mask can also create a lot of depression, stress, anxiety, and burnout.

To an allistic, masking looks effortless. But to autistics, it’s anything but effortless. It takes so much effort, and often, no one but autistic people and those closest to them are aware of just how exhausting it truly is.

¤¸¸.•´¯`•¸¸.•..>> 𝗜𝗻𝗰𝗿𝗲𝗱𝗶𝗯𝗹𝗲𝗛𝗼𝗿𝗶𝘇𝗼𝗻𝘀。𝗼𝗿𝗴 <<..•.¸¸•´¯`•.¸¸¤

How are Autism and Trauma Related?

I had a friend and business partner that was a child psyschologist. and behavior analysist. We were pretty close for the last 20 years of her life. Her motto that she used repeatedly was "Do it, just because you can". Our teachers and providers celebrated our students mastery, with that phrase daily. It's like a bell that goes off in mine and my daughters minds everytime we see a child succeed in something new.  

Anyway, despite founding and directing a private school together, I never took her calling me a Aut-tie seriously. I had no genetics, no obvious studder or stimming issues so I thought she was just teasing. But as I was researching for this blog, I focused in on alot of things that made me realize that I really am a Aut-tie.

Hiding any kind of abuse in the family is going to cause harm psychologically when you have to pretend nothing bad is happenning.  The most difficult thing for me was. dinner time and I had to share a table with him just a few hours afterwards. I had to act normal so I learned to "mask". I also had very loving men in my life, so he was the only one that repulsed me. I didn't generalise that to all men. That saved me alot of psycho-drama.

I totally get that holding all that in, caused physical and neuralogical damages that affects the way you express and process launguage, trust, the way that your body and sensory systems functions etc. I totally see that correlation between Autism and trauma and PTSD.  

I now totally see why she called me Aut-tie. I never saw any research on trauma causing Autism until this year. So call me intrigued.

¤¸¸.•´¯`•¸¸.•..>> 𝗜𝗻𝗰𝗿𝗲𝗱𝗶𝗯𝗹𝗲𝗛𝗼𝗿𝗶𝘇𝗼𝗻𝘀。𝗼𝗿𝗴 <<..•.¸¸•´¯`•.¸¸¤

Autism and trauma co-occur at really high rates. Despite how commonly trauma and autism co-occur, there is limited research on this, and it is rarely talked about in clinical training.

Autistics are more at risk of PTSD due to several factors:

  • We have more vulnerable neurobiology (more reactive nervous systems)

  • Increased risk of victimization

  • Sensitive sensory profiles that encode memory with more intensity

  • The stress of navigating an allistic world.

The Neurodivergent Nervous System (Personal Use)

The Neurodivergent Nervous System (Personal Use)  $16.99

Women and gender queer people are particularly vulnerable to PTSD (Haruvi-Lamdan, 2020). Following is a summary of the research cited in the above image:

  • Rumball et al. (2020) study found that approximately 60% of autistics reported probably PTSD in their lifetime (compare this to 4.5% of the general population).

  • Haruvi-Lamdan et al., 2020 study found that 32% of their Autistic participants had probable PTSD compared to 4% of the non-autistic population.

  • Fenning et al, 2019  research demonstrated that autistic children had more reactive nervous systems. This aligns with similar research that has identified the autistic nervous system to be less flexible (Thapa and Alvares, 2019). Less flexible nervous systems have a more difficult time coping with acute stressors and may contribute to increased hyperactivation of the nervous system following trauma.

  • Neurodivergent (ADHD/Autism) neurobiology is more vulnerable and reactive: (Beauchaine et al., 2013)

  • We are more vulnerable to social victimization and marginalization. In the Haruvi-Lamdan et al., 2020 females with autism (but not males) reported more negative life events, particularly social events, than typical adults.

  •  Brown-Lavoie et al., 2014 found that 70% of Autistic adults reported experiencing some form of sexual victimization after the age of 14 (compared to 45% of the control group).

Additional Considerations

  • High-maskers are more likely to be diagnosed with PTSD while their Neurotype goes missed. This means they are less likely to receive Autistic adapted treatments for their PTSD.

  • Undiagnosed Autistics are less likely to receive education about our increased risk (we have increased risk of both victimization and of developing PTSD following the stressful event). It is for this reason that I always say accurate and timely diagnosis of autism is trauma prevention.

When a person’s Autistic identity is combined with other marginalized identities, the risks, stress, and strain of the above factors increase.

¤¸¸.•´¯`•¸¸.•..>> 𝗜𝗻𝗰𝗿𝗲𝗱𝗶𝗯𝗹𝗲𝗛𝗼𝗿𝗶𝘇𝗼𝗻𝘀。𝗼𝗿𝗴 <<..•.¸¸•´¯`•.¸¸¤

Autistic Adapted Trauma Treatment

While exposure therapy is typically seen as the “gold standard” for PTSD treatment, such treatment may not always be appropriate for the Autistic individual. Research has shown it does not work as well for Autistics. When exposure therapy is used, it is important it is adapted & be client-led.

Sensory experiences outside of our control are completely dysregulating; we must control the sensory experience. Trauma treatment must attend to a person’s sensory experience and engage more grounding, bodywork, encouraging natural forms of movement, etc. Good trauma treatments for Autistics may include Somatic Therapies, EMDR, Internal Family System's Theory.

Printed Resources

My Favorite Autism Reads: Divergent Minds, and Aspergirls (#affiliatelinks)

Good resources for Trauma: The Body Keeps the Score

Buy on Amazon

Buy on Amazon

Aspergirls: Empowering Females with Asperger SyndromeBy Simone, RudyBuy on Amazon

Difference Between Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome

July 1, 2016 by Embogama

Main Difference – Autism vs Asperger’s Syndrome

Autism and Asperger’s syndrome are two psychiatric conditions that share several common features. Although it is quite challenging to differentiate one from the other, it is important to know the borderline of demarcation of Autism and Asperger’s syndrome, mainly for the purpose of treatment. The main difference between Autism and Asperger’s syndrome has been identified to be the severity of signs and symptoms and delay in language. Children with Asperger’s syndrome have very mild symptoms and signs compared to Autistic children with a comparatively normal language, intelligence and cognitive skills.

Difference Between Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome - infographic

What is Autism

Autism is a lifelong, neurodevelopmental disorder which affects an individual’s perception of the things happening around them along with poor social interaction with others. It also refers to a set of complex conditions in the brain development characterized by difficulties and abnormalities in social interaction, verbal and non-verbal communication, and repetitive behavioral patterns, which may vary in the severity.

Even though the fundamental pathological process of Autism initiates during the first stages of brain development, the most significant signs and symptoms of Autism will appear around the age of 2-3 years. These symptoms may get worse gradually over time, and some children may even reach developmental milestones at a normal speed before the regression begins.

The exact etiology for Autism has not been identified yet, but there is a clear genetic predisposition associated with environmental factors.

As far as the main symptoms and signs of an autistic child are concerned, there is a triad of features which include impaired social interactions, impaired verbal and non-verbal communication and restricted and repetitive behavior. These children will show unusual ways of responding to others or external stimuli (will not make eye contact), late onset of babbling and abnormal gestures.

Other features may include stereotype (repetitive movements of various actions like body rocking, flapping), compulsive behavior, sameness (resistance to change), ritualistic behavior (repetitive patterns of daily activities, not wanting to get deviated from the rituals), restricted behavior (less focus or attention on something), self-injury (finger biting, head banging) and unusual motor signs such as toe walking and poor muscle tone.

Difference Between Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome

What is Asperger’s Syndrome

It is a developmental disorder and a form of mild autism spectrum disorder which is characterized by unusual social interactions, poor non-verbal communication, restricted or repetitive behavioral patterns, physical clumsiness and abnormal usage of language. In contrast to other autism spectral disorders, children with Asperger’s syndrome are comparatively normal in the aspects of language and intelligence. These children will have a large vocabulary and will engage in a lot of conversations by handling words in different ways. However, some styles of speech may involve unusual high pitch, low pitch, or lack of inflection. They will also show an inability to express themselves properly, in situations involving stress or panic. They may not understand various forms of language such as humor, irony or sarcasm even though their cognitive ability is untouched.

Although the exact etiology for Asperger’s has not been identified yet, genetics and environmental factors are known to be playing an important role in the pathogenesis of this condition.

Moreover, the main modalities of intervention for Asperger’s include social skill training, cognitive behavioral therapy, physical and speech therapy, parental training programs, mood stabilizers, and anxiolytics.

Main Difference - Autism vs Asperger’s Syndrome

Difference Between Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome


Autism: Autism is a mental condition, present from early childhood, characterized by great difficulty in communicating and forming relationships with other people and in using language and abstract concepts.

Asperger’s Syndrome: Asperger’s Syndrome is a developmental disorder related to autism and characterized by awkwardness in social interaction, pedantry in speech, and preoccupation with very narrow interests.

Severity of Signs and Symptoms 

Autism: Autistic children have severe symptoms and signs compared to children with Asperger’s syndrome.

Asperger’s Syndrome: Children with Asperger’s syndrome have very mild symptoms and signs compared to Autistic children. In fact, an Asperger’s child will often look just like a normal child with a quite different behavior.

 Social Interactions

Autism: Children with Autism usually prefer to stay isolated from the society since they are aloof and uninterested in things happening around

Asperger’s Syndrome: Children with Asperger’s highly prefer to move along with the society and interact although they don’t really know how to. Therefore they would tend to face awkward situations usually as a result of lack of knowledge in social norms and may show a lack of empathy towards others.

Language Skills

Autism: Children with autism tend to have a language delay or start talking later in life.

Asperger’s Syndrome: Children with Asperger’s Syndrome display good language skills although they might use the language in different ways.

Autism and Anxiety

Autism and Anxiety Disorder

The Double Diagnosis

By Rachel Andorsen

Autism and Anxiety Disorder - The Double Diagnosis

Over the years, lack of eye contact from a person diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has been mistaken as an indication of lack of empathy or connection with others. This theory began in the 1980s when psychologists Simon Baron-Cohen and Uta Frith indicated that people diagnosed with autism were not capable of using the “theory of mind.” People with autism, they believed, were not able to imagine the thoughts and feelings of other people. This condition was coined as “mindblindness.” And it’s a concept many people have been trying to discredit for years.

This concept was recently debunked through a study published in Scientific Reports which revealed that people diagnosed with autism often refrain from eye contact because it causes anxiety; it does not indicate a lack of empathy. This suggests, then, that specialists may have been looking at therapeutic intervention the wrong way.

Before explaining the correlation between autism and anxiety, it’s important to define the kind of anxiety that people with ASD often experience. At one point, everyone goes through some kind of stress, but the anxiety that people with autism have is often characterized by intense worrying, panic attacks, and phobias that can be debilitating. And for those people with ASD who are unable to communicate well, it becomes a greater challenge to diagnose an anxiety disorder.

Here is some information to consider when identifying anxiety disorder among children and adults with autism:

What is Anxiety?

Anxiety is that recurring or constant feeling of dread and fear over a perceived threat that can be brought about by certain situations or factors, such as speaking in public, a loud noise, or it could the body’s fight or flight response. It’s quite unfortunate that most people try to keep their anxieties to themselves.

Anxiety and Its Cycle

Anxiety comes in what is called a vicious cycle. It starts slow, but once it occurs, most sufferers begin to worry about the anxiety itself. People who experience social anxiety or panic attacks often worry about the next panic attack. They also worry about who might see them when the attack happens or if ever there will be help when it’s needed. This worrying over the next attack can send the person on a vicious cycle, wherein the anxiety becomes the cause of fear and it replaces or adds to the original fear.

Special Offer

Don't miss out on the Autism Parenting Summit.

Click here to sign up now!

The Importance of Knowing the Correlation between Anxiety Disorder and ASD

Approximately 40 percent of people with autism spectrum disorder are diagnosed with anxiety disorder. The kind of anxiety disorders they usually experience are separation anxiety, social anxiety, panic disorder, as well as phobia-related anxiety such as fear of thunderstorms, fear of choking, etc. It is beneficial for people with ASD that the link between anxiety and autism has been made clear so the appropriate treatment can be determined.

Physical Symptoms of Anxiety

It’s crucial to know the physical anxiety symptoms for it to be treated appropriately and at the right time. Some of these symptoms include: sweaty palms, avoiding or being averse to the flight or fight response, pounding heart, sweating in general, etc. Stimming or self-stimulation may also indicate anxiety, such as pulling at clothes or tearing up pieces of paper, or any behavior of the same type.

