Introduction: This case report describes the effects of chiropractic care on a three-year-old girl who was previously diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) experiencing significant language delays as well as delays in other aspects of development including sociability, cognitive awareness, and behavior. The patient was followed for a period of seven months.
Presenting Concerns: A three-year-old girl diagnosed with ASD was brought into the chiropractic office by her mother for a trial of chiropractic care. The patient was non-verbal, walked on her toes and was often “off-balance” when walking. Temper tantrums often ensued when the patient was touched by someone. The patient’s mother was hoping for a general reduction of ASD symptoms.
Interventions: Chiropractic care commenced and initial treatment plan was to see the patient for 12 visits over a six-week period. The examination had to be tailored to the patient based on her ability and willingness to comply with instructions. Spinal manipulations,
also called chiropractic adjustments, were performed using a spring-loaded instrument.
Outcomes: The patient’s mother reported improvements in all areas of development over the course of the treatment. Improvements were
documented in cognitive awareness, sociability, and behavior, as measured objectively by the Autism Treatment Evaluation Checklist (ATEC), which the patient’s mother completed before treatment and after the initial six weeks. Before starting treatment, the ATEC composite score was 105; after six weeks of care the composite score dropped to 63. The patient’s mother, who was satisfied with the outcomes, chose to continue treatment and completed the ATEC monthly. After seven months of care, the ATEC composite score was a 32.
Conclusion: This case report helps to strengthen the relationship between correcting subluxations and the improvements in the myriad of symptoms of children diagnosed with ASD.
Author keywords: spinal manipulation, chiropractic adjustment, autism, neurodevelopmental disorders, ATEC
Author affiliations: Associate chiropractor in private practice, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, USA
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