Is HBOT An effective Autism Treatment?
Autism is a disability that is distressing for both the child who develops it and the people around them. Autism treatment aims to ameliorate the symptoms of stunted communication and dysfunctional interpersonal relationships and the ways in which the sufferer relates to their environment. Rather than trying to alter the patient, there would seem to be an intuitive link between the immediate environment and the autism. Hyperbaric oxygen treatment changes the immediate atmosphere around a person and there have been reports of dramatic improvements in autistic behavior following a period in a hyperbaric chamber.
Autism is a condition that varies in intensity with individual sufferers but they all share particular symptoms. Many autism sufferers can live and cope in an semi-independent way where others struggle with learning difficulties and require high levels of sophisticated even professional support. Physically, autism sufferers may also have to live with too much sensitivity (or too little) to noise, touch, taste, odors, light and even colors.
Autism is abnormal development often appearing in children under three and staying with the patient throughout their development and life. Hyperbaric oxygen treatment involves placing the autism sufferer in a chamber with a raised atmospheric pressure and a supply of pure oxygen. It turns normal autism therapies on their head because it treats the environment rather than the reactions to the environment from within the sufferer.
Anecdotal evidence of positive behavioral change is being reported from parents and carers who have resorted to hyperbaric oxygen therapy for autism treatment. Two such anedotal examples are;
· Thirteen year old child X is said to have changed noticeably in their interaction with family and friends following several periods in the pressurized oxygen chamber. This was a 'soft' portable, single patient unit at the home of the client. The child also developed a liking and focus upon toys and music where there previously had been none. The parents in this case attribute the effects to the hyperbaric cause.
· A second autism patient had a similar home regime of oxygen under raised atmospheric pressure and is said to have changed significantly in terms of their understanding of their surroundings, their interaction with people and objects in their home and lowered aggression in social situations. They had previously been unable to cope with groups of people without becoming antagonistic and mildly violent.
Nobody yet is saying that hyperbaric oxygen treatment is a panacea for autism. Clearly a lot more research under clinical control conditions needs to be done. The two examples cited here may be counterbalanced by further examples of where the treatment exaggerates the autistic behaviors rather than the 'normal' behaviors. After all the physiology of oxygenation is as a catalyst, a speeder up of bodily processes by stimulating the blood oxygen levels and flow. There is no reason to suppose that the elemental gas can distinguish between the good behavior triggers and the bad. But certainly people casting around for some autism treatment should seek out their nearest hyperbaric expert through their personal physician.