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.
On his next follow up.(7) It was revealed that Martin was quite grumpy for 5 weeks where there was a return and aggravation of many symptoms with considerable improvement in other aspects of his development.(Homoeopaths know that return of old symptoms is a welcome sign that things will again improve considerably once the aggravation subsides.) Tantrums, hand flapping, rolling of the eyes, itchy ears, facial squinting and verbal stemming all became worse for this period of time with improvement thereafter. Martin’s sinuses cleared following this potency and improvements were noticed in his social and motor skills. Kate noted that Martin has been friendly with a little girl in his play group by inviting her to play with him on the car, he is now toilet trained and no longer needs to go with his Dad to the bathroom. Loud noises such as the vacuum cleaner, lawn mower or mix master no longer bother him and he recently helped mum put the vacuum cleaner away. Martin is now able to ride his bike and jump off the stairs with confidence. He is also able to chew his food. Since there was such a long aggravation after this potency I decided to wait before repeating the dose again.
On the next follow up (8) Martin has had the flu with similar aggravations as highlighted in his 7th follow up. His social engagement is also affected. The 10M potency is again repeated for 2 doses.
The subsequent two follow up’s, which I elected to do by email, revealed, an itchy skin rash had returned, which was the same kind of itchy rash Martin used to get on his legs and bottom between the ages of 12months- 2.5years. This was a welcome sign as any return of old symptoms is an excellent unravelling of Martins case and is representative of his immune system being challenged again. There was also some constipation after his dad got upset with him and Martin became quite stressed. This cleared with another dose of the medicine and Martin is now happy again. Kate also reports that Martin can now chew his food perfectly and can now play jokes on her and her husband by deliberately swapping their names around and laughing about it.
Martin’s strange obsession with linear objects and body spasms, now limited to just his head and not the entire body, have gone through considerable improvement but have not yet quite resolved.
The 50m potency was then given once a day for 2 doses.
After this prescription Martin and his mother had the flu and a fever of 39 degree’s. His mother elected to go to the doctor’s for Antibiotics. Martin has just had his 4th birthday. After the antibiotics Kate reports that Martin had regressed in terms of his speech and repetitive behavioural habits. He was using words out of context, not making any sense. He was clearly out of sorts, screaming about having a bath, getting his hair combed and not wanting to play. The indicated homoeopathic medicine was repeated and his mood, social interactions and language development improved. Before coming for this follow up his mum was clearly delighted to see her son happy and initiating playing with his three year old cousin on their trampoline.
Today in the clinic Mark is engrossed with his ipad. He is learning the process of making paper planes. He says to me, paper no1, paper no 2! Martin’s spasms and linear obsessions were less frequent but are now increasing in frequency. Kate also notices that Martin continues to appear uncoordinated when he runs. His body is turned slightly sideways, his knees sometimes giving way and his hands hang loose like they are not attached to his body. The CM potency is now given once a day for 2 days with a follow up in 2 weeks time.
Recent blood tests show that Martin’s thyroid function was now within the normal range: the reading for his TSH level was 5.65mIU/L, reduced from 7.17(his reading before homoeopathic treatment.)
Although this case is still in progress, the clinical observations and interactions of this child after homoeopathic treatment have resulted in considerable improvement in cognitive function, social interaction and language development. There has also been a great improvement in muscle strength, a complete resolution of sensory sensitivities and a considerable reduction in repetitive and ritualistic behaviours.
Ann Fallows currently practices in Kenthurst NSW Australia. For further information and enquires please visit www.hhawp.com.au and contact [email protected]
1.Lansky. A.L, 2007, Impossible Cure: The Promise of Homeopathy 3rd printing, R L Ranch Press California:
2.Smits T M.D, 2010. Autism Beyond Despair Cease Therapy,1st Ed, Emryss Publishers, treating Autism- Cease Therapy
3.Schroyens.F. Dr, 1998, Synthesis Repertorium Homeopathicum Syntheticum, ed 7.1., Homeopathic Book Publishers London
- Schroyens.F Dr,2001,Synthesis Repertorium Homeopathicum Syntheticum, ed 8.1. London, Homoeopathic Book Publishers.
5.Vermuelen.F, 2000, Concordant Materia Medica,millenium ed,Emryss bv publishers, Haarlem, The Netherlands.
6.Master.F.J, 2003. Clinical Observations of Children’s Remedies, 2nd Revised Ed, Published by Rene Otter Lutra Services BV, The Netherlands.
7.Case history from the files of The Homoeopathic Health & Well being Practice, Practitioner, Ann Fallows ph: 88850 7822. m:0439 499085
*To protect the family’s privacy, the true names of the mother and son have been changed.