All children are problem solvers, this includes children with autism. I believe that a significant amount of the stereotypical behaviour displayed by children with autism is simply problem solving, searching to find balance within a sensory system that is providing too much or too little stimulation.
Sensory processing abnormalities are common in children with autism. The information that they take in through their five senses and two secondary senses, vestibular and proprioceptive, is often unstable. When the information we gather about our environment is inconsistent, both over-represented as seen in hypersensitivity and/or under-represented as seen in hyposensitivity, it is hard to build an authentic picture of the people and places of around us. As a result many resources are diverted to modulating the sensory system rather than being devoted to learning other skills, such as language acquisition.
As a Massage Therapist and Kinesiologist I work primarily with the tactile and proprioceptive systems. Bringing these senses into greater equilibrium subsequently appears to help modulate the other senses. I work gently with a full-body, hands-on approach tailored to the unique needs of each child that I treat. The treatments usually consist of a combination of tapping, compressions, gentle joint mobilizations, and longer strokes. However my biggest role is as an educator, showing parents how to implement daily sensory massage as part of their child’s routine.
Although every child is different, the results tend to be quite positive. In my experience improvements in motor abilities and language/communication skills may be seen over a relatively short number of treatments. Within months of treatment, social relatedness tends to increase, with more eye contact, less hitting (self and others), & echolalia decreases or drops off.
If you have any questions regarding massage for your child with autism, or to book an appointment, please don’t hesitate to contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Osteopath (Manual Practitioner)
DOMP, B.KinH, RMT
Located in Halifax, serving clients throughout Nova Scotia.