Chiropractic and Autism


Chiropractic and Autism

Preface (May, 2010)

This sought after dossier on chiropractic and autism can now be viewed in full HTML here (turn the page at the bottom) or downloaded as a PDF here.

After acquiring a fair bit of experience in working with autistic children, it’s important to preface these case studies and research with some anecdotal observations: If 100 children were to come into the practice, 50 might get better and 50 might not. With the complexity of the human nervous system, the complexity of the environment children are exposed to on a daily basis at home and school, coupled with the complexity of where the child may lie on the spectrum itself, it’s impossible to guarantee any type of result.

Sometimes children are labelled at the wrong time for what seems like inappropriate behaviour or underdevelopment. How true or accurate the diagnosis is and the severity of his/her “problems” will dictate, to an extent, how the child might respond to chiropractic care. For example, if the child is clearly autistic and, in a sense, unfortunately brain damaged with a number of issues like tantrums, flapping, screaming, biting, diarrhoea, constipation or the like, there would be large scope for improvement in something. If though there seems something “not quite right” as only determined by loving parents, but nothing is openly obvious to others, it may be more difficult to gauge chiropractic results on something tangible. Occasionally we can rest on the technology at hand to assess nervous system function, but it’s usually quite difficult to scan children that don’t sit still! (and that’s okay by the way – Pip and I are used to chasing children round the practice!)

So therefore for the mother who has already notched up a number of therapies on her belt in “treating the child”, when there is nothing really quite tangible we can measure progress with beyond the ATEC forms, Spinewave forms, scans and other assessments we use, we rely on the fundamental tenet that getting the child’s spine checked for distortion or interference is a good idea. Maintaining best alignment and appropriately stimulating the cortex through gentle adjustments keeps the child healthy and up to speed with nervous system development – or what’s referred to as plasticity. The young brain is constantly growing and adapting and little bumps, falls or “kiddy stress” adversely affects development of the spine and nerve system.

Lastly (for now) there is no problem with utilising other therapies at the same time as chiropractic care. It is not a one-or-the-other intervention. Appropriate chiropractic care is a powerful adjunct to all learning and development. If you have any queries or concerns at this stage, please contact us here.


Dr Neil Bossenger, Chiropractor

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