Autism and the Effects of Massage Therapy

The numerous therapies such as music, touch, speech, physical, audio/visual, and drugs are designed to alleviate symptoms and the subject of debate as to their effectiveness in particular cases among those more knowledgeable of this affliction. While no therapy can cure autism, their use whether individual or combined has been shown to ease the debilitating effects of the ailment. Playing sports is recognized as beneficial for most growing youths but has traditionally been an activity discouraged for autistic children because they lack the social skills required to compete. Therefore, as critics attest, the autistic child is handed yet another psychological setback in their life. However, therapy choices can be as varied as the individual child. Parents who want their autistic child to reap some of the same benefits other children derive from playing sports are trying methods such as massage therapy in combination with the chosen sporting activity.Whether contracted in the early fetal development stage or inherited, autism is a disorder that affects cognitive brain functions thus impeding a person’s ability to communicate effectively. The disorder distorts not only how people perceive sensory information but how the brain processes it as well. Autism is the most prevalent developmental disorder affecting one in every 166 children (How Common?, 2006). Symptoms of the disorder can be generally described as the incapability to adequately interact socially along with a disinterested demeanor. It is an abnormality in the structure of the brain caused by genetic predispositions or from damage occurring during the development phase (Bryson Smith, 1998). The severity of autism varies widely among individuals as does its related symptoms but there are certain aspects relating to social interaction shared by all with the disorder. Avoiding direct eye contact, distinctive body posturing and facial expressions, as well as other nonverbal communication deficiencies, are a common trait.