The Best Way to Deal with Anxiety Disorder

For a person who has anxiety disorder, and even for his/her loved ones, it is important to cultivate acceptance. This is the only way to avoid the previously mentioned vicious cycle. It’s also helpful to talk about it in a different manner or approach, such as the use of a card system which allows the child to express his feeling of anxiety by choosing the card that says “I’m afraid.”

Light humor can also help some people who undergo an anxiety attack by calming the senses.

In addition, there are calming techniques that can be done by anyone who experiences an anxiety attack symptoms. One of these is steady and deep breathing. Focusing on your breathing will help you shift your focus from the anxiety. It’s also important to find a safe place to go to once the anxiety sets in.

Positive reinforcement can help in setting up some steps to reduce the likelihood of an anxiety attack. Young children will be able to understand and appreciate the little steps towards resolving anxiety disorder when they are given rewards for their step-by-step accomplishments.

In the end, whether or not a person has been diagnosed with autism or anxiety disorder, or both, it is first and foremost necessary to accept, recognize, and deal with the challenges appropriately. You can start by following the aforementioned tips.

How to Help an Anxious Child in
6 Practical yet Powerful Steps

Learn how to help an anxious kid in 6 simple steps. As a parent, you can’t take social anxiety, panic attacks, and even anxious feelings lightly. Find out how you can support young children and older children who are struggling with anxiety.

If you wait for your kid to come out and tell you, “I have anxiety”, you can keep waiting. Anxiety is tricky, and it can wear many disguises in children.

As much as anxiety feels like a nuisance in life, it serves an important purpose. This is even the case in children.

Think back to the caveman days. If little Cave-girl Sally and little Cave-boy Fred weren’t worried about the growls coming from the nearby bush, then they may have ended up as a sabertooth tiger’s snack.

Today, we don’t have to worry about being chased by sabertooth tigers; however, there are other stressors that our children must face. If your child feels isolated , these feelings may grow out of control.

Sometimes for parents, the challenge comes with identifying when your child’s anxiety is functioning at a normal level, and when it is consuming parts of their lives.

helping kids with anxiety

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), up to 30% of youths will develop anxiety disorders and specific phobias.

As parents, it is important that we learn how to identify and support anxious children, and know when to seek professional help.

RelatedHow to Hard Wire Your Kid for Happiness

Is my Child Anxious?

My daughter is the poster-child for kids with anxiety. Even in the absence of any visible issues or problems, my child’s fears are bothering her.

We are a very close-knit family. There are positive vibes running through our home at all times; however, like many mothers, I felt like I must have caused this behavior.

Related: Fighting off Mom Guilt

The truth is, studies show that anxiety is often linked to genetics. Children can develop anxiety even if they are raised by the most loving of parents in the most stable of homes. It’s common that another family member also struggles with depression, anxiety, or a social phobia.

My 8 year old daughter’s internal alarm system went off constantly. She approached every situation with a “but what if…” attitude.

Many young kids have a fear of the dark or loud noises, but your child’s worries shouldn’t interfere with their ability to enjoy their life.

I labeled my daughter as a “defiant” or “strong-willed” kid; however, her anxiety was disguised by these 5 other symptoms:

  1. When she seemed worried, she would tell me that her stomach hurt.

  2. I brushed aside her irrational fears because they did not make sense to me. This would include worries such as, “what if a bear comes in our house when we are sleeping.”

  3. Even though she enjoyed activities, like gymnastics, she refused to attend her lesson. I thought she was being stubborn.

  4. She would not go to bed at night unless I laid with her until she fell asleep. I thought I spoiled her.

  5. Even at age 6 and a half, she would have a meltdown over very simple things that I thought she should have grown out of, such as how much milk was in her cereal bowl.

After talking to her pediatrician, I realized that the battles were not the common battles that I heard other mother’s complain about regarding a simply difficult child.

RelatedHow to Help a Child with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Anxiety Symptoms in Kids

Often adults can easily verbalize their own anxiety; however, in children, anxiety ques aren’t always so apparent. According to the AAP, some common signs of anxiety in children can include:

  • Unreasonable fears about normal daily routines

  • Hard time sleeping

  • Refusing to go to school or other activities, fear of social situations

  • Increased tantrums and meltdowns

In real life, these seemingly obvious symptoms may be a little harder to detect. Consider asking yourself these questions:

  • Do I spend a large portion of my day comforting my child’s fears?

  • Does my child frequently have stomach aches or headaches?

  • Are my child’s outbursts impacting our entire family?

My daughter would try to get out of going to school, and she would complain about stomach aches when things made her nervous. Also, I would feel like I had no energy to dedicate to my two sons after facing one of her drawn-out meltdowns.

You may also find helpfulAnger Management Coping Skills for Kids

childhood anxiety

It hurt watching my daughter struggle with these issues. I tried to provide her with a happy and comfortable life, and watching her battle these issues was painful for me, as a mother.

Try introducing your kids to these these Journal Prompts for Anxiety.

¤¸¸.•´¯`•¸¸.•..>> 𝗜𝗻𝗰𝗿𝗲𝗱𝗶𝗯𝗹𝗲𝗛𝗼𝗿𝗶𝘇𝗼𝗻𝘀。𝗼𝗿𝗴 <<..•.¸¸•´¯`•.¸¸¤

The ABC’s of Anxiety Support

Once I came to terms with her anxiety, I was able to understand and better support her.

The good news is there is an effective way to help anxious kids.

Make these 6 simple adjustments to support your child, which are based on recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Avoid Avoidances

Commonly, when children have anxiety, they avoid certain things, related to your child’s fear. Simple daily events can feel like scary situations.

This may be a place (such as school or an sporting event), or an activity (such as going to bed on their own).

It sounds like a double negative, but do your best to avoid these avoidances. Do not allow your child’s anxious thoughts pull them away from life.

If they are trying to avoid going to school or soccer. Tell them you are right there with them, and encourage them to go. Even if it is only for a short time.

Be positive and teach self-talk

Teach your kids about positive self-talk. Help them learn how to label their emotions properly so that they can work through any troubling emotions.

For example, if your child is saying “I can’t go to school because it makes my belly hurt”, encourage them to elaborate on their emotions with questions like, “how does that make you feel?” or “why do you think school is making your belly hurt?”

These 12 Calming Cards can help you kid calm themselves down when they feel overwhelmed:

Click here for full post on How to Give Kids Tools to Calm Down.

Your child can use these tools to start to take small steps to managing their anxiety. Tell your child to try these activities that when they feel their heart rate get fast or the worries won’t leave them alone.

Also try these Mindfulness Activities for Kids.

Calm yourself down before approaching a meltdown

Raising a child who suffers from anxiety can be absolutely exhausting for parents. It’s okay to admit it. Parents of anxious children often admit to feeling emotionally drained.

It is challenging to stay composed when your child is throwing a catastrophic meltdown about something you can’t even pretend to understand.

The best advice is to walk away. Take a 10 deep breaths, and remind yourself that your child is not being difficult, they are having a difficult time.

It’s a good idea to try these Mindfulness Activities designed for parents.

Do not just wait for the problem to go away

It may not “just be a phase”. Your child may need help from a medical professional to help understand and work through their emotions.

Regardless of the level of anxiety your child faces, you should discuss it with your child’s pediatrician immediately.

If your child is having significant problems with school (including missing a lot of school), or having other problems with daily functioning, you should talk to your doctor. You may have to reach out to a child psychiatrist or clinical psychologist who specializes in childhood anxiety.

Exercise, diet, and sleep

A balanced lifestyle will help provide a stable ground for your child to stand on. Do your best to provide sufficient opportunities for exercise, a balanced diet, and appropriate amounts of sleep.

Controlling these environmental factors will help eliminate any uncomfortable feelings that may lead to symptoms of anxiety.

Focus on fun experiences

Studies, like this one, demonstrate the positive benefits that family time has on stress.

Provide your child with screen-free experiences to relax and enjoy life. Engage as a family and reconnect as much as possible.

.Final Thoughts on How to Help an Anxious Child

Following the above practical strategies can help guide you through supporting your anxious child.

Most importantly, remember that your child’s anxiety may not be a “phase”. Support your child with a positive embrace, and know when to reach out for professional help.

If you feel that your child is displaying anxious behavior or symptoms of a panic disorder, consult your pediatrician as soon as possible.


Recommended ContentRecommended Content

¤¸¸.•´¯`•¸¸.•..>> 𝗜𝗻𝗰𝗿𝗲𝗱𝗶𝗯𝗹𝗲𝗛𝗼𝗿𝗶𝘇𝗼𝗻𝘀。𝗼𝗿𝗴 <<..•.¸¸•´¯`•.¸¸¤

Treatment Options

Children with autism express anxiety or nervousness in many of the same ways as typically developing children do. We often see separation anxiety, for example, when children must part with trusted parents or caregivers to go to school or camp.

Many children worry and become preoccupied with challenges such as homework, friends or health issues. These issues commonly affect both children with and without autism. However, social anxiety – or a fear of new people and social situations – is especially common among kids with autism.

If your child suffers from anxiety, he may experience strong internal sensations of tension. This can include a racing heart, muscular tensions, sweating and stomachache. Intense anxiety can result in repetitive behaviors that appear to serve no function, such as shredding paper or clothing.

Of course individuals with ASD often have trouble communicating verbally. So outward manifestations of anxiety may be the only clue that something is bothering them. Some researchers also suspect that outward, physical symptoms of anxiety may be especially prominent among those with ASD.

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a widely accepted psychological approach for breaking severe cycles of anxiety. It’s effectively used to help children with at least some verbal abilities. The first step in this process teaches children to identify the root of their fears. For example, a child suffering from separation anxiety may fear being permanently separated from his mother when he leaves for school. After identifying the perceived threat, the therapist can help the individual logically challenge his anxieties with evidence.

To gather that evidence, a second technique comes into play. We call it exposure therapy. This type of therapy allows individuals to face their fears in a progressive manner. For example, the therapist may ask the child who fears losing his mother to take a “baby step.” Let’s say spend one minute in a room without his mother. After his mother reappears, the child affirms that he was safe. The therapist then encourages the child to spend increasing periods of time apart from his mother. This can provide the evidence he needs to put his anxieties aside and feel safe.

Parents and caretakers can try these techniques at home, ideally with professional guidance. You can find a number of books on cognitive behavioral therapy for purchase online or in bookstores. Though these books are not autism-specific, I think you’ll find that the general approach can help you deal with your child’s anxieties. My colleagues and I have also published two manuals – one for therapists and one for teachers – that cover similar ground.

According to several studies, when it comes to treating anxiety, cognitive behavioral therapy ranks more effective than other talk therapies. In some cases, medications can help as well. [Editor’s note: Parents may want to consult Autism Speaks ATN/AIR-P Medication Decision Tool Kit.]

To find a cognitive behavioral therapist, I suggest visiting the website of the Association of Behavioral and Cognitive Therapists. Your child’s physician or your family’s health insurer may likewise be able to provide a referral to an expert in child anxiety who practices cognitive behavioral therapy or psychopharmacology with children.

Editor’s note: For guidance on assisting members of the school community in understanding and supporting students with autism, see Autism Speaks School Community Tool Kit. Also see these related “Got Questions?” blogs:

How common are anxiety disorders in people with autism, and are there effective treatments?

Autism and Anxiety: Treatment options for adults

Autism and Mental Health in Young People

Autism Speaks hosts first scientific conference on cannabis and autism

How Can We Stem Weight Gain Related to Behavioral Meds for Autism?

Autism and aggression - What can help?

Behavioral Medication Side Effects

¤¸¸.•´¯`•¸¸.•..>> 𝗜𝗻𝗰𝗿𝗲𝗱𝗶𝗯𝗹𝗲𝗛𝗼𝗿𝗶𝘇𝗼𝗻𝘀。𝗼𝗿𝗴 <<..•.¸¸•´¯`•.¸¸¤

Autism and Anxiety: Treatment Options for Adults

March 17 , 2022

Anxiety in autistic adults

Studies show that up to 50% of autistic adults have an anxiety disorder – twice that of neurotypical adults – making it one of the most common co-occurring conditions of autism spectrum disorder. Symptoms can include restlessness, difficulty concentrating, sleep problems, headaches, stomachaches and even increased heartrate and rapid breathing. But even things like withdrawal, nail biting, obsessive thoughts and an inability to eat can be signs of anxiety. What makes identification tricky is that traits that characterize autism, including social deficits and restricted interests, can mimic symptoms of anxiety. Compounding the problem is that diagnostics to screen for anxiety were developed for neurotypical people, leaving many autistic people misunderstood and/or under- or misdiagnosed.

The risk: untreated and poorly treated anxiety in autistic adults is known to lead to depression, aggression and even self-harm.

