Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
Although children with Autism have made gains, the mechanism of how Hyperbaric Oxygen effects this change is not fully understood. It is believed that up to 75% of children with Autism may have cerebral hypoperfusion (reduced blood flow in the brain). Several studies have reported that the location of cerebral hypoperfusion significantly correlates with certain autistic behaviors.
Hyperbaric Oxygen therapy provides oxygen in a pressurized form which allows the body to transfer more Oxygen to the tissue and more importantly the brain by increasing the plasma oxygen tension.
The Hyperbaric process involves 40 one hour sessions, two sessions each day for three weeks. A parent accompanies their child into our large hyperbaric chamber to help them feel more secure. We then slowly increase the surrounding pressure in the chamber, a sensation similar to what you experience in an aircraft while it is descending.
Once the final pressure is reached a clear vinyl hood (Plastic Bubble) is placed over the child's head and they are given 100% Oxygen to breathe for one hour. This process is done twice each day. In children with autism, the use of hyperbaric treatment using pressures up to 1.5 atm and 100% oxygen has been shown to be safe and well-tolerated.
"Children with autism who received Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy for 40 hourly sessions had significant improvements in overall functioning, receptive language, social interaction, eye contact, and sensory /cognitive awareness ." also "80% of the children had an improvement in overall functioning as rated by blinded physicians". 2009 multi-center blind trial headed by Daniel A Rossignol
Auditory Integration Therapy
A.I.T. also known as D.A.A (Digital Audio Aerobics.is a form of sensory stimulation which uses electronically modulated or filtered music to help retrain the ear and auditory system to work correctly. Dr. Guy Berard, who developed AIT, believed that hypersensitivity to sound, hearing distortions and delays in auditory signals could contribute to inefficient learning or learning disabilities.
Dr. Bernard Rimland's research found that 40% of people diagnosed with Autism suffered from hyper-processing of the auditory stimuli or 'hyperacusis' which would lead to social withdrawal, speech problems, tantrums and aggression. AIT has been shown to help improve dyslexia, speech/language development, responsiveness, activity levels, sensory processes, and social skills.
Retraining the acoustical reflex (muscle of the inner ear) helps target the areas of hearing where there are difficulties and even them out as much as possible, so that the child is not hypersensitive to certain frequencies which may act as a stimulus or trigger of unwanted behaviors in certain situations.
The process involves 20 sessions for 30 minutes with the child listening to modulated music tracks, 2 times each day for 10 days. If the child will actively participate, an audiogram is done at the start of the sessions and again at the half way point.
"The results of this study indicate that a course of AIT is likely to have significant beneficial effects for children with a diagnosis of Autism."2002 blind study by Rosalie Seymour, Speech Therapist and Audiologist
Combining Hyperarics and Auditory Integration Therapy
For many years we have provided Hyperbarics for children with CP and Adults that have suffered a Stroke but when we combine our Conductive Education (physical therapy) program we tend to see better results.
The purpose of doing Hyperbarics with a child with Autism is to try and help stimulate areas of the brain that may have lower levels of activity and if we can also supply Auditory Integration in combination, it would give both therapies the optimal chance of making progress. Every child is an individual and so is the progress that they may make. Both therapies are being offered as alternative therapies.