SuDhriti

SuDhriti

Autism is a neuro developmental disorder, where a child finds it challenging to communicate and socially interact with other people. The symptoms become evident in the first 3 years of life as they start to show repetitive behavior, suffer from sensory issues and have very less control over their emotions amongst other symptoms. In the past, Autism used to be a rare condition, but now 1 in every 88 children is diagnosed with the disorder.


The symptoms associated with Autism undoubtedly cause children a lot of discomfort and pain. Due to their inability to express or communicate their feelings to their parents, their emotions manifest in other forms such as self-stimulation, self-destruction, tantrums, refusing to eat etc.

Factors Associated with Development of Autism

Several factors may influence the development of autism, and it is often accompanied by sensory sensitivities and medical issues such as gastrointestinal (GI) disorders, seizures or sleep disorders, as well as mental health challenges such as anxiety, depression and attention issues.

According to Ayurveda, our mind has three qualities: Dhee, Dhriti and Smrithi.

Dhee means intellectual power, Dhriti means coordination, and Smrithi means memory. Most of the time children suffering from ASD are more intelligent and have a better memory than an average child, but they have coordination issues.


Association between Gut Micro biota and Autism Spectrum disorders

Studies have revealed several potential causes of this disease, such as genetic abnormalities, deregulation of the immune system, inflammation and environmental factors. Studies have also suggested that the gut has an important role in the etiology of ASD. Recently, interactions between the gut and the brain in ASD have received considerable attention and once we go through the symptoms of the patient we can identify the involvement of the gut impairment. Common Gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms include: constipation, abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, and flatulence.

“The health of the Digestive tract can play a crucial role in alleviating many of the symptoms associated with ASD.”

According to Ayurveda, Agni– the Digestive fire that controls metabolism, is the element responsible for keeping toxins away by denying the entry of extrinsic toxins into the system and by detoxifying internalized toxins.

If toxins, extrinsic or intrinsic get accumulated in the system due to improper functioning of Agni, all the fine channels and pathways inside (we call it Srothas in Ayurveda) are affected due to functional clogging. This is more elicited when pathways facilitating the activities of mind are involved in the toxic chain.

According to Ayurveda, mind is the vehicle, communicating between the sensory organs (Jnanendriyas), organs of action (Karmendriyas), the impulses among them, and at times creating intermediary self-driven actions. So any distortion of the channels of mind leads to the distortion of sensory perception and motor responses at all levels of operation.


Treatment Protocol for Managing Autism with Ayurveda

By considering the above factors, for treating ASD at our hospital, Illom Ayurveda, we designed a protocol known as ASHTANGA protocol to correct the root cause of the disorder.




Ahara

According to Ayurveda Ahara (food) is responsible for both manasika swasthyam (Mental health) and sareera swasthyam (Physical health) . Ahara is considered as one of the upasthambhas (key pillars) of life in Ayurveda. In today’s life, altered habits of food consumption has led to various diseases.

Guidelines for proper consumption of food

  • Maintain regular timings for consuming your meals.
  • Avoid eating uncooked or raw foods.
  • Eat in a clean and peaceful environment after washing your hands properly.
  • Feed the child according to his hunger, don’t force them.
  • Food should be consumed at least a couple of hours before bed time.
  • Encourage eating slowly after properly chewing the food.
  • Always use warm water to drink.
  • Don’t talk or laugh while eating.
  • Have food along with family members at least once in a day.
  • Opt for locally grown fresh produce for cooking
  • Avoid processed and junk foods.
  • Always eat fresh and hot foods.

Dietary Restrictions

Foods to include: pure ghee, coconut oil, rice without removing the bran, buttermilk, fresh fruit or vegetable juice, spices such as ginger, coriander, cardamom, turmeric, fenugreek, fruits that are sweet, mutton.

Foods to exclude: milk and milk products, wheat and wheat products such as bread, biscuits etc, seafood and other meat, fried foods, spicy food, cold foods or drinks, artificially fermented foods, mixed fruits, candy, soft drinks and other processed or junk foods, sour foods, eggs.

Spiritual Thoughts

As we all know that there is an eternal force that controls this universe. When we face more difficult situations in life economically, facility wise, tension wise, health wise etc, it’s the time we act on our Karma (Sins). So, from that point of view in this situation the kid is the one who helps the parents to reduce their Karma (Sins). That is why they are called “Lucky Parents”. All the religions aim is to spread the positive vibes and it helps those who go through such tough situations. The spiritual way of thinking helps the parents to get the mental strength they need to survive this hardship and be proud as a parent of autistic kid.

For that, we should surrender ourselves to the spiritual thoughts and should overcome the difficult situation by practicing positivity. Because as a parent of autistic kid, they should be ready to manage all the highs and lows that happen in their child’s life.

