What is Autism spectrum disorders or ASD?
Autism is believed to be a lifelong developmental disability that a person has which affects how he sees the world or communicates and interacts with other people. Autism will not or cannot be cured but autistic person can be taught to overcome to some degree their problems and progress through life’s challenges. Early diagnosis along with behavioural education or correction and family therapies are found to be helpful. Autism effects the nervous system and the persons overall cognitive, emotional, social and physical health will be impacted. Autism appears on a wide range, so it is also called autism spectrum disorders (ASD). In person to person the range and severity of the disease varies leaving some people with not much disruption in their lives and others equivalent to metal patients. Mostly it is seen as difficulty to communicate and social interaction along with obsessive interest in objects and repetitive behaviours.
What causes Autism?
Autism is mainly caused by combinations of genetical and environmental influences. In an autistic person the trouble appears as nonverbal intellectual disability. Medical and mental health issues like ADD, GI Disorders, seizers, sleep disturbances, anxiety, phobias also accompany. Extremely sensitive ASD patients are troubled by some sight, touch and smells. It can also appear as repetitive stereotyped body movements like rocking, pacing or hand flapping. ASD patients may have unusual response to people and objects, resistance to changes in routines, aggressive or self-injurious behaviour. Autism is mostly seen in boys than girls to the ratio of 1:4 at an early age of 2-3 years. It can be seen as uneven skill developments they may be lacking in some area while brilliant in others like maths, music etc.
How do you diagnose autistic spectrum disorder?
ASD is very difficult to diagnosis as there are no lab-based autism test it to reveal it. Often when the child is young, parents are the first ones to notice the early signs of autism which they tell the paediatrician. The doctor if negligent of the autism symptoms, the child goes on with serious illness. As the condition grows, doctors can see the symptom by spending time with the child in play and talk sessions. Once the Autism Spectrum Disorder is confirmed then the child can be referred to either child psychiatrists, neuro consultant, developmental paediatricians or a combination of them. Delays in speeches or behaviour or learning can be seen in developmental screening, talking with parents and genetical investigations. Genetical history, problems due to pre-term birth, low birth weight etc are more prone to developing ASD. Hearing and vision screening along with genetic testing, neurological testing etc are also done to assess the range of autism. Many clinics and internet sites provide questionnaires for the parents to fill regarding the child’s growth rate, responses, behaviours which can also be used to identify autism.
Autism Treatment in Ayurveda
Ayurveda or life science is a form of holistic treatment which goes beyond the illness to treat the whole mind as well as the body of the person making him completely filled with ojas or positive energy and life. Ayurveda believes that the tridosha (i.e. the Vata, Pitta and Kapha) when in balance, the person is well. Only when one or more gets agitated, the balance fails, and the person becomes ill. Autism is believed to be due to the excess Vata Dosha in the persons body, in this condition the pathways of nutrients and neurological transmissions are clogged and eventually blocked causing severe illness in the person. So, removing the excess vata becomes a priority for an Ayurveda practitioner to restore balance. A complete treatment of panchakarma tailored for the individual according to the season, person’s age, muscle tone, disability, body weight etc can give great advances to the persons wellbeing. Panchakarma or 5 technics or 5 tools can vary according to the individual after a through check up and analysis by the medical practitioners. Intake of herbal medicines, yoga and pranayama and a daily routine of panchakarma healing is charted. Signs of excess Vata in the body are nervousness, anxiety, panic, fear, twitches, tics, tremors, spasms, dry or chapped skin, constipation, gas, bloating, dry hard stools, low body weight, intolerance towards wind and cold climate, difficulty tolerating loud noises, light, interrupted sleep, spacey, scattered feeling, excess thinking, worrying etc. Vata is seated in the colon and governs all movements in the body and mind. Vata (air space) enables fluids to flow, our nerve impulses to fire, our thoughts to coalesce and our wastes to pass. Vata due to association with the nervous system is seen in mental health. Vata can be bought back to control by dietary, lifestyle and herbal treatments.
Panchakarma and Panchasodhana procedures are effective in the treatment. The panchakarma technics like Vamana (emesis), Virechana (purgation), Nirooha Vasti (Decoction Enema), Nasya (trans nasal inhalation), Anuvasana Vasti(Oil enema), Uttara Vasti are used. Vamana, Virechana, Nasya, Nirooha and Raktha mokshana (bloodletting) are the techniques done in panchasodhana cleansing.
Abhyanga- Therapy using warm herbal infused oil massage. This when incorporated in the morning routine helps the autistic person understand the muscles and other body parts, also it helps the blood flow faster.
Shirodhara: - Herbal Oil is poured onto the forehead in a gentle and rhythmic way; this helps in calming down the mind, body and spirit as well as stimulates brain.
Five senses therapy: when the senses like sound, touch, taste, sight and smell are soothed and made to work in harmony by using herbal medicines, marmas and vedic chants, colours and combinations of rare anomalities.
Garshana- dry empatic skin brushing.
Swedana- Herbal steam bath where head and heart are kept cool remaining heated to remove toxins in tissues.
Udvarthana – Herbal paste lymphatic massage.
Nasya – Oil and herbs are inhaled through nose to clear sinuses of extra phlegm or excess mucus.
Pinda Swedana – or massage with rice cooked in milk and herbs and in the form of a kizhi or poultice
Basti – Enema using herbs to clean toxins out of the colon. Panchakarma uses this tool last in the daily routine to flush out all the toxins loosened by other methods.
These methods make the base of Panchakarma and 5 technics among these are incorporated in daily routines of the autistic person after doing these for a time marked increase in behaviour can be seen. Even after discharge of patient they have to continue with the routine and any slacking only brings relapse.
The duration of autism treatment in Ayurveda is 21-28 days in hospital and the cost would be in the range of 3,900 to 5,200 USD