One possible solution: autism-specific anxiety management. Recently neuroscientists discovered structural differences in autistic people’s amygdala, the brain’s emotion and fear center, that indicate anxiety is different for those with ASD than it is for everyone else. It only makes sense then that management would be different for autistic people.

What does this look like? Unfortunately, few studies have been conducted on the treatment of anxiety in autistic adults, and fewer useful conclusions around best practices have been made. So we went straight to the source and asked a panel of autistic adults, all whom have been dealing with anxiety since childhood. Below they share their experiences, both positive and negative, with popular and alternative strategies. They also share a collective message: there is not a one size fits all strategy to manage your anxiety, so explore and try all the different options.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT is a common type of talk psychotherapy. Working with a therapist you work to identify negative thinking so you can view situations differently and respond to them more effectively. CBT is not adapted for autism though many autistic people try it.

“When I started going to counseling in my late teens, I didn’t find CBT very helpful,” said Lydia Wayman, self-advocate, author and frequent contributor to Autism Speaks. She also sought help for handling her emotions through dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), which is based on CBT. “I learned about changing my thoughts in cognitive behavioral therapy. But I don’t treat anxiety as a thought. Instead of a feeling, I now recognize it as a change in how my brain is processing information.”

She admitted though as she has gotten older, she has learned that it is worth it to revisit strategies that didn’t work in the past.

Read more about how Lydia learned to recognize and manager her anxiety.

“I couldn’t put the CBT and DBT skills to use when I was learning about them, but I now find concepts such as cognitive distortions, mindfulness, and distress tolerance to be helpful in daily life,” she said.

Interoception Therapy

Interoception is the ability to notice and connect bodily sensations with emotions. It is an important in developing self-regulation skills. An example is feeling hungry or thirsty and knowing to go eat or drink. Individuals with ASD often have lower level of interoceptive awareness than their neurotypical peers. For instance, it is not uncommon to hear an autistic person say they forgot to eat or set alarms to eat so they remember to do so.

Interoceptive therapy is a form of exposure therapy used in CBT. It’s aim is to tackle the senses, rather than thoughts or beliefs. A therapist will encourage you to talk about how anxiety makes you feel physically, mentally and emotionally. You may then work on recreating those sensations through controlled exercises. For example, if anxiety causes your heart to race, your therapist may have you do some jumping jacks or run in place to physical activity to purposely get your heart beating faster, gradually increasing your exposure over time. The ultimate goal is to disassociate your racing heart to anxiety.

“I used to have trouble feeling my body and realizing that I was getting upset or anxious before I got to 100,” said Chloe, an autistic adult and self-professed walking, talking encyclopedia of coping strategies who found it difficult to recall them when she needed them. “I worked with an occupational therapist using Dr. Kelly Mahler’s "The Interoception Curriculum." It took time, but I was able to learn to recognize body signals and then connect the body signals to emotions, eventually connecting the emotions to an action to help me feel better.”

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)

ABA therapy involves many techniques for understanding and changing behavior. Positive reinforcement is one of the main strategies used in ABA.

“I am a huge participant in selecting the goals and being a part of decisions in ABA therapy,” said Chloe. “It is very person centered. It is about helping me cope and be the best me I can be so I can accomplish the things I want. It’s not about fixing me.”

In ABA she learned strategies that help her better accept change. For example, she boxes issues. In Box 1 she will puts issues that she can control, like her own behavior. In Box 2 she will put issues she cannot control.

“There are volcano-sized problems and pebble-sized problems, even though sometimes pebble sized problems can really feel like volcano problems on the inside,” she adds. “I’ve also learned to ask for a break when I need a minute and so much more.”

Alternative Augmentative Communication (AAC)

AAC can involve unaided communication, such as sign language, or aided communication, like tablets. But they are not just for non-verbal people. They are useful for anyone who has difficulty communicating, a hallmark of autism and source of anxiety.

“I’m verbal, very verbal, but sometimes when I get anxious, frustrated or overwhelmed it can be hard to get the words out,” said Chloe who has used AAC of some kind for the past 11 years. “I use Proloquo2go on my iPad. I have pre-programmed visual pictures and phrases that I can select. I can also type in what I am thinking or feeling. I have an “anxious” folder where I can request or choose one of my coping strategies or ask a support person for help.”

Sensory Diets

Sensory Diets are tools or supports used to increase or decrease the amount of direct sensory input to your body. Noise canceling headphones and wireless earbuds playing soft music are both examples of tools that can directly change the sensory input you get from your sense of hearing. These tools also work in different ways with one adding additional sounds and the other tool restricting noise. You can use the different supports to either maintain a calm state or to change your state out of a less desirable one such as being anxious.

“I use a weighted blanket to sleep every single night because the weight helps my body and I am unable to sleep well without using it,” said Autism Speaks contributor Brigid Rankowski. She also eats specific foods for breakfast every day. The predictable sensory experience helps keep her in a calm state first thing in the morning. “It keeps me from having to make choices or decisions when I'm still waking up.”

Sensory needs for autistic adults

Chloe employs similar sensory strategies proactively throughout her day. “I need to have a break where I don’t have to mask and hold it in and can just get the input my body needs” she said. “I swing, jump, jump onto a crash pad, lay under a weighted blanket, listen to therapeutic listening music, wear noise canceling headphones. All of these things help lessen my anxiety.”

She also uses schedules, visuals and social stories to help lessen her anxiety, so she knows what to expect. For instance, she plans meals on a chart that uses pictures because she does best with visuals.

Expressive Art Therapy

Studies show that expressive art therapy, including music, visual arts, creative writing, and dance, among others, can help relieve anxiety by calming your nervous system and distracting you from ruminating thoughts. At the very least they can teach you other skills that promote creativity and resiliency and self-awareness, all which indirectly address anxiety.

“Art therapy is one of the best tools to destress, relax and learn something about yourself even if it’s learning what activity you like to do,” said Brigid, who is also a professional Mermaid and executive director of The Way We Move, a social circus program that brings circus arts to marginalized communities.


Putting on a pair of shoes and going for a walk, like Lydia likes to do, may be the single best non-medical solution available for preventing and treating anxiety. Just moving your body decreases body tension and in turn lowers the feeling of anxiety. Experts say if you can get your heart rate up doing so, you can even change your brain chemistry by increasing the availability of anti-anxiety neurochemicals. Chloe’s jumping and crash pad landings count towards that, as does the aquatic therapy favored by our favorite Mermaid, Brigid. Spending 30 minutes in the water doing laps or even just floating is a proven to reduce anxiety. Swimming's added bonus: it encourages a cyclical breathing pattern which relaxes the mind and muscles and in turn improves organ function.


Medicine for autism is a complicated topic, especially when it comes to prescription drugs. A class of antidepressants called selective serontonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are commonly prescribed to autistic adults to treat anxiety. But they do not work for everyone and all medicines have side effects. Qualified medical professionals should always be consulted first when taking any prescription medicine.

Several complementary and alternative medicines (CAM) like melatonin for sleep and Chinese herbal medicines for digestion have also been used to treat symptoms of anxiety.

“I'm a medical cannabis patient and I need to medicate specifically to be able to eat. I even have multiple alarms reminding me to take it as I lose track of time,” said Brigid. “It is the same thing for me as a medication because often I will be having a lot of symptoms around anxiety or pain and start to feel worse until I remember I can take something for it. I think it's like how other people may use aspirin or ibuprofen.”

Experts agree that CAM and cannabis products hold promise as therapeutic alternatives to treat symptoms of autism, like anxiety. But just like prescriptions, they do not work for everyone and can have adverse effects. More scientifc studies are needed to make specific determinations. Autism Speaks held a consensus conference in 2018 to encourage discussion about the state of the research on cannabis and autism.

For more discussion about autistic adults on the subject of anxiety check out our podcast:Adulting on the Spectrum: Dealing with anxiety and navigating autistic spaces.

¤¸¸.•´¯`•¸¸.•..>> 𝗜𝗻𝗰𝗿𝗲𝗱𝗶𝗯𝗹𝗲𝗛𝗼𝗿𝗶𝘇𝗼𝗻𝘀。𝗼𝗿𝗴 <<..•.¸¸•´¯`•.¸¸¤

Autism Speaks Links

Autism Speaks launches Autism
Care Network to improve autism care
across North America

Shifting Brain Excitation-Inhibition Balance in Autism Spectrum Disorder. King's College London
Cannabinoids for Behavioral Problems in Children with ASD. Shaare Zedek Medical Center, Jerusalem, Israel


Clinician Guide: Program Development and Best Practices for Treating Severe Behaviors in Autism


Expert Q&A: Explaining the conditions that accompany autism


Autism Speaks, CDC and partners answer COVID vaccine questions for the autism community 


Study finds higher COVID death rate for Californians with disabilities and in skilled nursing facilities


Telehealth Tool Kit for Families and Providers

¤¸¸.•´¯`•¸¸.•..>> 𝗜𝗻𝗰𝗿𝗲𝗱𝗶𝗯𝗹𝗲𝗛𝗼𝗿𝗶𝘇𝗼𝗻𝘀。𝗼𝗿𝗴 <<..•.¸¸•´¯`•.¸¸¤

Sensory ProccessinG Anomalies and Autism

The Link Between Autism and Sensory Processing Anomalies

What Every Parent Needs to Know
by Alisha Grogan MOT, OTR/L

As a pediatric OT, I’m always surprised at how many parents of kids with Autism (ASD) haven’t been told about the big link to sensory processing. Read on to learn about this important connection…

As a pediatric OT, I'm always surprised at how many parents of kids with Autism (ASD) haven't been told about the big link to sensory processing. Read on to learn about this important connection... #sensoryautismsymptoms #sensoryautism


 You’ve probably heard the staggering statistic that 1 in every 49 children have Autism. That’s a lot of kids. As an occupational therapy assistant, I’ve stood next to dozens of families, including my own sister, as they tried to make sense of what this diagnosis meant for their child.

Once a child is diagnosed, it often feels like a whirlwind of confusion and overwhelm as they step into a new life of ABA or DIR floor time therapy for as much as 40 hours a week. 

(We used both. I would give Floortime a score of 8 out of 10 points. ABA a score of 4. However, I started floortime and playdough play as soon as she developed some fine motor skills at home.)

Not to mention the speech therapy, occupational therapy, and possibly physical therapy. The options to consider for special diets, cutting edge supplements, and alternative therapies. But, even with all of the information that parents are given, or in some cases left to figure out on their own, something very important slips through the cracks: sensory processing.  

What is Sensory Processing?

Sensory processing is a part of every person’s brain function. It’s job is to take the sensations in from the environment (lights, sounds, tastes, smells, textures, movement, etc.) and make sense of it, or process it. Sensory processing is like a warehouse in our brain that sorts, organizes, and responds to any sensation you experience.

Your child is using their sensory processing when they ride a swing, eat a popsicle, or play in the sandbox.

As a pediatric OT, I'm always surprised at how many parents of kids with Autism (ASD) haven't been told about the big link to sensory processing. Read on to learn about this important connection...

 What Does Sensory Development Have to Do With Autism?

 Some experts 
estimate that at least 75% of all children with a diagnosis of Autism have a significant difficulty with sensory processing. That means most children with ASD have at least some sensory processing difficulties.That percentage rate would go up if moderate and mild difficulties were considered too.

Which is why I’m still shocked at how many times I’m the first person to tell a parent of a child with Autism that sensory can have a lot to do with the behaviors and challenges, including Autism Meltdowns, they’re dealing with every day.  

A few years back, I was talking to my neighbor whose son has Autism. Her schedule was packed with every kind of therapy almost all day long, including occupational therapy. He had already been in therapy for years, so I said, “Do you use a lot of sensory activities with him?” She looked a little uncomfortable and confused.I assumed that this was part of his regular treatment, but my sweet neighbor barely had any idea what I was talking about.I was thunderstruck, and kind of ticked off because I knew sensory was probably an incredibly valuable way to help her son make progress. 

As a pediatric OT, I'm always surprised at how many parents of kids with Autism (ASD) haven't been told about the big link to sensory processing. Read on to learn about this important connection...

 Why Sensory Activities Can Be Almost Like Magic…

Of course, as soon as I realized that my neighbor needed filled in on the sensory – autism connection, I slowly began to give her examples of how sensory activities can improve attention, interactions, and even eye contact.The brain needs sensations to develop well. To learn, communicate, and socialize with peers. When sensory processing isn’t working well, your child may experience the sensations, but they don’t get processed well. It’s like the warehouse of a brain loses the package or there’s a traffic jam. The child craves more or may seem totally uninterested and zoned out because their brain isn’t getting the right amount of sensory stimulation. 

