Improvement in Behavior, Communication & Sociability in a Child with Autism Following Chiropractic

The Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health published the results of a case study on May 16, 2018, documenting the improvement in many autism related symptoms following chiropractic care. The study begins by noting, “Autism and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability that has the potential to cause significant social, communication and behavioral challenges.”

There is no specific blood test, no x-ray, or any type of verifiable scientific test for ASD. The diagnosis of ASD is based on observable behavior that fits the criteria agreed upon by experts that has been published in the book, “The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.” Because of this lack of an absolute test, there is a subjective nature of interpretation to the diagnosis process of ASD. Some cases are very obvious while some could just be interpretations of abnormal behavior which could lead to over diagnosis and medical treatment.

Over the past 10 years, the diagnosis of ASD in the U.S. has doubled, going from 1 in 150 children in the years 2000-2002, to 1 in 68 children by 2010-2012. Other western nations have also seen an increase in the diagnosis of ASD with Canada reporting a diagnosis rate of 1 in 94 children, New Zealand and the United Kingdom both having the rate of 1 in 100 people, and a rate of ASD diagnosis of 1 in 150 people in Australia.

These high rates of ASD diagnosis are accompanied by a high financial burden. In the U.S. alone, ASD is estimated to cost between $11.5 billion – $60.9 billion each year. This comes out to an average increase in medical costs of $4,110 to $6,200 per year per child.

In this case, a 3-year-old boy who was diagnosed with autism was brought to the chiropractor by his parents. The boy’s primary symptoms reported by his parents were chronic constipation, fussy eating, easily gagging and vomiting, poor sleeping habits, poor weight gain and hyper-sensitivity to touch. His parents also reported that their son had sleeping problems described as waking at night with anxiety and being hard to wake in the morning. The boy had suffered with chronic ear and sinus infections since infancy, and the parents reported that their son often fell for no apparent reason as if he temporarily lost consciousness.

A chiropractic examination was performed using inspection, palpation, and thermography to determine the presence of subluxation. From this examination, it was determined that multiple areas of subluxations were present in the boy’s spine. Specific forms of chiropractic adjustments were then given on a weekly basis for correction of the subluxations.

In the first few visits, the boy’s parents reported several improvements to his behavior, communication ability, social ability, a decrease in the frequency of falls, and an improvement in their son’s sleeping patterns. By the fourth visit and beyond, the boy’s parents reported that their son was no longer falling. By the sixth visit, it was reported that the boy’s vocabulary had increased significantly and he was speaking in sentences more frequently. By the eighth visit, it was reported he was sleeping well and not waking with anxiety any longer.

In their discussion the authors reported, “This case documents the improvement in behavior, communication and social ability in a 3-year-old male with autism receiving chiropractic care for vertebral subluxation. The reported results are consistent with similar presentations described in the literature.”

In the review of additional literature on this subject, the authors of the study note, “There is a growing body of evidence reporting the positive impact of chiropractic care on patients presenting with Autism and ASD, with steep growth in the evidence over the past 5 years according to two recent systematic reviews of the literature available specific to the topic.”

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