Working with Autism – a homeopathic framework
Before working with Autism there needs to be a clear understanding of what any treatment needs to address. Looking at this from past cases, where homeopathy has been useful, and looking at other therapies there seem to be three areas that need to be addressed.
- Those elements of the case that seem to be predisposing factors e.g. a particular trauma or incident that seems to mark the day from which symptoms started to develop. This can be in utero or in the early months, it can also be in the family history. The trauma may also not be the cause but only added markedly to the situation.
- It seems to very common in Autism that the individual has digestive and assimilation issues. Very common to the point where every therapist must take account of this and have options of ways to attend to this. This may present as allergies to certain foods, it may be unsettled bowels and it may be as extreme as a condition called “Leaky Gut”. Wherever the symptoms are on this spectrum they need to be considered.
- In some cases it is hard to see the individual within but if the therapy is to make any progress the process must also have ways of finding and reaching the individual.
While many therapies can attend to one of these areas and do combine with other therapies to cover all three, Homeopathy is privileged in that it has methods that can access all three. Equally it can work along side and extend the effectiveness of other therapies. One of the most common reports to good homeopathic prescribing would be something like; my son has a new teacher at school, she really understands him and he is now doing well. Or, we recently seem to be having a break through with the occupational therapist. Or, we have seen very little change at home but in school he is mixing and has made friends.
In so many therapies things are done to us, we become vulnerable to the process. In homeopathy we start to get choice back, we engage and this is very important in autism, as a key disturbance is lack of meaningful and helpful engagement with others.
What defines homeopathy?
The first principle in homeopathy is treating like with like; that which can cause a disturbance can also resolve it.
This principle is not purely observed in homeopathy. In the conventional treatment of hyperactivity Ritalin (methylphenidate), a known stimulant, is used in small doses to calm hyperactive children. An even more common area is in radiotherapy, where materials that we are well aware can causes cancers, are used to kill the cancers.
The second principle is the process should follow the law of cure. That is:
- Symptoms should move from more important to less important organs e.g. treating kidney issues might give a skin rash.
- Symptoms move from the centre outward, this may show as a skin disease remaining on some extremities when it has predominantly gone from elsewhere. Or a digestive problem responds with a skin rash. There is a centripetal action that can be observed.
- Symptoms may move down the body, this is often observed in Chicken Pox.
- Lastly there is also a reserve order of symptoms. There is a replay of earlier symptoms, called a return of old symptoms. So symptoms long gone, say since being a teenager, may reappear. This last version of “law of cure” is particularly useful and gives credence to the individual moving in the right direction.
These principles are not what are seen as controversial in homeopathy. Homeopathy gleans its doubters and critics from its use of very diluted substances. This process of ultra dilution, called potentisation, allows homeopaths to use even very poisonous substance without harming the individual. It also means when you are working with very sick people you are not adding to any toxicology.
The remedies work because the homeopath individualises them to the person not to the disease. This, of course makes double blind testing, as it is currently applied, a very weak tool to demonstrate the efficacy of homeopathy.
How is homeopathy used in a case where there are symptoms of autism?
In all cases where autism, ADHD and issues with development are concerned the three areas outlined above all need to be addressed (the condition, the individual, the gut).
This will result in a slightly varying range of treatment methods depending on the circumstances:
- Where there is a clear picture of the individual’s current state. This may be because other therapies have dealt with other issues (for instance diet may have sorted out the gut issues). In these cases a clear remedy picture emerges for the child and this may be given, perhaps only once, in the form of 2 or 3 tablets over 24 hours. This is not the usual situation but, equally, not rare. The case would be reviewed after a month.
- Individual with clear etiology. More commonly there is a clear picture of a remedy but there is also clear picture of an etiology that needs to be attended to. Here the prescription may consist of a remedy or remedies for the etiological issues, often given once a week and followed by the remedy for the individual given another day that week. Here remedies like DPT and MMR may be used on their remedy picture more than as “never been week since” vaccination prescriptions. In this model the individual remedy will usually be supported by an associated remedy for the gut symptoms, even if good progress has already been made in this area.
- The individual is subsumed by the state. Where there is more disturbance or estrangement, then the homeopath would look towards the CEASE method. CEASE (complete elimination of autistic spectrum expression) where each and every layer of toxicology is given as an isopathic prescription. This is combined with remedies/supplements for the individual and for the gut. This programme takes several months.