Or, the brain might over-process the sensations. It over reacts to sensations.When this happens, kids are fearful, scared, and avoid sensations because they’re too intense.Specific sensory activities can be used with kids that experience these difficulties in their sensory processing to help their brain learn to process sensations better. What’s really amazing is when you do a sensory activity with a child that was just what they needed, like magic, you see your child with Autism make better eye contact, communicate, and connect to others.When I worked in early intervention, a speech therapist friend of mine would always try to schedule her speech appointments right after mine because I used a lot of sensory activities in my session. As a result, the child would often have increased speech and make greater strides in their speech session.

Why, because their sensory processing was working well as a result of the specific sensory activities and they could finally focus on speaking instead of trying to mange their sensory needs.Some of my most treasured moments as a therapist have been when a child with Autism, who only had a few words and fleetingly made eye contact, would turn to me during a sensory activity, like a switch had been flipped, look directly into my eyes and say, “hi”. 

As a pediatric OT, I'm always surprised at how many parents of kids with Autism (ASD) haven't been told about the big link to sensory processing. Read on to learn about this important connection...

Sensory “Issues” and Autism Is NOT a 2-Way StreetIt is important to clarify though that Autism and sensory issues are not a 2-way street. If you have Autism, you almost certainly have at least some sensory processing difficulties, but lots of children have sensory processing difficulties and do NOT have Autism.Some parents have heard of sensory, even though they may not fully understand it, and think that you can only have sensory issues with a diagnosis. Not true.

As I said earlier, we all have a sensory system in our brain, and just like any other aspect of development, your child may have some difficulties with sensory processing. Some children have significant sensory processing needs and receive a diagnoses of Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)

As a pediatric OT, I'm always surprised at how many parents of kids with Autism (ASD) haven't been told about the big link to sensory processing. Read on to learn about this important connection...

This is a stand alone diagnosis, so a lot of kids have just a diagnosis of SPD.But, it’s also possible for kids with Autism to also have a dual diagnosis of SPD and ASD. However, Sensory Processing Disorder is not recognized in the DSM, a manual doctors and other professionals use to diagnosis children. Right now, mostly specialized occupational therapists will give a diagnosis of SPD, but it may not be recognized by your pediatrician or your insurance company, which can affect coverage of therapy services. 

Sensory Symptoms + Signs in Children With Autism

It can be tricky to sort out what behaviors and actions are because of your child’s sensory processing. Here are some of the common sensory red flags you might see, particularly in children with ASD:

  • Staring at spinning or flashing objects

  • Running around non-stop

  • Hand flapping

  • Repeated actions

  • Fixated on swinging

  • Sensitivity to lights/sounds/smells/textures

  • Climbing furniture dangerously

  • Refuses to wear certain textures of clothing

  • Will only eat specific colors or textures of food

  • Touches, smells, or licks everything

  • Chews on or mouths their shirt, pencils, and other random objects

  • Bites people or objects for no apparent reason

  • Likes to crawl into tight spaces or hide

  • Spins in circles

  • Brings objects very close to eyes to stare at

  • Accidentally or intentionally bumps into other people or objects all the time

  • Overwhelmed in public places

  • Covers ears and has a meltdown

Often times, these behaviors start out as sensory in nature, but can become entangled over time with habits and coping strategies. Sensory is a piece of the solution in helping your child work through any of the behaviors above.Because when these behaviors are done regularly, they interfere with learning, communication, socializing, and more.

An autistic child’s brain sort of gets stuck trying to avoid or fill a sensation that it needs, and until it does, it will think of nothing more. The first step though is figuring out what types of sensory needs your child has! 

Your childs brain can misinterpret visual, tactile, auditory, gustatory input, or olfactory input, making it seem unbearable. Kids with sensory sensitivities are often called sensory avoiders.

The opposite can also occur. Sensory seekers are those who require much more input than usual. They may like their music too loud and their food extra spicy or sour. They may crash into things, in order to feel deep pressure, to get the tactile input they need.

Sensory processing disorder makes it difficult for the brain to respond appropriately, so it often reacts instead. This can cause stimming behaviors and meltdowns. Sadly, SPD is not recognized as a diagnosis – it is a symptom of an underlying disorder, so services are usually not covered by insurance. Parents are often encouraged to seek a medical diagnosis to figure out what the underlying cause is, but the cause cannot always be pinpointed.

What is autism?

Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder that is characterized by difficulties in communication and social interaction, and restrictive, repetitive behaviors. Often times, these restrictive and repetitive behaviors are sensory related.

Stimming is a term that is used a lot in the autism community. A child may flap their hands, Rick back and forth, bang their head, fidget, or insist on holding a particular object at all times.

Speech is often delayed in children with autism spectrum disorders, but not always. Some kids on the spectrum began speaking at an appropriate age, but become nonverbal under stress or excitement. Others learned speech according to the developmental tables, but have trouble using it properly. Some have other speech difficulties like stuttering.

Social interaction is another area that autistic children struggle with. Since it is a spectrum, there are many ways this can present. While some kids may be very distant and seem to live inside their own world, completely oblivious to people around them, others may appear overly social because they don’t recognize social boundaries. Still others can simply be socially awkward.

Subscription box for kids with autism

So how are SPD and autism different?

Both of these disorders involve sensory problems, stimming, and meltdowns. Sensory aversions lead to sensory overload, which can cause meltdowns. Likewise, the need for sensory input can cause stimming and apparently unruly behavior, as the child tries to fill the urgent need for sensory stimuli. These types of symptoms are seen in children with autism and sensory processing disorder.

But children with autism also have issues in the areas of communication and social interaction. Sensory issues can cause an array of learning struggles and social problems. For example, certain stimming behaviors may cause other children to tease or avoid your child. But that type of social demise is different than an autistic child, who does not understand the rules and regulations of socializing appropriately. If your child has been labeled with sensory processing disorder, and they are not hitting major milestones like talking and parallel play, or if they have other communicative and social setbacks, it may be time to talk to their pediatrician about an autism evaluation.

If you’re hesitant to move too quickly in that direction, you may want to get a better understanding of autism spectrum disorders first. My autism eBook provides a comprehensive yet simple overview of the most important topics surrounding an autism diagnosis. It’s an affordable next step in your journey.

The sooner you get the answers, the sooner you can get your child the help they need to have the best possible chance at success!

The Benefits of Sensory Play for Kids with AutismIn "Daily Life"The Best Sensory Toys for an Autistic ChildIn "Daily Life"

 21 Sensory Red Flags Free Printable

I’d love to put this helpful free printable of 21 different sensory red flags right in your hands so that you can figure out if there’s any other sensory links that you might have missed. Grab it below!

Click here to grab the free printable 

More on Sensory Processing in Kids Awesome Sensory Room Ideas That Calm Kids

How to Identify Sensory Issues in Toddlers

7 Awesome Sensory Activities Using a Yoga Ball

¤¸¸.•´¯`•¸¸.•..>> 𝗜𝗻𝗰𝗿𝗲𝗱𝗶𝗯𝗹𝗲𝗛𝗼𝗿𝗶𝘇𝗼𝗻𝘀。𝗼𝗿𝗴 <<..•.¸¸•´¯`•.¸¸¤


Occupational therapy interventions can include sensory processing strategies to meet the needs of children. The following sensory play ideas can be a part of occupational therapy activities.

We used this through Hope's Journey to Adulthood. With a ten out of ten points given. When used in hyperbarics, and with The Listenning Program was when she made the most progress and felt the best physically.

Sensory Processing is an important part of development of the child.  The whole child develops from an interconnected system of touch, taste, sight, smell, auditory processing, vestibular, and proprioceptive input.  Advocates for children with Sensory Processing Disorder and diagnoses on the Autism spectrum will find ideas for treatment, play, and learning on our Sensory page.  

Sensory integration treatment ideas and tips for Occupational Therapists, parents, and educators for students in classrooms, at home, and in outpatient treatment clinics.  This is a great resource for children with Autism, SPD, and sensory integration needs or deficits.

 Some of our most popular Sensory Integration Activities are: 

 Oral Sensory Processing

Animal Cracker Activity What is PANDAS? 

 Fidgeting During Homework

 Alphabet Discovery Bottle

Alphabet Discovery Bottle

 Homemade Lacing Cards

 Motor Planning Fine Motor Maze

  Motor Planning Fine Motor Maze 

 hand strengthening activity

Hand Strengthening Building Activity 

Homemade Lacing Cards

 Dinosaur-Sized Sensory Feelings and Proprioceptive Activities

 Teach Direction Following in the Kitchen

 Open Thumb Web Space Activities and Homemade Fuzzy Beads 

 Preschool Sensory Play

 Toddler Sensory Play 

Gifts for Sensory Play | Water Bin Play Ideas 

 Baby Sensory Play Ideas

 | Sensory Bubble Play | 

Proprioception in Handwriting | How to Make a Sensory Bottle

Attention Exercises   


Occupational therapy interventions focus on child development and participation in functional tasks, through the participation in daily occupations, as a therapeutic activity. Children develop at different rates and speeds.  Difficulties with fine motor skills, visual perceptual skills, sensory integration, and behaviors will interfere with typical development, but often times, children simply do and achieve tasks at different times.  These resources share typical childhood development and tips to work on different areas.  Remember that all children are different, however and these are just guides of typical skill development. 

 Typical Baby Development

Toys to Teach Kids to Dress Themselves Independently 

Visual Motor Integration
Developmental Milestones

Developmental Milestones for Independence in Getting Dressed 

 Childhood Development and Action Rhymes

Functional Skills for Kids and Independence  

¤¸¸.•´¯`•¸¸.•..>> 𝗜𝗻𝗰𝗿𝗲𝗱𝗶𝗯𝗹𝗲𝗛𝗼𝗿𝗶𝘇𝗼𝗻𝘀。𝗼𝗿𝗴 <<..•.¸¸•´¯`•.¸¸¤

11 People With Autism Explain What Stimming Feels Like

Stimming, or self-stimulatory behaviors, are behaviors people with autism may exhibit to counteract an overwhelming sensory environment or alleviate the high levels of internal anxiety, according to Temple Grandin’s post in Autism Digest. Some examples of stimming are rocking, spinning, pacing, repeating words or flapping of arms or hands.

Autistic people aren’t the only ones who stim, although occasionally people on the spectrum stim in more obvious ways and may attract attention. Many people have a hard time grasping why someone would stim.

We asked our readers with autism how they explain what stimming is like.

This is what they had to say: 

1. “It helps my body regulate the sensory information of the world.” — Laura Ivanova Smith

Image of the world. Text sasy: It helps my body regulate the sensory information of the world. -- Laura Ivanova Smith

2. “You know how when you’re cooking something on a stove, you sometimes move the lid slightly off the pot to let the steam out? How you put pressure on a bleeding wound to get the blood flow to stop, or at least lessen? For me, stimming is that relief and release — the preventing of inward things from exploding or running out by doing things outwardly to soothe the inward.” — Paula Gomez

3. “Stimming is like turning down the radio when you think you smell something burning. It’s a way of turning off the other senses so you can make sure nothings burning.” — Lamar Hardwick told The Mighty in an email

Image of burned paper. Text says: Stimming is like turning down the radio when you think you smell something burning. It's a way of turning off the other senses so you can make sure nothings burning. -- Lamar Hardwick

4. “Sometimes when I feel overwhelmed, upset or angry, I need to let it out. I feel antsy when I’m overstimulated, so I need to move around and let out some noise. It’s the only way I know how to cope. It calms me down. A common one for me is humming loudly to myself (sometimes with my ears plugged or covered) and most commonly, I’ll bounce my leg. It’s involuntary, so I don’t always realize I’m bouncing my leg. It bothers some people, but I can’t help it.”– Sydney Brown

Image of shoes on a desk. Text says: It's involuntary, so I don't always realize I'm bouncing my leg. It bothers some people, but I can't help it. -- Sydney Brown

5. “What’s it like to stim? You tell me. Most non-autistic people impulsively tap their feet, drum their fingers or let out exasperated sighs. They’re all natural forms of self-expression. The theory behind autistic stimming is the same — we’re just the ones who get called out for expressing ourselves more visibly than you!” — Chris Bonnello from Autistic Not Weird, told The Mighty in an email.

