Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Autism Helped Thorugh Cranial Sacral Therapy

Rafael is a seven-year-old boy from Africa diagnosed with
severe autism. His family moved to the United States in order
to find better services for him. He scored fifty-seven initially on
the Childhood Autism Rating Scale, which is the highest end of
the severely autistic range.

Rafael was essentially nonverbal, very aggressive, and scared of
people.He experienced nightly sleep disturbances. He was highly
agitated and difficult to console, which are traits of social and language
disabilities within the autism spectrum. Severe motor disturbances
(executional praxis) were also apparent, as he could not imitate any
actions or carry out independent motions.

Rafael was referred to our clinic for occupational therapy with
Sensory Integration, but the family was seeking CranioSacral Therapy
as well. He was enrolled in a private special education program
and received speech therapy at another clinic.

Though the entire craniosacral system first appeared to be completely
restricted, there was eventually a cranial rhythm detected in the feet.
Still point inductions were the primary means of intervention
for several weeks.

By the six-month mark, eighty percent of Rafael’s intervention
was CranioSacral Therapy. By this time he was sleeping through
each night, plus the family found it quite easy to direct him toward
bed. They used to have to drive him around for miles to help him
fall asleep every night. This had been their ritual for nine years of
their son’s life.

Rafael began to follow simple directions and to use four or five
signs for communication. He was also starting to utter recognizable
words at times. This improvement did not emerge until the onset of
CranioSacral Therapy, even though he had received work in this
area for months prior.

Another change was in Rafael’s behavior at school. The day used
to consist of the staff preventing him from hurting himself or others.
Now he was able to participate in the learning process. His aggression,
manifested in grabbing people by the throat, had been reduced by
ninety to ninety-five percent. (He would still resort to this
communication tactic during extreme moments of stress.)

There was significant increase in eye contact, smiling, and overall
mood improvement. Rafael showed agitation less than ten percent
of the time. Eventually it became clear that an underlying illness
was imminent at these times of behavioral deteriorations. During
the six months prior to the start of CranioSacral Therapy, he used
to cry incessantly. Crying was now reported as being minimal,
even rare, occurring only when he was not feeling well. This
improvement was a major relief for his parents and other
family members.

Rafael’s father,who is a scientist, especially wanted the Cranio-
Sacral Therapy to continue as part of his son’s ongoing health

Susan Vaughan Kratz,OTR, BCP
CranioSacral Therapy Practitioner since 2000
Jackie Kucharski,OTR
CranioSacral Therapy Practitioner since 2002

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