Every parent dreams of raising their child in the healthiest possible manner and they strive to provide them with an optimum standard of living. However, there are a few instances wherein children develop health conditions such as autism spectrum disorders, that can hamper their very long-term health, wellbeing, and happiness.
What is an Autism Spectrum Disorder?
Autism is a complex neurodevelopmental disorder that usually manifests quite early in young children, significantly hindering their social and psychological development. The causes of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are still being researched by medical experts. Scientists and researchers suggest prenatal or perinatal complications, genetic or environmental factors, etc. as some of the primary causes for the occurence of autism.
Autism spectrum disorders are believed to occur due to the lack of oxygenated blood supply in certain areas of the brain that control basic cognitive functions such as memory, speech, motor skills, recognition, etc. This results in fluctuating behavioral patterns and difficulties in communication. In numerous cases, autism patients tend to face social exclusion owing to their inability to interact with the rest of the community. These factors can cause immense emotional trauma to the patients and their parents or caregivers.
Timely diagnosis of ASD and swift implementation of treatment solutions such as hyperbaric therapy can facilitate healing and recovery in patients.
To comprehend the efficacy of hyperbaric therapy for autism treatment, a brief insight into the treatment procedure has been listed herein:
What is Hyperbaric Therapy?
Hyperbaric Therapy or Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) is an alternative treatment solution that is rapidly gaining popularity as an effective relief measure for autistic individuals.
Hyperbaric therapy for autism is a non-invasive procedure prescribed by hyperbaric specialists, after a meticulous evaluation of the medical requirements of the individual patient.
On commencement of HBOT, the patient is placed in a pressurized cylindrical capsule that is sterile and equipped with a large, sealed, clear glass panel, through which the clinical staff can monitor the entire process. Thereafter, the patient is systematically administered oxygen through a tube or face mask at enhanced pressure levels, that are approximately three times greater than normal atmospheric pressure and can vary between 1.2 atm to 5 atm.
How Does Hyperbaric Therapy for Autism Provide Relief to Patients?
Oxygen is a proven natural healer and forms the basis for hyperbaric therapy. HBOT has been prescribed by physicians for a number of years, as a treatment for varied ailments ranging from chronic wounds and gas embolism to burn injuries and decompression sickness.
Over the years, eminent hyperbaric researchers have conducted numerous studies to ascertain the effectiveness of hyperbaric therapy for autism treatment and discovered several positive outcomes.
The pure oxygen that is introduced to the patient in the pressurized hyperbaric chamber instantly boosts the supply of oxygenated blood to all the dormant and injured parts of the brain. This therapy helps rejuvenate the damaged brain tissues and aids the proliferation of fresh blood cells, thereby initiating the restoration of impaired cognitive abilities.
Hyperbaric therapy for autism treatment in children has proven to be beneficial in innumerable cases, and it can be administered through a large medical facility or within the comfort of one’s home. HBOT does not require overnight hospitalization. It involves 60 to 90 minute sessions, around two to four times a week, and spans over two or more months, depending on the medical requirements of the patient.
Has Hyperbaric Therapy Been a Successful Treatment Option for Autistic Children?
A few success stories of HBOT for autism patients have been mentioned herein, to provide a better perspective on the benefits of hyperbaric therapy for autism and related conditions in children:
- Makayla’s success with HBOT therapy:
Makayla was just four months old when she experienced her first bout of seizures. This was immediately followed by Grade 4 bilateral bleeding that induced a comatose state. Makayla’s doctors had given up hope and informed her parents that she may live the rest of her life in a vegetative state. The doctors were unable to determine the reason for her condition but diagnosed her with autism related cerebral palsy as the seizures became a regular occurrence.
Subsequently, Makayla came out of her coma but suffered a brain hemorrhage during a prolonged seizure, after which her parents took the initiative of trying hyperbaric therapy. Currently, Makayla has been displaying steady improvement in her visual coordination after undergoing HBOT, as she is able to slowly focus her gaze on the object of her attention. Furthermore, the seizures have decreased drastically post the HBOT treatment.
- David’s Battle with Autism:
David was diagnosed with Autism at the age of two. Subsequently, his cognitive skills steadily declined as his initial vocabulary dropped from 75 words to almost nil. As David turned completely non-verbal, his parents decided to try hyperbaric therapy. They were elated with the fact that he spoke his first word inside the hyperbaric chamber during his first ongoing HBOT session, after being verbally unresponsive for such a long time.
Since then, David has been undergoing HBOT on a regular basis as his parents have installed a portable hyperbaric chamber at home. On completion of his 25th hyperbaric session, David was able to construct phrases and converse with improved coherence outside the chamber. The consultant physicians are amazed by David’s progress and are truly confident about his path to a near normal recovery.
- Chase’s Hyperbaric Road to Recovery from Autism:
The journey of Chase began with early symptoms such as being reclusive, fluctuating behavioral patterns, inability to express emotions, etc. His parents were anxious about his volatile outbursts and decided to consult two physicians. They were distraught when their child was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.
Despite facing multiple emotional and practical odds, they opted to treat Chase with hyperbaric therapy.
Chase displayed a huge improvement in his behavior and cognitive abilities after the first 40 sessions of HBOT, prompting his parents to enroll him for more sessions. Chase has been consistently showing remarkable progress in his condition after successive HBOT sessions and is able to maintain steady eye-contact whilst indulging in stable social interactions with his peers. This definitive transition in little Chase has strongly reaffirmed his parents’ faith in this alternative treatment plan.
These success stories have encouraged parents to opt for hyperbaric therapy for autism treatment, instead of the more traditional options.
The Centers for Disease Control, United States, has indicated that an estimated 3.5 million American nationals suffer from autism related conditions, and these numbers have been increasing at an alarming rate since the last two decades.
With approximately 1 percent of the world population being affected by ASD, the need of the hour is to adapt appropriate solutions such as hyperbaric therapy for autism treatment, in order to ensure a healthy life for future generations.