Healing hand of nature

Nature has huge healing powers and being in balance with nature is important for our physical and psychological well-being. Researches demonstrated that, after just an hour of interacting with nature, memory performance and attention span improves, and symptoms of anxiety and depression are reduced drastically.

Nowadays children don’t have proper contact with nature, so as a family we need to make a conscious effort to connect with nature.

  • Try to walk barefoot through natural surfaces like grass, mud, sand etc.
  • Try to imitate natural sounds of birds, animals etc and note whether the child is responding to it.
  • Involve the child in gardening or watering of plants.
  • Spend some time under a banyan tree to have more exposure to the oxygenated air.

Therapy integration

Integrating other therapies such as speech therapy, social skills training, occupational therapy, physical therapy and behavioral therapy along with Ayurveda have been found beneficial in treating children suffering with ASD.

Ayurvedic Treatment

Ayurvedic treatment can be classified into two categories: 1. Internal Medicines, 2. External Therapies.


Internal medicines

As the first step, treatment is scheduled for 21 days. In the first week internal medications are prescribed to improve Agni or digestive fire to start loosening the accumulated toxins in the body. In the second week detoxification is carried out that will help in better assimilation of drugs given in the future. In the third phase medications that cross the blood brain barrier are prescribed to stimulate the brain functions.

External therapies

External therapies such as Abhyangam, Udwarthanam, Thalapothichil, Shirodhara, etc. are prescribed according to the body constitution of the child for sensory integration. These procedures helps to stimulate panchendriyas(the five senses) , and improve communication between the sensory organs (Jnanendriyas) and organs of action (Karmendriyas).

Naadisudhi-through Yoga and Marma Therapy

Apart from love and happiness, mental stress and tension become part of our daily life for Autistic families. One of the main solutions to achieving equilibrium is preparing the mind and body to adjust with the lifestyle and circumstances by practicing yoga.

Parents can start doing simple yogic postures, that the child can see and imitate. Doing Yogic practices together with all the family members improves the bond and ensures some quality time together.

Gut correction and rhythmic living

Gastrointestinal symptoms such as abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, flatulence are common among autistic patients.

So to relieve such symptoms the following measures need to be taken:

  • Proper healthy diet at regular timings.
  • Reduce / avoid the use of fried and spicy items.
  • Avoid the use of heavy foods.
  • Internal medications should be taken regularly.
  • Maintain a proper daily routine.

Biological rhythms in Autism

Biological rhythms are repeating cycles of activity which occur in living organisms. It is like a master clock that coordinates other clocks in the body. That biological clock correction can be done with a proper daily routine. That include:

• Waking up at the same time
• Excretion of urine and stool
  • Ensure the daily voiding of urine and stool.
  • Enquire the reason if not voided daily.
  • Give plenty of water and fibrous foods which helps in easy voiding of urine and stool.
  • Advise them to go to the toilet at same time every day.
• Taking a bath
  • Daily try to take a bath at the same time.
  • Pour water on head for at least 20 min.
  • Apply oil on head and body before bath.
  • Ensure the use of warm water for the body and cold water for the head.
• Quality Sleep
  • Should sleep a minimum of 8 hrs daily.
  • Don’t sleep at day time (in summer season and when you are too tired you can sleep for a small interval of time).
  • Do not sleep on the floor.
• Exercise regularly at least for 30 minutes.
• Practice yoga daily.

Art of Positive Parenting

As a parent of an autistic child, most of them feel they have done or haven’t done something which caused their child this condition. It is a perfectly natural feeling, but one needs to understand that you can overcome this rather difficult situation with a strong family bond and social support from extended family and friends. Parents should understand each other and support each other with their daily struggles to create a calm and nurturing environment for their child.


What can we do? (as a parent)

  • Recognize that your emotions are normal.
  • Ensure there is love and mutual understanding between the parents.
  • Avoid over expectation from the child.
  • Avoid situations that cause anxiety.
  • Be optimistic.
  • Understand that the condition of your child is not because of you.
  • Encourage their abilities as they grow up.
  • Forget their disabilities.
  • Believe in god.
  • Participate in support groups with other autistic children and their families.
  • Read books to learn about scientific knowledge about the disease.

Always be positive

  • Always be proud about your child in public.
  • Avoid the habit of sharing information about the child’s behavior, bad habits etc with others.
  • Strictly avoid teaching of discipline in front of the public.
  • Involve them in religious rituals and celebrations.
  • Participate along with them in social events.
  • Allow him/her to spend more time with their friends.
  • Teach them to encourage others.
  • Be mindful of the screen time the child is exposed to (Mobile, TV, etc).
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