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Autism is a spectrum of brain disorders that appear early in life, usually between the ages of 2 to 6 years. Symptoms vary, but can include poor social interactions, repetitive actions, and interests that are not typical.
There is no cure for autism. Treatment can help reduce some symptoms. Current treatments include school programs, therapies, counseling, and medication. Alternative treatments may help manage symptoms, but there is often a lack of data to support them.
The following therapies focus on reducing symptoms.
The following therapies may help manage some symptoms when used as part of a treatment plan. No single alternative or traditional treatment is helpful for all symptoms.
Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.
Talk to your doctor about all herbs or supplements you are taking. Some may interact with your treatment plan or health conditions. Some supplements discussed here have certain concerns such as:
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B1. Elder JH, Shankar M, Shuster J et al. The Gluten-Free, Casein-Free Diet In Autism: Results of A Preliminary Double Blind Clinical Trial. J Autism Dev Disord . 2006 Mar 23 [Epub ahead of print].
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D1. Auditory integration training and facilitated communication for autism. American Academy of Pediatrics. Committee on Children with Disabilities. Pediatrics 1998 Aug;102(2):431).
D2. Field T, Lasko D, Mundy P, et al. Brief report: autistic children's attentiveness and responsivity improve after touch therapy. J Autism Dev Disord . 1997;27:333–338.
D3. Geretsegger M, Elefant C, et al. Music therapy for people with autism spectrum disorder. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2014 Jun 17;(6):CD004381.
D4. Lee MS, Kim JI, Ernst E. Massage therapy for children with autism spectrum disorders: a systematic review. J Clin Psychiatry. 2011;72(3):406-411.
D5. Sinha Y, Silove N, et al. Auditory integration training and other sound therapies for autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2011 Dec 7;(12):CD003681.
Last reviewed February 2019 by EBSCO NAT Review Board Richard Glickman-Simon, MD Last Updated: 2/22/2019