So programmes for treatment might look as follows:
|Week 1 day 1||LYCOPODIUM 1M taken night, morning, night||In one month|
|Week 1||MMR 30||SILICEA 1M||GAERTNER 200|
|Week 2||MMR 200||SILICEA1M||GAERTNER 200|
|Week 3||MMR 1M||PULSATILLA 1M||GAERTNER 200|
|Week 4||MMR 10M||PULSATILLA 1M||GAERTNER 200|
|Week 5||DPT 30||PULSATILLA 1M||GAERTNER 200|
|Week 6||DPT 200||PULSATILLA 1M||GAERTNER 200|
|Week 7||DPT 1M||PULSATILLA 1M||GAERTNER 200|
|Week 8||DPT 10M||PULSATILLA 1M||GAERTNER 200|
Here the remedies made from the vaccines are given on their homeopathic picture rather than specifically for removing any toxic effect of a particular vaccine. The family may have felt the condition emanated from the day after the vaccine or not. That is not the sole reason for choice here.
In the case shown here the reaction to the MMR 200 was an immediate temperature which passed with two doses of BELLADONNA 200 and similarly with DPT 1M there was a temperature reported as ”exactly the same symptoms blocked nose, temperature as after vaccination”. Again it was easily dealt with by a single dose BELLADONNA 200. These two acute reactions do convey that the vaccines had a part to play but equally the “return of old symptoms” demonstrates clearly the law of cure.
Elsewhere I have described the homeopathic picture of these two vaccines and they are both very helpful in working with autism.
The remedy in the Friday column is given to support the disturbance in the gut. These remedies are called bowel nosodes and are chosen by their picture and how they relate to the individual remedy given on the Wednesday.
In this case the MMR and DPT were given ascending as there seemed to have been quite a strong reaction to the vaccines, in another case the prescription might look more like this:
|Week 1||DPT 200||STRAMONIUM 10M||MORGAN GAERTNER 200|
|Week 2||TUBERCULINUM 1M||LYCOPODIUM 1M||MORGAN GAERTNER 200|
|Review after 4 weeks|
|Week one||MMR 200||VERATRUM ALB 200||SAC ALB 200|
|Week two||MMR 200||VERATRUM ALB 200||SAC ALB 200|
|Week three||MMR 200||VERATRUM ALB 200||SAC ALB 200|
|Week four||MMR 200||VERATRUM ALB 200||SAC ALB 200|
|The continue||VERATRUM ALB 200||SAC ALB 200|
I tend to use the 200th potency for the vaccine remedy when its given as a remedy picture or as a nosode. I feel this is the most dynamic potency.
In this second case I opted to use SAC ALB (Sacharum album. Cane sugar) rather than a bowel nosode but its application was for the same reason as giving an indicated bowel nosode.
I tend to use this third day prescription in place of extended use of supplements. Often the choice to use supplements has already been investigated by the family and I do not alter anything that’s already in place (unless it clearly the wrong thing to do). I do support and encourage the use of Casein and Gluten (dairy and wheat) free diet in many cases and I do encourage the use of probiotics to re-establish bowel flora. Beyond this I think you need a high level of knowledge and experience of nutrition to make any confident advice. I also find that the bowel nosodes, in particular, help dramatically.
|Week 1||Hep A 30||Lycopodium 200||Bacillus-7 200|
|Week 2||Hep A 200||Lycopodium 200||Bacillus-7 200|
|Week 3||Hep A 1M||Lycopodium 200||Bacillus-7 200|
|Week 4||Hep A 10M||Lycopodium 200||Bacillus-7 200|
|Week 5||Variocella 30||Lycopodium 200||Bacillus-7 200|
|Week 6||Variocella 200||Lycopodium 200||Bacillus-7 200|
|Week 7||Variocella 1M||Lycopodium 200||Bacillus-7 200|
|Week 8||VAriocella 10M||Lycopodium 200||Bacillus-7 200|
|Week 9||Hep B 30||Lycopodium 200||Bacillus-7 200|
|Week 10||Hep B 200||Lycopodium 200||Bacillus-7 200|
|Week 11||Hep B 1M||Lycopodium 200||Bacillus-7 200|
|Week 12||Hep B 10M||Lycopodium 200||Bacillus-7 200|
|Week 13||MMR 30||Lycopodium 200||Bacillus-7 200|
|Week 14||MMR 200||Lycopodium 200||Bacillus-7 200|
|Week 15||MMR 1M||Lycopodium 200||Bacillus-7 200|
|Week 16||MMR 10M||Lycopodium 200||Bacillus-7 200|
|Week 17||IPV 30||Lycopodium 200||Bacillus-7 200|
|Week 18||IPV 200||Lycopodium 200||Bacillus-7 200|
|Week 19||IPV 1M||Lycopodium 200||Bacillus-7 200|
|Week 20||IPV 10M||Lycopodium 200||Bacillus-7 200|
|Week 21||Pneumococcal 30||Lycopodium 200||Bacillus-7 200|
|Week 22||Pneumococcal 200||Lycopodium 200||Bacillus-7 200|
|Week 23||Pneumococcal 1M||Lycopodium 200||Bacillus-7 200|
|Week 24||Pneumococcal 10M||Lycopodium 200||Bacillus-7 200|
|Week 25||DTaPiV 30||Lycopodium 200||Bacillus-7 200|
|Week 26||DTaPiV 200||Lycopodium 200||Bacillus-7 200|
|Week 27||DTaPiV 1M||Lycopodium 200||Bacillus-7 200|
|Week 28||DTaPiV 10M||Lycopodium 200||Bacillus-7 200|
It is not hard to see the limitation of this method in that it needs a lot of time and a lot of remedies and so is also prone to be thrown of course by other events. This is an isopathic process, giving the exact thing that ”caused” the issue, so by its very nature is not addressing the underlying cause. So it will not be until you reach the end of this programme that you start on the truly homeopathic process. However, in its defense, there are situations where this is what you need to do.