6. “Sometimes the sensory input gets too much, and I feel like I might explode. Stimming releases the tension and makes me feel a lot calmer.” — Lucy Clapham

Image of a woman holding her head. Text says: Sometimes the sensory input gets too much, and I feel like I might explode. Stimming releases the tension and makes me feel a lot calmer. -- Lucy Clapham

7. “It’s the ability and opportunity to shut out external effects. I can tune into myself, reign in my energy and feel completely wrapped and enveloped in my own bubble of comfort and total relaxation. It helps ground me to reality, breathe, slow down and soothes my nervous system that is overtaxed. At best, I feel like there is no one else around and I am completely calm, free and one with the world.” — Laura Spoerl

Image is a woman in a field. Text says: I can tune into myself, reign in my energy and feel completely wrapped and enveloped in my own bubble of comfort and total relaxation. -- Laura Spoerl

8. “It’s a comforting thing to do. Neurotypical people probably understand and do similar things, but the difference is that autism stims feel more necessary, and trying to stop them causes unpleasantness for us. It makes me feel uncomfortable when [it] cannot be done.” — Elizabeth Alford

9. “It’s a combination of habit and releasing build-up of stress or internal energy in the body. It isn’t something you do only when you have anxiety or negative feelings, it feels good. It’s kind of necessary.” — Planet Autism

Image is of a ray of light. Text says: It's a combination of habit and releasing build-up of stress or internal energy in the body... it feels good. -- Planet Autism

10. “When I’m stressed and overstimulated, I quietly hum or groan. When I’m extremely happy, I smile a ‘Cheshire Cat’ grin, rock back and forth and voice a little. Stimming is comforting, and it lets off pressure from good and bad emotions. I don’t necessarily think ‘I need to stim,’ I just do.” — Rachel Mills

11. “Stimming is like breathing… just as natural, just as important.” — Katy Kenah

Image of an x-ray of lungs. Text says: Stimming is like breathing... just as natural, just as important. -- Katy Kenah

¤¸¸.•´¯`•¸¸.•..>> 𝗜𝗻𝗰𝗿𝗲𝗱𝗶𝗯𝗹𝗲𝗛𝗼𝗿𝗶𝘇𝗼𝗻𝘀。𝗼𝗿𝗴 <<..•.¸¸•´¯`•.¸¸¤

Mayo Clinic Related Links

Associated Procedures

News from Mayo Clinic

Products & Services

Show more products and services from Mayo Clinic

Autism spectrum disorders

Mayo Clinic Press

Check out these best-sellers and special offers on books and newsletters from Mayo Clinic Press.

¤¸¸.•´¯`•¸¸.•..>> 𝗜𝗻𝗰𝗿𝗲𝗱𝗶𝗯𝗹𝗲𝗛𝗼𝗿𝗶𝘇𝗼𝗻𝘀。𝗼𝗿𝗴 <<..•.¸¸•´¯`•.¸¸¤

Am I autistic?

Many of us at Autistic Parents UK only discovered we are autistic in adulthood, often after our children were identified. We frequently get contacted by parents who are currently going through this process and, although our main focus is providing peer support for parents who positively identify as autistic (including self-diagnosis), we’ve created this blog post to signpost anyone who finds themselves in this situation to helpful resources.

If your child is the first one in the family to be identified as autistic it can be surprising and confusing. You may not have realised there was anything unusual about your child’s behaviour because you did those things when you were little. It can be a surprise to realise things that are normal for you, are actually autistic traits. Maybe you see your child struggling and you can relate to them more easily than others, because you struggle in similar ways.

This then leads you to question: Am I autistic?

What is Autism?

The first thing you need to understand is that everything you think you know about autism is probably wrong.

Currently, there is no scientific consensus on what autism actually is. There is no blood test or brain scan that can identify an autistic person. The medical definition of autism, as found in diagnostic manuals, is based on observations of autistic people and how they behave when they are stressed. Discussions around autism have been dominated by non-autistic professionals and parents, which has created a very negative view. Mainstream knowledge about autism is based on outdated stereotypes.

Today, thanks to the work of autistic adults who have shared their lived experience, we have much more information and understanding of what being autistic actually means. We know that autism is not an illness or tragedy, it’s just a difference in the way someone experiences the world and communicates with others.

Autism Epidemic?

Rates of autism diagnosis have drastically increased in recent years. This is not because there are more autistic people than there used to be, it’s simply due to the fact that medical professionals are slowly getting better at identifying us. The most recent diagnostic criteria for autism were published in 2013. Professionals have also started to realise that girls and women can be autistic too. These factors mean that many people who would have been missed in childhood are now getting diagnosed as adults.

Heritability of Autism

We know that autism has genetic factors and tends to run in families. A 2017 study showed the heritability of autism to be 83%. A family history of autism means you are more likely to be autistic yourself. If you have a child diagnosed as autistic, there’s a high probability that you are too.

Online Tests

There are many online tests for autism that can seem appealing because they are quick and seem to offer an easy answer. If you decide to take online tests or quizzes, be aware that these tests are generally created by non-autistic people and are often based on stereotypes of autism, such as being obsessed with trains or being brilliant at maths. Some of the questions can also be ambiguous and open to interpretation. While they can be helpful to get an idea of whether you have some autistic traits, you can score highly on a test and not be autistic, and you can also score low on a test and still be autistic. They can’t tell you for definite whether you are autistic.

Autistic Lived Experience

What can be more helpful is learning about the experiences of other autistic adults, and seeing if they resonate with you. These stories share what it actually feels like to be autistic, rather than what it looks like to non-autistics. Following the #ActuallyAutistic hashtag on social media is a great way to start connecting with and learning from people who are autistic themselves. There are also many online groups for people who are exploring whether they could be autistic, as well as blogs, vlogs, podcasts, and books based on lived experience.

Formal Diagnosis

If you have been thinking about whether you could be autistic for a long time, you may be considering whether to go through the assessment process to get a formal diagnosis. Whether you decide to pursue this or not is entirely up to you. There are pros and cons to getting a formal diagnosis and there are barriers to getting a diagnosis which may make it more difficult for some people. At Autistic Parents UK we feel that self-diagnosis is valid. If you positively identify as autistic and you are a parent in the UK you are welcome to access any of our peer support services.

Resources to Explore

Here are some resources our volunteers at Autistic Parents UK found helpful when they were exploring whether they may be autistic. These links contain a wealth of information and are all created by autistic people. Whether you are autistic or not it’s always worth taking some time to get to know yourself better and you’re going to learn a lot about autism too!




Blog Post


Close up of light bulb

Photo by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash


Therapy & Treatment Directories

 "We strive to do this based on evidence-based medicine and the use of biomarkers, where we add treatments either based on underlying biochemical testing (for example, giving carnitine and coenzyme Q10 when there is laboratory evidence, using biomarker measurements, of mitochondrial dysfunction) or evidence-based treatments (for example, giving nutritional supplements or medications that have been studied and proven to help symptoms such as speech delay, attention, hyperactivity, etc.…).

We do not believe that patients with certain conditions, such as autism, should be told that the condition is hopeless or that no testing or treatments are available. Conditions such as autism are defined by a subjective group of symptoms, and therefore a diagnosis of autism does not reveal the underlying cause(s). We strive to identify what may be causing abnormal functioning of cells in persons with autism and other disorders using biomarkers that are objective, testable and treatable."

Dr. Dan Rossignol -SoCal, Florida  Rossignol Medical Center

Finding a therapist can be a challenging task, here are some directories where you can find clinicians who are affirming and supportive of neurodivergent individuals.

ND Therapists is a Neurodivergent Directory of openly neurodivergent therapists (newer, but grows weekly!)

 Association of Neurodivergent Therapists (a UK directory!) An organization created by neurodivergent therapists advocating for neurodivergent rights. They are anti-ableist and anti-racist, and support gender and sexual diversity. You can find their directory here.

Inclusive Therapists is a Directory of justice-oriented therapists. You can filter by specialties, insurance, and whether or not they provide a sliding scale. Click here for autism.

Therapy Den is a directory of progressive therapists. You can use our search tools to find therapists who specifically identify as "neurodiversity-affirming." You can also filter your search by other specialties and accepted insurance.

Directory of Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA) Affirming Providers

Neuroclastic has a global directory of assess

¤¸¸.•´¯`•¸¸.•..>> 𝗜𝗻𝗰𝗿𝗲𝗱𝗶𝗯𝗹𝗲𝗛𝗼𝗿𝗶𝘇𝗼𝗻𝘀。𝗼𝗿𝗴 <<..•.¸¸•´¯`•.¸¸¤


The Listening Program
TLP Online

TLP Online is a subscription-based service that allows you and your family to enjoy the benefits of The Listening Program® on the go. Choose from an individual, buddy, or family plan, and a monthly or annual subscription. Personalized programs will be created to help each of you reach your goals. Access your listening from any web connected device; smart phone, tablet, and computer via browser or the Free TLP iOS and Android apps.

Take the world’s most scientifically-advanced music listening program wherever you go, with TLP Online. Get started for free with our 7-day free trial, or choose the program that is right for you!

View your dashboard

View your dashboardFrom the moment you log in to TLP Online, you will see a snapshot of today’s listening. Your personal dashboard is both your home screen and where you start your listening.

View your profile

View your profileMy Profile offers a window into what’s happening in your program—your module progress, what listening zone you are working with, your mood rating, and more.

Access your listening history

Access your listening historyAll your listener history is available in one place. Get a quick view of the last four weeks and the number of days you listened each week. Select any day on the calendar to see daily details. View all-time mood history and brain focus along with auditory highlights.

Monitor your moods

Monitor your moodsTrack your emotions and energy level over time and evaluate the influence of daily events or The Listening Program® on your mind-set.

Customize your preferences

Customize your preferencesInstantly personalize your TLP Online listening experience. Select schedules and email reminders, change the training type, switch the program, and access advanced listening options. (Note: You can only create your TLP Custom Playlists after completing the required listening in a standard TLP program. We want to be sure you get the full benefits of the prescribed program before you create an extra playlist.)

Control your account

Control your accountCheck the status of all members in your account(s) in an instant. Thumbs up means they’re on track. Thumbs down tells you they may need a little support. Click a name to access that person’s listening summary, member information, listening profile, preferences, and history.

Choose Your TLP Experience

Listen Offline With TLP System

  • Listen on pre-loaded iPod touch and Waves Bone Conduction Audio System

  • Personalized playlists with high-quality sound files

  • Includes professional coaching

  • Payments starting as low as $113.57/mo*

*Financing options are available

Continue Your Experience

Tlp System

Most Popular

Listen Online With TLP Online

  • Listen on your computer, tablet, or smartphone – anywhere you have internet!

  • Personalized online programs with high-quality audio streaming

  • Desktop platform and iOS and Android apps

  • Memberships start at just $34.95/mo*

*Financing options are available

Continue Your Experience

Tlp Online

Looking for a solution for your school, healthcare facility or large group? Contact us about our Enterprise solutions.

Want to know more? 

Let one of our trained team members help you.



Start now

Start now with TLP PRO, the #1 solution for professionals in practice 

39:49The Listening Program IntroductionAdvanced Brain Technologies · Advanced Brain39 minutes, 49 secondsMay 20, 2022

6:34What is The Listening Program®?Advanced Brain Technologies · Advanced Brain6 minutes, 34 secondsMay 7, 2021

5:42The Development of The Listening Program®Advanced Brain Technologies · Advanced Brain5 minutes, 42 secondsMay 7, 2021

Autism and Digestive Issues

The Biomedical & Integrative Approach to Autism

From Dr Rossinol

"When we use the term integrative medicine in our practice, we are referring to molding (integrating) the latest laboratory research with treatments to hopefully improve clinical outcomes. We strive to do this based on evidence-based medicine and the use of biomarkers, where we add treatments either based on underlying biochemical testing (for example, giving carnitine and coenzyme Q10 when there is laboratory evidence, using biomarker measurements, of mitochondrial dysfunction) or evidence-based treatments (for example, giving nutritional supplements or medications that have been studied and proven to help symptoms such as speech delay, attention, hyperactivity, etc.…)."

Download Informational PDF For your own benifit or your medical professional

Normal / Typical Splintering Path

Diagnostic and Treatment

Your child's medical doctor will look for signs of developmental delays at regular checkups. Ask your doctor, how much training and experience they have with Autism, before you trust him with anything regarding Autism. Occupational therapists are the same way. If they don't have much experience do not trust them with a childs diagnosis. Start documenting anomalies in sensory processing, attachment, odd behavior or reactions etc. so medical professionals have more supportive data

If your child shows any symptoms of autism spectrum disorder, you'll likely be referred to a specialist who treats children with autism spectrum disorder, such as a child psychiatrist or psychologist, pediatric neurologist, or developmental pediatrician, for an evaluation.

