Many parents want to know how homeopathic treatment could help their child on the Autism Spectrum.
Although it is tempting to self prescribe or to read about homeopathic remedies that have worked for others and to want to try them this is not an approach that I would recommend.
It is encouraging to read about how homeopathy has helped other children on the spectrum and can give you a good idea of what is involved in the homeopathic process. There are several books of homeopathic cases studies including those by the Reichenbergs, Tinus Smits and Linlee Jordan, and my own, which takes more of an overview, all of which can give you a sense of what to expect from homeopathic treatment.
There is no one homeopathic remedy for autism and choosing the most appropriate homeopathic medicine for your child or indeed yourself requires many years of training and experience. A brief overview of three studies as to the frequency of homeopathic remedies prescribed leads to a list of thirty four remedies, but even if you had the knowledge to choose which of these was the most appropriate to take, you would also need to know about how frequently to take the homeopathic remedy, and when to stop, repeat or change the homeopathic remedy.
Research, and personal experience, has shown that it can take awhile for even the most skilled homeopath to find a remedy that really helps the child. Will there be one remedy that really helps the child or will they require a series of two or three or more remedies? The sort of change that I want to see is the type of change that others will notice and comment on ‘What have you been doing to help your child so much?’ The changes can be most observable in social skills in public, the changes that go on ‘behind closed doors’ are often dramatic in terms of improved family relationships, eating a wider range of foods and less repetitive or aggressive behaviour.
Homeopathy involves a different way of thinking about health and disease as it is about treating the whole rather than separate parts. Conventional medicine tends to view the body as unconnected separate parts. For example one orthodox medication might be given for epileptic fits, another for eczema and another to help with mood; whereas homeopathy is looking for a single remedy to treat the person and their unique symptom expression. Emotional symptoms, fears, food cravings, body temperature are all taken into account, in addition to the physical and specifically autistic symptoms, in choosing the homeopathic remedy for each individual.
It is relatively easy to make little improvements here and there, but dramatic change requires a depth of understanding and knowledge about homeopathic remedies leant through in-depth study. There are over 3500 homeopathic remedies to choose from; obviously some of these homeopathic remedies will be indicated more often than others.
I have been practicing as a homeopath for 25 years and I am still learning. Having had a number of children with ASD in my practice I wanted to look at what other homeopaths around the world were doing and at the types of results that they were achieving in clinical practice. I looked at any published papers that I could find from around the world and spoke to many colleagues. This has not only informed and improved my practice, and the help that I am able to give to struggling children and their families, but in publishing Homeopathy and Autism Spectrum Disorder A guide for Practitioners and Families I have collected this research together to be a useful resources for parents/carers, other healthcare professionals and indeed other homeopaths.
The homeopath needs to ask the type of questions that no one may have asked before to understand the specific way in which each individual is affected by or expresses their autism. If a child has been unwell since a particular point in time this needs to be investigated. The homeopath needs to be aware of a range of different treatment strategies to be able to offer the best homeopathic approach to each individual.
For example, some homeopaths consider that a well prescribed constitutional remedy based on the totality of the patient’s symptoms will help the body to naturally chelate heavy metals; other homeopaths that specific homeopathic celation remedies need to be used. To find out what works in practice we need as homeopaths to share information and record results; perhaps Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis could be used as a way of measuring levels of heavy metals at different stages in the treatment. As homeopaths we tend to rely on observable and reported changes from the individual, parents and carers. Although there has been some good research on the outcomes of homeopathic treatment in ASD where evaluation tools such as ATEC and CARS have been used to evaluate treatment.
I have written extensively in my book about what to expect from, and managing expectations, of homeopathic treatment. Homeopathic treatment is certainly not about prescribing a miracle pill; perseverance and commitment is required on the part of both homeopath and parent/carers. There will be setbacks along the way. Careful observation is required by all those involved, both in understanding the patient initially and in assessment of response to homeopathic remedies prescribed.
Over time parents can become able to tell which of the remedies their child has been prescribed needs to be repeated. Parental feedback and observation is a vital part of the homeopathic therapeutic relationship.
In one case recently, having prescribed a number of remedies over the years which had helped a boy greatly with many health problems and developmental issues, we had come to a bit of an impasse and the usually helpful remedies were not working so well any more . I tried a new remedy which seemed to make big changes but they were short lived, repeating the remedy weekly produced an increased environmental awareness with very observable changes such as turning the light on/ off for the first time and improved toileting.
Each case and each child is different; not only in terms of finding the homeopathic remedy that suits them, but also in terms of how often they require the remedy to be administered. Homeopathy is a beautiful system of medicine, which needs to be understood by the prescriber in all of its complexity to give the best results for your child. Beautiful because of the principles on which it is based and the rewarding changes it can bring about in patients of all ages.
Book details
Homeopathy and Autism Spectrum Disorder A guide for Practitioners and Families
Mike Andrews June 2014 208pp ISBN 9781848191686 paperback £15.99
Singing Dragon/ Jessica Kingsley Publishers London and Philadelphia