This article is reprinted with permission: Fallows, A. Can autism be treated successfully with homeopathic medicine? Journal of the Australian Traditional Medicine Society, 20(2): 120-123.
I had just finished reading a book on treating Autism and was in the middle of reading another when the opportunity to assist a three year old boy with Autism presented itself at my clinic. Martin’s mother Kate had made an appointment for Martin’s chronic ear infections as there had been no improvement in his ear infections after five rounds of antibiotics. Armed with enthusiasm, insight and encouragement from my reading material, I relished the opportunity to speak with Kate about how we could treat Martin’s overall well being including his ear infections. Kate was amazed and excited with the possibilities presented.
The following case history is of a three year old boy clinically assessed as Autistic and his treatment with homoeopathic medicine. To protect the family’s privacy, the true names of the mother and son have been changed.
What is Autism and how is it assessed?
The term Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) includes Autism, Autistic Disorders, Aspergers Syndrome and Pervasive Developmental Disorder-not otherwise specified. (PDD-NOS). Autistic Spectrum Disorders are deemed to be lifelong developmental disabilities in social interaction, impaired communication, restricted and repetitive interests and behaviours and sensory sensitivities. The range of severity of the difficulties varies greatly. The Victorian branch of Autism Australia, Amaze, estimates that ASD affects 1 in 100-110 people with 4 times as many boys being affected as girls. Medically, it is deemed as a lifelong disorder with no cure.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, DSM1V, states that a total of six or more impairments from the following categories are needed for a person to be classified as having Autistic Disorder.
A. At least 2 of the following impairments in social interaction:
- Marked impairments in the use of multiple, non-verbal behaviours such as eye-to eye gaze, facial expression, body posture and gestures showing social interaction.
- Failure to develop peer relationships.
- A lack of spontaneous ability in sharing enjoyment, interests or achievements with others.
- A lack of social or emotional reciprocity such as a preference for solitary activities over participating in social play or involving others only as mechanical aids or tools.
B. At least one of the following impairments in communication.
- A delay or lack of development in spoken language with no ability to compensate through gesture or mime or alternative modes of communication.
- In persons of adequate speech, the marked impairment in the ability to initiate or sustain a conversation with others.
- Stereotyped and repetitive use of language.
- A lack of varied, spontaneous make-believe play or social imitative play appropriate to their development.
C.At least 2 of the following restricted and repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behaviour, interests and activities.
- preoccupation with one or more stereotyped and restricted patterns abnormal in intensity or focus.
- Inflexible adherence to specific, non-functional routines or rituals.
- stereotyped and repetitive motor mannerisms such as hand or finger flapping, twisting or complex whole body movements.
- persistent preoccupation with parts of objects.
(II) Delays or abnormal functioning in at least one of the following areas prior to 3yrs of age.
(A) social interaction
(B) language as used in social communication
(C) social or imaginative play.
(III) The disorder is not better accounted for by Rett’s Disorder or childhood Disintegrative Disorder.
Martin made very little eye contact. Absorbed in his own world he demonstrated an unusual walk, head tilted to one side with occasional flapping of his hands. Spasms seemed to move through his body in a downward fashion which added to what his mum would describe as a “drunk walk”.
As Martin entered the consultation room he sat on his mothers lap, his eyes rolling upward. He didn’t speak but he sounded cranky with an irritable murmur and grunting. Martin was constantly putting his fingers into his ears, nose, eyes and bottom. He had had a runny nose for 2 months which was worse in the mornings.
According to Kate, Martin is extremely sensitive to noise. He holds his hands up to cover his ears and scream if his mother tries to vacuum the carpets, use the mix master or if Dad mows the lawn.
Obsessions with anything linear, a drawn line or structure such as lines drawn on stairs, the edge of a door or table and even the drink coaster in the consultation room, Martin would visually fixate on all of these the lines and tilt his head to one side.
Martin’s Paediatrician had diagnosed Martin with possible Autism in Dec 2012 after his parents became concerned that he wasn’t speaking. He was not responding to his name being called and was screaming uncontrollably. Martin was referred for assessment with the Child Development Unit at the local Children’s hospital. Martin was assessed by the Developmental Paediatrician and Head of Child Development Unit, Senior Occupational Therapist and Social worker. Their diagnosis was consistent with a DSM-IV TR diagnosis of Autism.
All organ function tests were normal except for an elevated TSH level of 7.17
(normal range 0.33-6.70). Martin’s hearing test was normal.
Martin was vaccinated until he was 6 months old. His mum then withdrew him from the vaccination schedule after a rash developed on his back 2 weeks after his last vaccination.
Socially, Martin doesn’t know how to interact with other children. He will either ignore them totally or hug and kiss them. Usually he occupies himself in his own solitary world. He ignores adults unless he knows them well, but adores babies.
The pregnancy of Martin was normal. On delivery his head was tilted to one side, he was small at 2.7kg’s, appeared healthy and breathed normally. However Kate commented that it was a very stressful time for her and her husband when Martin was born and there were lots of arguments.
Martin eats a wide variety of foods but can’t chew. All food has to be mashed and his mum has to feed him. He has an aversion to anything new, be it food or a new pair of shoes. He loves puzzles and piggy back rides. He learns quickly and will remember things even if shown only once.
He sleeps well at night with heavy perspiration to his head. His hair is quite wet in the mornings like he has just got out of the shower.
The Homoeopathic treatment
My first homoeopathic medicine (Lycopodium) was given in 30c potency every second day for 4 doses with a follow up booked for 3 weeks. This prescription was given to begin detoxification while I did further research.
On the follow up appointment Martin appeared to be more alert with his eyes open and bright.
Then the homoeopathic simillimum, most fitting to Martin’s overall case presentation (Cicuta Virosa) was given in a 200c potency once a day for 2 days only, with a follow up scheduled for 3 weeks time.
This medicine was found under the following rubrics:
1.Mind, retardation, mental
2. Mind, ailments, quarrelling
3. Head, drawn, sideways
4. Eye, movement of eyeballs, rolling.
Martin’s mother Kate reported that after giving him this medicine, Martin began swearing angrily. Kate noted that he told her to “F… Off” 5 x in one day! In fact he told everyone to F… off” and said it in the right context.” He began repeating whatever his mum said in 3 or 4 word sentences and his therapists commented on this change. Kate also observed that her son was more engaged with his other therapists during their sessions. He wakes up in the morning happy and is not as sweaty. He has more energy and his sensitivity to noise was not as acute for one week. The medicine was repeated and again a significant improvement in speech and pronunciation with a few “f words thrown in to the mix” He has started answering questions that he understands rather than just repeating the question. He has started talking to himself and feeding himself and is now having a shower with his mum and loving it.
21/1/13. As Martin was beginning to tantrum a lot more, his eye contact had dropped and was obsessed with lines again and no other significant improvements were evident, I gave the indicated medicine 1/x day for 2 days in 1M potency and again on 11/3/13. Martin is then interested in reading books. His vocab is expanding. He remembers everything. “He no longer screams when I use the mix master.” He will say, “almost done?” He has even more energy and wants to stay up late at night. There is a willingness to try new foods and he is very excited about being able to jump with both feet. An obsession with linear objects remains.
On 22/4/13 Martin is given 2 doses of the 10M potency of his medicine as his sinuses are blocked and Martin’s obsession of linear objects is still quite prevalent. A change in potency of the selected homoeopathic medicine is now expected to result in improvement in these areas of Martin’s health and development.