Because autism spectrum disorder varies widely in symptoms and severity, making a diagnosis may be difficult. There isn't a specific medical test to determine the disorder. Instead, a specialist may:

  • Observe your child and ask how your child's social interactions, communication skills and behavior have developed and changed over time

  • Give your child tests covering hearing, speech, language, developmental level, and social and behavioral issues

  • Present structured social and communication interactions to your child and score the performance

  • Use the criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), published by the American Psychiatric Association

  • Include other specialists in determining a diagnosis

  • Recommend genetic testing to identify whether your child has a genetic disorder such as Rett syndrome or fragile X syndrome

Coping and Support

Raising a child with autism spectrum disorder can be physically exhausting and emotionally draining. These suggestions may help:

  • Find a team of trusted professionals. A team, coordinated by your doctor, may include social workers, teachers, therapists, and a case manager or service coordinator. These professionals can help identify and evaluate the resources in your area and explain financial services and state and federal programs for children and adults with disabilities.

  • Keep records of visits with service providers. Your child may have visits, evaluations and meetings with many people involved in his or her care. Keep an organized file of these meetings and reports to help you decide about treatment options and monitor progress.

  • Learn about the disorder. There are many myths and misconceptions about autism spectrum disorder. Learning the truth can help you better understand your child and his or her attempts to communicate.

  • Take time for yourself and other family members. Caring for a child with autism spectrum disorder can put stress on your personal relationships and your family. To avoid burnout, take time out to relax, exercise or enjoy your favorite activities. Try to schedule one-on-one time with your other children and plan date nights with your spouse or partner — even if it's just watching a movie together after the children go to bed.

  • Seek out other families of children with autism spectrum disorder. Other families struggling with the challenges of autism spectrum disorder may have useful advice. Some communities have support groups for parents and siblings of children with the disorder.

  • Ask your doctor about new technologies and therapies. Researchers continue to explore new approaches to help children with autism spectrum disorder. See the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website on autism spectrum disorders for helpful materials and links to resources.

Preparing for your appointment

Your child's health care provider will look for developmental problems at regular checkups. Mention any concerns you have during your appointment. If your child shows any signs of autism spectrum disorder, you'll likely be referred to a specialist who treats children with the disorder for an evaluation.

Bring a family member or friend with you to the appointment, if possible, to help you remember information and for emotional support.

Here's some information to help you prepare for your appointment.

What you can do

Before your child's appointment, make a list of:

  • Any medications, including vitamins, herbs and over-the-counter medicines that your child is taking, and their dosages.

  • Any concerns you have about your child's development and behavior.

  • When your child began talking and reaching developmental milestones. If your child has siblings, also share information about when they reached their milestones.

  • A description of how your child plays and interacts with other children, siblings and parents.

  • Questions to ask your child's doctor to make the most of your time.

In addition, it may be helpful to bring:

  • Notes of any observations from other adults and caregivers, such as babysitters, relatives and teachers. If your child has been evaluated by other health care professionals or an early intervention or school program, bring this assessment.

  • A record of developmental milestones for your child, such as a baby book or baby calendar, if you have one. or a notebook records of anomalies in physical and behavioral responeses that seem different or the norm.

  • A video of your child's unusual behaviors or movements, if you have one.

  • Copies of Dr. Rossinol phamplets So they confidence in the bio-markers. 

Questions to ask your child's doctor may include:

  • How much experience do you have in diagnosising and treating Autism>

  • Why do you think my child does (or doesn't) have autism spectrum disorder?

  • Is there a way to confirm the diagnosis?

  • If my child does have autism spectrum disorder, is there a way to tell how severe it is?

  • What changes can I expect to see in my child over time?

  • What kind of special therapies or care do children with autism spectrum disorder need?

  • How much and what kinds of regular medical care will my child need?

  • What kind of support is available to families of children with autism spectrum disorder?

  • How can I learn more about autism spectrum disorder?

Don't hesitate to ask other questions during your appointment.

What to expect from your child's doctor

Your child's doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions. Be ready to answer them to reserve time to go over any points you want to focus on. Your doctor may ask:

  • What specific behaviors prompted your visit today?

  • When did you first notice these signs in your child? Have others noticed signs?

  • Have these behaviors been continuous or occasional?

  • Does your child have any other symptoms that might seem unrelated to autism spectrum disorder, such as stomach problems?

  • Does anything seem to improve your child's symptoms?

  • What, if anything, appears to worsen symptoms?

  • When did your child first crawl? Walk? Say his or her first word?

  • What are some of your child's favorite activities?

  • How does your child interact with you, siblings and other children? Does your child show interest in others, make eye contact, smile or want to play with others?

  • Does your child have a family history of autism spectrum disorder, language delay, Rett syndrome, obsessive-compulsive disorder, or anxiety or other mood disorders?

  • What is your child's education plan? What services does he or she receive through school?

¤¸¸.•´¯`•¸¸.•..>> 𝗜𝗻𝗰𝗿𝗲𝗱𝗶𝗯𝗹𝗲𝗛𝗼𝗿𝗶𝘇𝗼𝗻𝘀。𝗼𝗿𝗴 <<..•.¸¸•´¯`•.¸¸¤

Parents and caregivers may try restrictive or elimination-type diets in an effort to manage symptoms or behaviors. Because restrictive diets increase the risk of nutrient deficiencies, they must be thoughtfully planned.

The goal for a child with ASD is the same as for any child — to provide adequate intake of all nutrients and promote lifelong health. To that end, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has made the following recommendations:

  • The child with ASD and the family should work with a dedicated care team that involves a dietitian. The team should assess the nutrient adequacy of the child's diet, keeping in mind that deficiencies may be present even if growth appears appropriate.

  • The care team should work to address barriers, such as food selectivity, that may interfere with dietary changes to address allergies, constipation or other GI symptoms.

  • Coaching about planning and preparing nutritious meals should involve the whole family.

Autism and Food Choices

With the support of an Autism Speaks research grant, Dr. Kuschner is developing and testing a cognitive behavioral treatment program that addresses the complex reasons behind narrow food choices in many individuals with autism.

Research has backed up what you’ve experienced firsthand. Food overlaps with many aspects of life that challenge the coping skills of individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). These can include extreme sensitivity to change and sensory stimuli, as well as an intense focus on details.

For instance, many children and adults on the spectrum are extremely sensitive to not just flavor, but also the color, smell and texture of foods. Many also have strong preferences for a narrow selection of foods. Some even feel compelled to have certain foods in the same place on the plate or to use the same plate at each meal.

Of course, we all have food preferences and most of us find food comforting. However, these natural tendencies can become exaggerated for a person with ASD. In other words, your son’s focus on food – like his other special interests – may be particularly intense.

On top of this, many individuals with autism have difficulty describing what they like or dislike about certain foods. So it can be difficult to determine what it is about a certain food that’s so important – or upsetting – to your son. And that increases the risk of meltdowns.

Research also tells us that many individuals with autism tend to have strong preferences for carbohydrates and processed foods, while rejecting fruits and vegetables. This, too, may reflect an aversion to strong tastes and textures. Unfortunately, it can lead to nutritional deficiencies and excessive weight gain, especially if exercise is limited.

The need for sameness that is common in ASD may also make it difficult to introduce new foods to your son’s diet. Just as a substitute teacher can prove extremely upsetting for children with autism, so can unexpected foods on their plates!

Put it all together, and meals can become emotionally loaded for everyone in the family. So let me offer a few tips.

Coping Strategies

In general, it’s important to avoid making food a chronic source of conflict. When you sense a food-related meltdown approaching, try to defuse the situation as you would any other potential meltdown. Use your tried-and-true coping strategies. For example, a deep breath and a break from the conversation. You might make a visual schedule to establish a plan for mealtime or negotiate a reward that could be earned for completing a task such as trying a new food.

When introducing a new food, remember that a touch of consistency can help keep things calm. So include one or two old favorites in every meal along with any new introduction.

Go softly in introducing new foods. You can try the age-old “try one bite,” or start with asking your son to just smell or lick the food the first time it’s offered.

You can also build on a preferred food to gently expand a diet to include similar choices. So if your son insists on, say, Honeynut Cheerios, try offering him a similar cereal such as Multigrain Cheerios. It will help to have your child’s “buy-in” for this. So try making the new choice together at the supermarket when you’re both calm and away from the dining-room table.

Finally, try to encourage flexibility around trying new foods. Away from mealtime, discuss how his favorite food can be his “Plan A” choice for mealtime, but that it may not always be available. So he’ll need a “Plan B” that he agrees will be acceptable. (These types of strategies can be found in Unstuck and on TargetAn Executive Function Curriculum to Improve Flexibility for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders.)

Also see my previous blog on autism and food aversions, “Encouraging Picky Eaters with Autism to Try New Foods”.

Helping children adopt healthy eating behaviors is a struggle for many parents, and developmental challenges can add to the difficulty.

Last year, research by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control found that nearly a third of children with autism are severely overweight, compared to 13 percent of typically developing children.

See “CDC Study Flags High Rate of Obesity among Teens with Autism.”

Research has found several factors that contribute to the problem. They include a tendency for reduced physical activity and poor nutrition. In addition, weight gain can result as a side effect of certain behavioral medicines. We know that parents and other caregivers need guidance to understand and respond to these complex issues.

It’s good to hear that your son is physically active and provided with plenty of healthy food options in your home. At the same time, you’re right to be concerned.

By your measurements, your son has a body mass index (BMI) of 32.5. This is above the 99th percentile for boys his age. BMI does not tell the whole story. However, it can be a general indicator of risk for serious, weight-related medical problems affecting the heart, lung and liver.

A team approach to treatment
Helping a child on the spectrum with weight issues is complex. So we urge you to seek professional support in tackling the issue. Patients over the 95th percentile are often seen in a multi-specialty weight treatment clinic. The care team typically includes a physician, specialty nurse, dietician, physical activity specialist and psychologist.

We would recommend a team that has special training to work with overweight youth, including those with developmental challenges. Many children’s hospitals have excellent weight-management programs.

The physician in the team can evaluate your son for possible metabolic conditions and weight-related side effects from medications. We know that certain behavioral medications such as antipsychotics (e.g. Risperdal) and antidepressants can interfere with knowing when one is “full.” As a result, these medications frequently have the side effect of weight gain. The doctor can discuss possible alternatives to these medicines.

In addition, the doctor can evaluate for hyperphagia. This medical term describes intense feelings of hunger that don’t go away even after eating a large amount of food. Some research has suggested that this may results from hormonal imbalance.

The dietician on the team can help design an eating plan for your son. He or she can help you understand how much food and what kinds of food your son needs. It sounds like you are already off to a good start with healthful food choices for your entire family.

The psychologist on the team can identify and address eating-related behavioral issues. Examples include impulsive eating, eating-related rituals, refusal to stop eating, sneaking food and so on. The psychologist can help you develop a strong plan for responding to your son’s problem behaviors. This often includes setting and enforcing clear limits.

The psychologist can also work with your son to improve his hunger awareness. Hunger awareness is the ability to know when you are becoming hungry and need to eat. It is equally important in realizing when you are full and need to stop.

Many children with developmental and/or sensory issues struggle with hunger awareness. It really is another type of inner “sense.”

Strategies to try at home
Meanwhile, here are a few strategies you can try at home:

* Engage your son’s interest in another activity as soon as he finishes the meal portion you’ve given him. Get him focused on something besides food!

* Consistently reward appropriate eating behaviors. But avoid using food as the reward. Choose something else that your son enjoys.

* Keep food out of your son’s sight and reach.

* In our practice, we use a visual chart called the Hunger Awareness Scale to remind children to think about their level of hunger and to distinguish hunger from other needs such as the need for stimulation or attention. (Click on the title link to see and download the full-size scale.)

* Provide regularly scheduled meals and snacks with enough time in between for your son’s stomach to empty. We’ve learned that snacking throughout the day decreases hunger awareness. In other words, having food in the belly throughout the day can keep your son from experiencing the feeling of hunger that he needs to recognize. 

None of these strategies are quick fixes. Again, we want to emphasize that it’s important to work with health professionals experienced with these issues.

The importance of sleep
It’s also important to make sure your son gets enough sleep. We know from research that sleep deprivation can increase production of brain hormones that reduce hunger awareness.

Unfortunately sleep disturbances are another common health issue for both children and adults with autism. For helpful strategies, we recommend the Autism Speaks ATN/AIR Sleep Tool Kits – one for young children and a second one for teens. Both can be downloaded, free of charge, from the Autism Speaks website.

It’s okay to say “no”
As parents, it’s natural for us to want to feed our children when they say they are hungry. However, children with poor hunger awareness or hyperphagia often ask for more food than they need.

So continue to place a healthy combination of carbohydrates, protein, fruit and vegetables on your son’s plate – in a healthy amount. Then, say “no,” to seconds.

As we mentioned earlier, it’s also helpful to eat on a schedule. A visual schedule can help your son keep track. If he asks for food in between scheduled meals and snacks, reply along the lines of:

“I’m sorry. It’s not time to eat yet. Our next meal is in 30 minutes.” Then offer praise for acceptance of your rule and ignore or redirect his attention if he continues to fuss.

