Natural Approaches to Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Autistic boy

Natural approaches to Autism Spectrum Disorder have become highly sought after, complementary treatments for a growing number of children and adults with autism, as well as their families. As a matter of fact, research suggests that as many as 95% of children with the disorder have utilized natural approaches to treatment including but not limited to the approaches outlined in this article. All children are different and will respond to different approaches, but it is important to continue to seek natural and drug-free ways to improve their health and quality of life of your child.


Having trouble sleeping is a common problem for people with autism and it can worsen symptoms like social difficulties and repetitive behavioral issues. Melatonin is a hormone that helps regulate the sleep/wake cycle and the supplements have been shown to reduce insomnia and improve sleep quality overall for some, without significant side effects. Some parents have reported that when their child with autism got a good night’s sleep, they noticed an improvement in behavior and a definite improvement in their own stress levels.

Gluten Free Diet

One of the most popular, complementary treatments for autism is a gluten and dairy free diet. While the diet hasn’t been proven to be effective for all children, and some medical professionals are guarded about it, many physicians and parents feel that following a dairy free, gluten free diet can reduce the behavioral issues that are associated with autism. The school of thought is that because so many autistic children have airborne and food allergies, removing possible causes from the equation and treating the physical issues may then improve behavioral problems.

Nutritional Supplements

Some research indicates children with autism are deficient in selected nutrients, but show improvement when they take moderate dosages of multivitamins. If they take a daily multivitamin as prescribed on the bottle, they can be a safe treatment for people of any age, especially for those who might not be eating a well balanced diet.

Fatty acids are also a powerful supplement for people with autism and they’re essential for the development and function of the brain. Omega 3 fatty acids, an essential nutrient for the functionality and development of the brain, are popular nutritional supplements and are considered safe. A number of studies have advocated that Omega 3 fatty acid supplements may reduce autism associated symptoms including hyperactivity, repetitive behavior as well as improve socialization. Another popular natural approach to ASD involves injections of vitamin B12, a vitamin that protects against oxidative stress, which have been identified in some children with autism.

Upper Cervical Chiropractic Care

The nervous system is significantly affected by autism and causes common symptoms that include behavioral problems, attention and social issues, hyperactivity and more. Upper cervical chiropractic care restores proper alignment and balance to the Neuro-spinal system, thereby helping restore function and balance to the central nervous system. The benefits of this specific type of chiropractic include improved digestion, behavior, sleep patterns, immunity and more.

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Dr. Jeff Leach of Living Well Chiropractic, in Plymouth, Minnesota is a Plymouth Chiropractor and Upper Cervical Specialist trained by the National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association (NUCCA). His upper cervical clinic also serves Minnetonka, Maple Grove, Wayzata, and St. Louis Park. He is uniquely trained to correct problems in the upper cervical spine (upper neck). This vital area is intimately connected to the central nervous system and problems in this area have been shown to be an underlying cause of a variety of different health problems, including migraines and other headaches, sciatica, neck and back pain, and torticollis. More information can be found on our website at