There has been a huge increase in the number of children living with autism and this is causing great concern among medical experts and parents alike. Studies have shown that the percentage of this increase in the last few years is a discouraging 50%. For those who are on the other side of the divide, it is not easy to understand what a child with autism goes through everyday. Overall, a child with autism is distant due to their incapacity to learn as fast as other children would.
Autism; or autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder that prevents kids from learning and expressing themselves as well as other kids would. This brain disorder can be noticed as early as 2 years of age when the child fails to develop as well as his colleagues. It is normal for a child to start talking and expressing himself by the time he is several months old. He can say a few words here and there and make faces if he is tired, happy or exasperated. If by the time he is two years he cannot communicate by facial expressions and even gestures, there is enough reason to suspect that he is autistic.
Because of this developmental disorder, these children are unable to differentiate between good or bad and are always in their own world. They are anxious; cannot pay attention to details and tend to withdraw into a cocoon as a result. This makes it hard for them to interact with even the closest of family members. It is at this point that they develop antisocial behavior that makes them withdraw from social life even more. Because they have antisocial behavior, other kids tend to keep off autistic children, thus making it even hard to interact.
There is no cure for autism but massage has been known to decrease the symptoms of ASD. Naturally, a child will feel secure and well taken care of when massaged and with autistic children, it is a form of communication that assures them and gives them confidence. There have been studies done on the effect of massage therapy on children who are autistic but there is no need for proof for those who have had massages before. We all love massages and the feeling of relaxation and confidence that a massage gives a person is proof enough.
Effects of autism massage therapy on autistic children
A study was done on the effects of massage therapy on autistic children and the effects were positive. In the trial different kinds of massage was administered on the children, with some of them receiving the traditional Thai massage and some of them receiving the Standard Sensory Integration Therapy.
Since there is no cure for autism; management of the disorder is the only option. Massage is classified as an alternative non-conventional way of managing autism. Massage helps to reduce hyperactivity and antisocial behavior in children with autism and increase attention. If done frequently, it will increase the language skills and the academic performance in children who are autistic. Generally, after several months of administering this massage, it was found that children are more confident and are independent. They are able to do many things for themselves and can talk very well; thus able to make friends.
The pros of autism massage therapy
Massage therapy does not need to be performed by a professional; and this is its great advantage as it is cheap. To add to this is the fact that more positive results were noted when the massage was performed by a parent, grandparent or a family member the child is familiar with. There are no hard and fast rules about performing this massage and its basic intention is to communicate love and care to the child and to provide him or her with the feeling of security.
Parents with autistic children always feel emptiness and an inability to bond with their children. They have a hard time communicating with them and since words do not have an effect, this is a great way to open the channels of communication. Massage therapy performed by parents is beneficial to both the parent and the child and it is advised that this massage is performed by parents on their children.
The parameters of autism massage therapy
Massage is always a challenge at the beginning; since the children cannot pay attention and have a hard time staying still. This is expected but with response to the therapy, an autistic child will welcome the therapy after several months. The children will be more tolerant to the touch and will be able to sleep better. They are better at differentiating between good and bad; and discipline can be initiated at this point.
To begin this therapy, make sure you are simple at the beginning so that the child does not reject it. You can use special oils when massaging the child and even combine some aromatherapy with it when the child gets to relax. Remember to take care of your hands when massaging the child.