Smarter food choices
While your family eats a healthy diet, it can help to increase the proportion of foods that have lower fat content and do a better job of helping your son feel full. These foods include fruits, vegetables and lean protein.

It’s so wonderful that your son enjoys being physically active. We hope you’ll continue to encourage your son to engage in at least an hour of vigorous physical activity each day. Some children need this broken down into a couple of periods of vigorous activity a day, until they can handle a full hour at a time. 

¤¸¸.•´¯`•¸¸.•..>> 𝗜𝗻𝗰𝗿𝗲𝗱𝗶𝗯𝗹𝗲𝗛𝗼𝗿𝗶𝘇𝗼𝗻𝘀。𝗼𝗿𝗴 <<..•.¸¸•´¯`•.¸¸¤

Simplified Approach to Biomedical Treatments in Autism and ADHD

In 2002, my older son, Isaiah, was diagnosed with autism. At the time I had been practicing as a family physician for about five years. Prior to his diagnosis, Isaiah loved to get down on the floor and spin…

Read More

Dr. Rosinol's research on Autism holds the key to understanding Autism from a biomedical approach.

Dr. Rossignol-Key Research on

Digestive Issues
& Autism 

Evidence of a gut-brain connection Over the last century, a connection between gastrointestinal (GI) abnormalities and problems outside of the GI tract has become evident. For example, an association between GI problems and arthritis was described in 1910. Over time, a relationship between the GI tract and the brain (a gut-brain connection) also has emerged. As long ago as 1889, researchers reported “an exhaustionalconfusional form of insanity proceeding from a dilated and over-filled colon.”

Colonic irrigation was commonly used in the late 1800s and early 1900s, with some investigators reporting that colon cleansing improved certain mental diseases. Notwithstanding this history, it is only in the last decade or so that the gutbrain connection has become more widely acknowledged. Research in this area has greatly increased.

While this article’s overall focus is on the interaction between the gut and the brain, it highlights mitochondrial function as one of the critical bridges between these two body systems. I first examined some potential mechanisms of a gut-brain connection.

Next, I discuss mitochondrial function in detail and assess how problems with mitochondrial function (mitochondrial dysfunction) can contribute to both GI abnormalities and neurological sequel. In the context of abnormal GI function, I also review the potential adverse effects on mitochondrial function of bacterial imbalances in the GI tract and discuss how this can adversely affect the gut-brain connection.

I conclude with a discussion of the potential role of hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) in improving mitochondrial dysfunction as well as GI and brain function.

Potential mechanisms of a gut-brain connection

Overtime, a number of ideas have been developed to explain potential mechanisms of action for the gut-brain connection.

The idea derived from research and evidence demonstrating that the central nervous system (CNS) and the GI tract share similar cells, including glial cells was first discovered based on what was thought was an anomaly. Now it is basic knowledge that the GI tract, astrocyte-like glia are partly responsible for the proper functioning of the intestinal barrier and help to prevent larger food particles and other molecules from entering the circulatory system. Abnormalities in the GI glial cells may contribute to deficiency in the central nervous system, autoimmune diseases, enterocolitis, diabetes, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

The second body of evidence supporting a gut-brain connection comes from recent studies focusing on the bacteria in the GI tract. The GI tract contains tenfold more bacteria (1014) than the average number of cells (1013) in a human body, and these bacteria serve important purposes. For example, the symbiotic relationship that exists between humans and their intestinal microbial flora is crucial for nutrient assimilation and important for the development of the innate immune system.

Exposure to “good” bacteria in the GI tract programs the immune system to more effectively fight infections.

While it was already established that bacteria communicate with each other through a process known as quorum sensing, it is now apparent that the bacteria in the human GI tract also communicate with human cells through hormonal signals.

This communication is important because bacteria and humans share metabolic pathways that are essential for health.

The third idea supporting a gut-brain connection comes from evidence that GI tract abnormalities may adversely affect brain function. Dysbiosis is the term used to refer to either an increase in the number of abnormal bacteria or a disruption in the type of bacteria in the GI tract. Although the idea that dysbiosis may contribute to abnormalities inside the GI tract (such as diarrhea and constipation) is fairly straightforward, it is increasingly apparent that dysbiosis also has effects outside the GI tract, including effects on brain function.

Recent evidence has demonstrated that atypical levels and types of bacteria in the GI tract contribute to metabolic abnormalities reported in neurological and psychiatric conditions such as autism spectrum disorders (ASDs).

The pathogenic metabolites produced by these bacteria in the GI tract may contribute to the brain dysfunction and metabolic problems that have been observed. As other examples, hydrogen sulfide produced in part by GI bacteria has been shown to play a role in blood pressure regulation, and the unique makeup of the microbial community in the GI tract also may help determine a person’s weight by influencing fat storage regulation.

Even a decade ago, the idea that the bacteria in the GI tract might influence blood pressure regulation or weight would have seemed untenable.

Fourth, dietary factors also point to a gut-brain connection. Perhaps nowhere is this more apparent than in the case of celiac disease, a condition defined by intestinal damage resulting from gluten reactivity. Unfortunately, it has taken centuries for humans to realize that gluten exposure also can impair brain function in some people and lead to conditions such as ataxia and schizophrenia. Interestingly, the prevalence of celiac disease is 3.5 times higher in children with ASD than in the general population.

However, recent studies reveal that the general prevalence of celiac disease remains under-recognized.

Exposure to foods other than glutencontaining foods may also impair brain function. For example, a one-month study reported disruptive behaviors in an 8-yearold boy with autism after exposure to a number of common foods.

Staff collected frequency data on behaviors such as object throwing, scratching, biting, and screaming. The study included periods of a normal American diet, a fasting period, and a period during which individual foods were reintroduced one by one. During the latter phase, it was observed that mushrooms, dairy products, wheat, corn, tomatoes, and sugar all provoked behavioral problems.

Some children will manifest similar types of sensitivities. These reactions point to a connection between food that is ingested and effects in the brain, which then result in certain behavioral changes

Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) tend to have more medical issues, including gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms such as abdominal pain, constipation and diarrhea, compared with their peers.

At the same time, many children with ASD eat only a few foods (selective eating), prefer highly processed foods, and eat fewer fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

For these reasons, children with ASD may have nutritionally poor diets and weight-related health issues that can extend into adulthood. Adults with ASD are at increased risk of obesity, high blood pressure (hypertension) and diabetes.

It can be challenging to know how to help a child with ASD and GI symptoms.

Communication deficits associated with ASD often make it difficult to sort out whether a child's diet is the cause of the GI symptoms or if the symptoms are the result of an underlying medical problem. In addition, making dietary changes can be difficult when a child has become used to selective eating.

                 ¤¸¸.•´¯`•¸¸.•..>> 𝗜𝗻𝗰𝗿𝗲𝗱𝗶𝗯𝗹𝗲𝗛𝗼𝗿𝗶𝘇𝗼𝗻𝘀。𝗼𝗿𝗴 <<..•.¸¸•´¯`•.¸¸¤


Food, Autism and Supplements

“Nearly everything about our health — how we feel both physically and emotionally —  can hinge on the state
of our microbiome.

In fact, the connection between gut flora and the brain is so important that in 2014 the National Institute of Mental Health spent more than $1 million on a research program to study this relationship.” –

The connection between our children’s gut health (our gut health) and the brain is amazing. There is so much that goes on with our digestive health and the effects it has on our brain, mood, and behavior.

Last week I introduced to you what bad gut health looks like and why it’s so important. I’ve also written about how I changed my son’s diet by getting rid of artificial colors and flavors.

Today I want to tell you what you can do about it and how it will change your child’s health.

¤¸¸.•´¯`•¸¸.•..>> 𝗜𝗻𝗰𝗿𝗲𝗱𝗶𝗯𝗹𝗲𝗛𝗼𝗿𝗶𝘇𝗼𝗻𝘀。𝗼𝗿𝗴 <<..•.¸¸•´¯`•.¸¸¤

HBOT (hyperbaric chamber) and GI function

We used this and it was amazing if I could I would give this a 12 out of 10.  See Dr. Rossinal

Because HBOT possesses potent anti-inflammatory properties,98,99 it may be useful in ameliorating inflammatory conditions of the GI tract. Several published models of IBD have demonstrated that HBOT can significantly lower inflammation in the GI tract and improve IBD.99-104 Other studies have reported improvements using HBOT for Crohn’s disease105-108 and ulcerative colitis. In addition, HBOT can kill clostridial species, because these bacteria are anaerobic.

In my clinical experience, children with evidence of clostridia often have significant improvements in GI function (especially in diarrhea) with the use of HBOT. HBOT and brain function HBOT may help improve brain function in certain conditions. In animal models, HBOT improves learning and memory. In healthy young adults, the addition of 100% oxygen when compared with room air significantly enhances memory, cognitive performance (including word recall and reaction time), attention, and picture recognition.

Several studies have shown improvements in traumatic or chronic brain injury with HBOT. In a recent study of 16 individuals who had traumatic brain injury, individuals exhibited significant improvements with the use of HBOT in their neurological exam, IQ, memory, post-traumatic stress symptoms, depression, and anxiety; they also displayed objective improvements in brain perfusion. Studies also have reported behavioral improvements in children with ASD using HBOT may bring about improvements even in conditions where permanent brain problems are thought to be present, including cerebral palsy and fetal alcohol syndrome.


The evidence for a gut-brain connection has become stronger over time.

Abnormalities in the GI tract, including dysbiosis, and abnormalities caused by intake of gluten and cow’s milk proteins may contribute to abnormal brain function. Mitochondria play an important role in the gut-brain connection, and abnormalities in mitochondrial function are found in many neurological and psychiatric disorders. Mitochondrial dysfunction can lead to GI abnormalities and brain dysfunction.

Ultimately, mitochondrial dysfunction can have adverse effects on the gut-brain connection. Treatment of mitochondrial dysfunction with modalities such as carnitine and HBOT may be beneficial in maintaining and/or improving the gut-brain connection. Additional studies examining the gut-brain connection in neurological and psychiatric disorders are warranted.

¤¸¸.•´¯`•¸¸.•..>> 𝗜𝗻𝗰𝗿𝗲𝗱𝗶𝗯𝗹𝗲𝗛𝗼𝗿𝗶𝘇𝗼𝗻𝘀。𝗼𝗿𝗴 <<..•.¸¸•´¯`•.¸¸¤

The Miracle of Hyperbarics in Autism Spectrum Disorders

Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can struggle with numerous issues like cognitive problems, motor difficulties, inflammation response, neurodevelopment concerns, and gastrointestinal issues. Increased oxygen uptake to the brain can help improve these health concerns in autistic children. Hyperbaric chamber autism has gained prominence in the recent past due to its impact on critical areas of the brain. Here are some ways HBOT therapy can help treat autism:

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) Explained

HBOT involves the use of pressurized oxygen in a chamber for medical treatment. This therapy treatment method is non-invasive and helps enhance the human body’s natural healing process. The oxygen-rich environment within the HBOT chamber increases oxygen solubility in the patient’s blood and transfers it into body cells and tissues.

Our experts at Aalto Hyperbaric use HBOT to treat conditions like:

  •   Wound Healing

  •   Psoriasis

  •   PTSD

  •   Neuropathy

  •   Radiation injury

  •   Mental conditions like Alzheimer’s

Over recent years, many medical professionals have utilized hyperbaric oxygen therapy to aid symptoms that autistic patients may experience. The procedure is generally considered safe for autistic children unless they have other pre-existing conditions like lung damage or claustrophobia. Autistic children with these disorders should not be exposed to HBOT to avoid undesirable side effects of the procedure.

HBOT Use in the Treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorder

Aalto Hyperbaric recommends getting HBOT treatment in a clinical setting for the best results. Our clinics use medical-grade chambers with 100% oxygen concentration, increasing success chances in treating ASD symptoms. Some of the potential health benefits that autistic children experience include:

Helps Manage Neuroinflammation

One of the underlying causes of ASD is neuroinflammation, an inflammatory response in the patient’s spinal cord or brain. Neuroinflammation causes cerebral hypoperfusion, which involves limiting blood flow to the brain. Lesser blood flow to key areas in the brain causes oxygen deficiency and failure in brain parts that help with communication and social interaction. Children with autism may experience problems interacting, paying attention, and communicating.

HBOT sessions at Aalto Hyperbaric can help reduce cerebral hypoperfusion. By dealing with the inflammation, hyperbaric therapy allows oxygen-rich blood into the critical areas of the brain. Increasing oxygen content in brain cells may help improve social interactions and communication.

Improves Behavior

ASD patients can grapple with cognition and movement problems due to sensory disturbance and the destruction of capillaries in the brain. This may lead to overstimulation in autistic children.

