Autism & Chiropractic care at PCH Chiropractic

What is ASD?

Just like any other group of people, everyone is unique and different. That is also the case with autism spectrum disorder. This includes many different types of behaviors and/or challenges. It can show as challenges with social skills, repetitive behavior, speech and nonverbal communication, as well as learning disabilities, ADHD, anxiety, and emotional challenges.

Just like there are multiple types of autistic behaviors, there are also many causes. Not just one single one. It is usually a combination of genetics and environmental factors.

The brain is made up of two separate sides, called hemispheres. In ASD the two hemispheres do not interact with one another the way they normally should. One side might be hyperactive in some areas of the brain, and the other might be hypoactive in other areas. This can lead to poor sensory-motor integration and the symptoms range from hyper and hypo sensitivity to certain environmental factors and stimuli. Individuals with ASD might also have trouble relating and understanding their environment, facial expressions, and being able to react to their surroundings in a conventional manner.

Poor sensory-motor integration has been shown to be linked with motor problems in developmental disorders. This is why PCH Chiropractic takes a multi modal approach to working with people with autism. The doctors os PCH Chiropractic have over 38 yrs of combined experience is caring for those with ASD.

The number of children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum disorder is now 1/54. Up 10 percent since 2000. Boys are four times more likely to be diagnosed with autism than girls. Most children are diagnosed before the age of 4.

How does PCH Chiropractic work with people with autism?


Specific Chiropractic Adjustments

Autism is a brain issue. It is usually due to the miscommunication between the left brain and the right brain. Therefore, autism is directly related to your central nervous system.

Chiropractic care directly affects your central nervous system and can be extremely beneficial to children on the spectrum. Chiropractic care helps restore the normal balance between the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight) and the parasympathetic nervous system (rest/digest). Most children with autism are often stuck more in a fight or flight mode and that is why they are so sensitive to external stimuli. Those with ASD can often be triggered by things that seem inconsequential to the average population. (eg: clothing rubbing on their skin or food textures).

By restoring the normal balance between the 2 sides of the central nervous system, the patient often feels more relaxed and seem to help with sensory-motor integration.

Specific chiropractic adjustments for ASD
With specific chiropractic adjustments we are removing the interference between the brain and the rest of the body. Therefore, allowing the brain to be able to process information coming from their environment and better adapt to it.

Many children with ASD also have some gastrointestinal, sleep, and bed wetting issues. By restoring spinal alignment and removing the interference, normal functions sometimes results.

(Reed WR, Beavers S, Reddy SK, Kern G. Chiropractic management of primary nocturnal enuresis. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 1994 Nov-Dec;17(9):596-600. PMID: 7884329.) (Nath D. Complementary and Alternative Medicine in the School-Age Child With Autism. J Pediatr Health Care. 2017 May-Jun;31(3):393-397. doi: 10.1016/j.pedhc.2016.12.001. Epub 2016 Dec 22. PMID: 28017488.)

Drs Palmer and Catherine Peet will do a detailed spinal evaluation and determine if and where subluxations (spinal misalignments affecting the nervous system) are present and remove them with specific chiropractic adjustments.


Primitive Reflexes Evaluation and Integration

Primitive reflexes develop before birth. They are a special kind of reflex in the brainstem and they are involuntary reflexes that are present to help the baby with positioning in the womb, birthing, taking their first breath, urinating, feeding, and other essential actions to have them survive the first months/year of life.

However, primitive reflexes, should all be integrated in the brain and be replaced by postural reflexes within the first year mostly, with the exception of few that can take up to 3 ½ years to diminish.

If those primitive reflexes are not well integrated, it can interfere with the neurological organization of the brain. Therefore, motor, sensory, emotional, and behavioral issues can follow. This is due in part to the lack of proper communication between the 2 hemispheres of the brain, as sometimes one hemisphere can be maturing faster than the other.

This can lead to problems like: missed milestones, poor motor skills and coordination, difficulty with visual tracking, lack of muscle tone, impulsivity, difficulty reading facial expressions, cognitive and learning disabilities and many others.

When a patient on the autism spectrum comes to PCH Chiropractic, in some cases they will get evaluated for the integration of the primitive reflexes. If we find that some are retained. We will come up with a protocol of exercises and activities (movement is a great integrator) to help the child/person with integrating the retained reflex. Some research shows that most children with ASD have some type of primitive reflexes that have not been integrated. (
There are multiple causes of primitive reflexes retention:
  • Low birth weight
  • Birth trauma
  • Head trauma
  • Problem with blood flow to the brain
  • Neurological disease


Personalized Exercises

Each person with ASD is different. Therefore, when you come to PCH Chiropractic, we will put together exercises and a protocol specific to where that child/person is in their development.

These exercises will be based on their specific posture and neurological evaluation to help with sensory-motor integration. Brain stimulation with movement is not only therapeutic, but can also be a lot of fun.

Peet Chiropractic Health ASD exercise


Nutritional Recommendations

Most people with ASD also often have brain and gut inflammation that interfere with brain development and synchronization. Gastrointestinal issues are very common with people with ASD.

At PCH Chiropractic we will help you and guide you with some changes that can be done to diet to decrease the inflammation. The two most common food sensitivities are gluten and dairy.

However, it is more easily said than done since people with ASD are often picky eaters. Because of their hypersensitivity, textures, taste, sound all affect how they process and enjoy food. Therefore, we will recommend different food and meal preparation that kids will still enjoy and soon forget about their old favorite Mac N Cheese…

Schedule an Appointment

Ready to discover the benefits of chiropractic care? At PCH Chiropractic, Drs. Palmer and Catherine Peet are here to help you get the most out of your life and obtain the highest standard of health and wellness. Book your appointment today.