DIY Autism Treatment
I do not believe that autism therapy must be expensive, disruptive and reliant on expensive professionals. In fact, I believe that parents could take charge of their own children's therapy and use the familiar environment of their home to their advantage. In addition, parents are probably the ones who know their own children best.
The child will live, learn, eat, sleep and perform his bodily functions all in the same room. To enhance self awareness, I recommend the following:
2. Go on a GFCF Diet: I have read about many autistic children improving tremendously with a casein and gluten free diet. Casein is found in milk and gluten in wheat, oat, rye, and barley. Avoid foods and drinks containing these items. I recommend that all parents try this as it is relatively cheap and unlikely to cause harm.
3. Take multivitamins: Many autistics have vitamin or mineral deficiencies that impede their functioning. GFCF multivitamins will help to address most of these issues. Use plain pills; there is no need for expensive formulations containing herbal extracts. Crush these pills before feeding with some fresh fruit juice if the child has poor digestion. Whenever possible, look for pills containing Magnesium, Dimethylglycine (DMG), Folic Acid plus Vitamins B6, B12 and C.
4. Use the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS): This will save you a lot of communication frustration. To save money, we can make our own version: download clipart from Google Images, print these clipart from PowerPoint, cut them out and then laminate these pieces.
5. Do detailed medical testing: If you can afford it, consider testing your child for medical problems. Yeast infection in the gut, heavy metal poisoning, allergies to commonly encountered materials and mineral/vitamin deficiencies are often associated with autism. If a medical problem does exist, at least we can help treat it and reduce the child's suffering. If the test results are fine, then we can eliminate some of treatment possibilities.
6. Apply the Miller Method: The theory used by this well-established method comes closest to my own personal theory and experience of autism. You can build your own therapy facilities based on the pictures in the books if you cannot afford to send your child to their therapy center.
7. Apply Art Therapy: I believe that art can help many autistics accept life on Planet Earth. For those who are keen to explore deeper, consider learning about Waldorf Education.
What to avoid
Many parents have bankrupted themselves paying for very expensive therapies which give diminishing returns and no long term gains. I heard from a few parents told me if they stop such a therapy for 2 weeks, their child is back to square one again. Sometimes, it is best to accept the idea that there is only so much that money can do for your child. Get over your therapy addiction and spend within your means so that you can keep your sanity for the long journey ahead.
The sophisticated toys sold today confine children to limited behaviors (e.g. push a button to do this, another button to do that and nothing else). Such limitations tend to decrease rather than increase creativity. It is better to choose simple toys like Lego or Play-Doh that create many possibilities for play.
Avoid the temptation to use such items to distract the autistic child as they will create many long term problems.
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