Aalto Hyperbaric Medical Group’s experts can recommend HBOT to reduce sensory disturbance. Our sessions can increase the body’s ability to create new capillaries in the brain, making ASD children calmer. Your child may experience improved sleep patterns and an overall improvement in behavior.

Helps Manage Oxidative Stress

An imbalance between antioxidants and free radicals in the human body can lead to oxidative stress. Some of the side effects of oxidative stress coincide with the clinical symptoms of ASD, including:

  •   Inflammation, which causes brain tissue damage

  •   Metabolism Reduction

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy induces oxidative stress, offsetting some symptoms linked to autism. Attending an HBOT session at Aalto Hyperbaric will help your body boost antioxidant enzyme production. More antioxidants may relieve oxidative stress and help with overall mood, memory, and social interactions.

Enhances Mitochondrial Function

Mitochondrial dysfunction is a common problem in many children diagnosed with autism. Autistic patients with mitochondrial weakness experience low energy, which slows down many bodily functions. This can affect the autistic patient’s balance and motor skills.

Oxygen therapy helps enhance mitochondrial function for improved cognition. Your HBOT session can improve the brain’s synchronization to enhance cognitive functioning in your autistic child.

Deals With Gut Problems

Autistic children often experience gastrointestinal issues like diarrhea, constipation, and abdominal pain. Gut microbes may be more prevalent in ASD patients and can cause leaky gut issues. Hyperbaric therapy helps deal with the unhealthy bacteria within the gut, alleviating such problems. This allows autistic children to be more comfortable and enjoy the improved digestive function.

Strengthens the Patient’s Immune System

Children with ASD experience immune system deregulation, making them more likely to get sick. Autoimmune problems like diabetes (type 1), celiac disease, and rheumatoid arthritis are commonly associated with autism. They may experience asthma or allergies, in which case, it is ideal for the immune system to be as strong as possible.

Increasing oxygen concentration in the body helps tissues resist infection. Hyperbaric therapy within our clinic can help strengthen the ASD patient’s immune system.

Aalto Hyperbaric Medical Group’s specialist will review your health concerns and recommend the necessary HBOT sessions. Over time, the sessions can help prevent the action of disease-causing and harmful bacteria. As an ASD patient, HBOT will help you keep autoimmune problems at bay.

Reduces the Frequency of Seizures

Individuals with ASD often experience seizures since it is a neurological disorder caused by neuroinflammation in the brain. Lack of proper blood flow in one area of the brain may cause loss of awareness and focal seizures.

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy addresses neuroinflammation concerns in the brain and spine area. Our clinical sessions can improve cerebral circulation, offering more oxygen to the brain. With HBOT, you may experience a gradual reduction in the frequency of seizure activity in autistic children.

Allows For Detoxification of Heavy Metals

Heavy metals like lead, mercury, arsenic, and cadmium can infiltrate the body during early developmental stages and cause neuroinflammation. An overload of heavy metals from foods and the environment can cause ASD and deficits in brain synchronization.

Exposure to high oxygen concentrations in your clinical HBOT session at Aalto Hyperbaric helps eliminate toxins in the body. By helping autism patients get rid of heavy metals through metabolism, they may experience better brain synchronization.

Hyperbaric Chamber Autism Can Potentially Deal with ASD Symptoms

When done in a proper medical environment, hyperbaric therapy can help treat autism in children. HBOT manages cell and tissue deficits in autism patients by improving oxygen concentration for better function. By dealing with the challenges ASD patients face, hyperbaric chamber autism can help patients by easing challenges and improving symptoms.

Hyperbaric providers across the globe assist parents with autistic children another to treat ASD symptoms. Our treatment sessions are done in a clinical setting, increasing the treatment’s efficiency. We have trained technologists who monitor patients while in treatment to make sure they remain safe. Contact us today to start your hyperbaric treatment.


There is no one-size-fits-all treatment. The goal of treatment is to maximize your child's ability to function by reducing autism spectrum disorder symptoms and supporting development and learning. Early intervention during the preschool years can help your child learn critical social, communication, functional and behavioral skills.

The range of home-based and school-based treatments and interventions for autism spectrum disorder can be overwhelming, and your child's needs may change over time. Your health care provider can recommend options and help identify resources in your area.

If your child is diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, talk to experts about creating a treatment strategy and build a team of professionals to meet your child's needs.

Treatment options may include:

  • Behavior and communication therapies. Many programs address the range of social, language and behavioral difficulties associated with autism spectrum disorder. Some programs focus on reducing problem behaviors and teaching new skills. Other programs focus on teaching children how to act in social situations or communicate better with others. Applied behavior analysis (ABA) can help children learn new skills and generalize these skills to multiple situations through a reward-based motivation system.

  • Educational therapies. Children with autism spectrum disorder often respond well to highly structured educational programs. Successful programs typically include a team of specialists and a variety of activities to improve social skills, communication and behavior. Preschool children who receive intensive, individualized behavioral interventions often show good progress.

  • Family therapies. Parents and other family members can learn how to play and interact with their children in ways that promote social interaction skills, manage problem behaviors, and teach daily living skills and communication.

  • Other therapies. Depending on your child's needs, speech therapy to improve communication skills, occupational therapy to teach activities of daily living, and physical therapy to improve movement and balance may be beneficial. A psychologist can recommend ways to address problem behavior.

  • Medications. No medication can improve the core signs of autism spectrum disorder, but specific medications can help control symptoms. For example, certain medications may be prescribed if your child is hyperactive; antipsychotic drugs are sometimes used to treat severe behavioral problems; and antidepressants may be prescribed for anxiety. Keep all health care providers updated on any medications or supplements your child is taking. Some medications and supplements can interact, causing dangerous side effects.

Managing other medical and mental health conditions

In addition to autism spectrum disorder, children, teens and adults can also experience:

  • Medical health issues. Children with autism spectrum disorder may also have medical issues, such as epilepsy, sleep disorders, limited food preferences or stomach problems. Ask your child's doctor how to best manage these conditions together.

  • Problems with transition to adulthood. Teens and young adults with autism spectrum disorder may have difficulty understanding body changes. Also, social situations become increasingly complex in adolescence, and there may be less tolerance for individual differences. Behavior problems may be challenging during the teen years.

  • Other mental health disorders. Teens and adults with autism spectrum disorder often experience other mental health disorders, such as anxiety and depression. Your doctor, mental health professional, and community advocacy and service organizations can offer help.

Dietary considerations

The food you eat is important. The food your autistic child eats is important.  has a great list of recommended foods. I will just summarize and list some of the most popular and more known food.

Probiotic foods
  • sauercraut

  • pickles or pickled vegetables

  • yogurt

  • kefir

  • kombucha

Prebiotic foods
  • flaxseeds

  • banana

  • asparagus

  • onion/garlic

  • jerusalem artichoke

Fiber-rich foods
  • fruits

  • vegetables

  • brown rice

  • lentils

  • beans

Anti-oxidant food
  • blueberries

  • grapes

  • plum

  • red berries

  • red kidney bean

  • probiotics

  • prebiotics

  • digestive enzymes

After cleaning up my diet, getting rid of sugar and gluten, as well as taking Plexus supplements my life and body have changed. I’ve benefited from some amazing side effects. Such as weight loss (yes!), and my acne has disappeared! I’ve also gotten rid of stomach issues I didn’t even realize I had!

We still have a way’s to go with how we eat together as a family. My goal is to go gluten free and perhaps dairy free with the whole family and see if those help my son as well. But one thing at a time, right? Start with one small change and go from there. You got this mama!

See Marvelously Set Apart for more blogs like this on Autism

Planning for the future

Children with autism spectrum disorder typically continue to learn and compensate for problems throughout life, but most will continue to require some level of support. Planning for your child's future opportunities, such as employment, college, living situation, independence and the services required for support can make this process smoother.

¤¸¸.•´¯`•¸¸.•..>> 𝗜𝗻𝗰𝗿𝗲𝗱𝗶𝗯𝗹𝗲𝗛𝗼𝗿𝗶𝘇𝗼𝗻𝘀。𝗼𝗿𝗴 <<..•.¸¸•´¯`•.¸¸¤

Alternative Medicine

Because autism spectrum disorder can't be cured, many parents seek alternative or complementary therapies, but these treatments have little or no research to show that they're effective. You could, unintentionally, reinforce negative behaviors. And some alternative treatments are potentially dangerous.

Talk with your child's doctor about the scientific evidence of any therapy that you're considering for your child.

Examples of complementary and alternative therapies that may offer some benefit when used in combination with evidence-based treatments include:

  • Creative therapies. Some parents choose to supplement educational and medical intervention with art therapy or music therapy, which focuses on reducing a child's sensitivity to touch or sound. These therapies may offer some benefit when used along with other treatments.

  • Sensory-based therapies. These therapies are based on the unproven theory that people with autism spectrum disorder have a sensory processing disorder that causes problems tolerating or processing sensory information, such as touch, balance and hearing. Therapists use brushes, squeeze toys, trampolines and other materials to stimulate these senses. Research has not shown these therapies to be effective, but it's possible they may offer some benefit when used along with other treatments.

  • Massage. While massage may be relaxing, there isn't enough evidence to determine if it improves symptoms of autism spectrum disorder.

  • Pet or horse therapy. Pets can provide companionship and recreation, but more research is needed to determine whether interaction with animals improves symptoms of autism spectrum disorder.

Some complementary and alternative therapies may not be harmful, but there's no evidence that they're helpful. Some may also include significant financial cost and be difficult to implement. Examples of these therapies include:

  • Special diets. There's no evidence that special diets are an effective treatment for autism spectrum disorder. And for growing children, restrictive diets can lead to nutritional deficiencies. If you decide to pursue a restrictive diet, work with a registered dietitian to create an appropriate meal plan for your child.

  • Vitamin supplements and probiotics. Although not harmful when used in normal amounts, there is no evidence they are beneficial for autism spectrum disorder symptoms, and supplements can be expensive. Talk to your doctor about vitamins and other supplements and the appropriate dosage for your child.

  • Acupuncture. This therapy has been used with the goal of improving autism spectrum disorder symptoms, but the effectiveness of acupuncture is not supported by research.

Some complementary and alternative treatments do not have evidence that they are beneficial and they're potentially dangerous. Examples of complementary and alternative treatments that are not recommended for autism spectrum disorder include:

  • Chelation therapy. This treatment is said to remove mercury and other heavy metals from the body, but there's no known link with autism spectrum disorder. Chelation therapy for autism spectrum disorder is not supported by research evidence and can be very dangerous. In some cases, children treated with chelation therapy have died.

  • Hyperbaric oxygen treatments. Hyperbaric oxygen is a treatment that involves breathing oxygen inside a pressurized chamber. This treatment has not been shown to be effective in treating autism spectrum disorder symptoms and is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for this use.

  • Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) infusions. There is no evidence that using IVIG infusions improves autism spectrum disorder, and the FDA has not approved immunoglobulin products for this use.

Coping and Support

Raising a child with autism spectrum disorder can be physically exhausting and emotionally draining. These suggestions may help:

  • Find a team of trusted professionals. A team, coordinated by your doctor, may include social workers, teachers, therapists, and a case manager or service coordinator. These professionals can help identify and evaluate the resources in your area and explain financial services and state and federal programs for children and adults with disabilities.

  • Keep records of visits with service providers. Your child may have visits, evaluations and meetings with many people involved in his or her care. Keep an organized file of these meetings and reports to help you decide about treatment options and monitor progress.

  • Learn about the disorder. There are many myths and misconceptions about autism spectrum disorder. Learning the truth can help you better understand your child and his or her attempts to communicate.

  • Take time for yourself and other family members. Caring for a child with autism spectrum disorder can put stress on your personal relationships and your family. To avoid burnout, take time out to relax, exercise or enjoy your favorite activities. Try to schedule one-on-one time with your other children and plan date nights with your spouse or partner — even if it's just watching a movie together after the children go to bed.

  • Seek out other families of children with autism spectrum disorder. Other families struggling with the challenges of autism spectrum disorder may have useful advice. Some communities have support groups for parents and siblings of children with the disorder.

  • Ask your doctor about new technologies, research and therapies. Researchers continue to explore new approaches to help children with autism spectrum disorder. See the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website on autism spectrum disorders for helpful materials and links to resources.

¤¸¸.•´¯`•¸¸.•..>> 𝗜𝗻𝗰𝗿𝗲𝗱𝗶𝗯𝗹𝗲𝗛𝗼𝗿𝗶𝘇𝗼𝗻𝘀。𝗼𝗿𝗴 <<..•.¸¸•´¯`•.¸¸¤