There are inevitably at least two stages to treatment. First the rescue so that we can communicate with the individual then there is the continuing support process. Sometimes this is relatively clear and simple as in method 1, other times there is quite a long trawl.
Further areas of homeopathic work in autism
By far the most useful and common method from the above three methods is method two. This framework allows variation and regular feedback and intervention when necessary. It also allows the possibilities of discovering the acute remedies that the individual responds to.
The reaction to the programme may generate coughs and these inevitably need several remedies, usually in the 30th potency. From a knowledge of treating the “100 day cough” or whopping cough as it is more commonly known, it becomes clear that there are patterns of cough remedies and how they resolve into individual fundamental remedies. These remedies will continue to be acute remedies for the individual and will be useful in other acutes as well. The family can start to have a first aid kit that works for the minor traumas.
Having gained some stability for the individual there are also approaches in treatment that can really help rebuild the inner person. We are not only defined by how well we talk and socialise and what sports we can play we all have a personal inner journey. Some cases seem more cut-off from where they came from than having any anger that they are here. Here a remedy like THYMUS GLAND starts to be very useful and the programme then might be:
|Week||Monday||Tuesday||Wednesday||Rest of week|
|Week 1||MMR 200||SILICEA 1M||SYCOTIC CO 200||THYMUS GLAND 30|
|Week 2||MMR 200||SILICEA 1M||SYCOTIC CO 200||THYMUS GLAND 30|
|Week 3||MMR 200||SILICEA 1M||SYCOTIC CO 200||THYMUS GLAND 30|
|Week 4||MMR 200||SILICEA 1M||SYCOTIC CO 200||THYMUS GLAND 30|
|Week 5||THUJA 1M||THYMUS GLAND 30|
|Week 6||THUJA 1M||THYMUS GLAND 30|
|Week 7||TUBERCULINUM 1M||THYMUS GLAND 30|
|Week 8||TUBERCULINUM 1M||THYMUS GLAND 30|
SILICEA in the above case was given partly on the fact that the pregnancy had been IVF (in vitro fertilisation). So the remedy was not only being given as the person’s individual remedy but also on the etiology of her conception. Since there is inevitably a trauma for the child in IVF, this will touch on development going on at such a creative stage of being. It is not surprising the case went towards THYMUS GLAND.
I have found that children conceived through IVF and other technical pregnancies frequently need SILCEA at some time during treatment. This is for all babies and infants who have arrived in this way. They are invariable more chilly than other children and at some point bring together an indication for SILICEA. After this they warm up.
THYMUS GLAND is a good support when vaccinations are being considered and the thymus gland seems to be a gland that is particularly affected by adverse vaccine reactions.
It is common to see the remedies THYMUS GLAND being followed by THUJA and then TUBERCULNUM. Ranging from being given over 3 days (or even 24 hours) to being indicated separately over several months of consultations. These remedies work especially on our Heart Centre issues and are about our personal growth. This work in general practice leads to deeper work in areas of personal development.
Digestion and assimilation.
My experience has been that while the digestive system is not functioning in a normal way any progress with treating autism is limited and not lasting. This is a common view amongst therapist in general. The GFCF diet has been found to be very useful. This consists of removing gluten and casein from the individuals diet. Gluten is found in many products but loosely speaking can be said to be grain based products, especially wheat. Caseins are dairy based products. While cow based products are often the worst, where there is a sensitivity, at least at first, other dairy products should also be removed. Less well known is the effect of Glutamates, of which monosodium glutamate is one. These can also be a disaster in the gut area.
It is important not to approach this on a “war based footing”. As with all diet changes for children, it is better and easier if the whole family can embrace them; either by all the family adopting the diet or, at least, being very respectful of the diet. The individual’s brother or sister declining to eat “that muck” isn’t helpful. So to avoid these issues, some families cannot switch to GFCF over night and certainly not pick up being Glutamate free as well.
If damage to the gut is suspected (e.g. very runny stools) then using probiotics to re-establish bowel flora is a good idea. Usually the best way is to give a daily supplement in the form of a capsule for a period of 3 months.