Cutting-Edge Therapies for Autism ~Review~ *A Must Read for Parents with Children on the Spectrum*

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Just in case you hadn’t caught it yet, April is Autism Awareness month.  I know it is almost the end of the month and I feel bad that I haven’t been able to post anything sooner, but for those of you with children on the spectrum this is a must read post.  If have read my blog for a while know that I worked as an early-intervention/behavioral therapist for children with autism for almost 5 years before becoming a stay-at-home mom.  I worked in the homes of these children and spent many hours each week with the families.  I also did quite a bit of research and wrote many papers on autism, it’s potential causes, effects, and current treatments when I was in college.  I know how frustrating autism is for both parent and child.  

A diagnosis of Autism can be absolutely devastating for a family.  Diagnoses can fall anywhere on the spectrum and some children are very high functioning.  These children can speak, interact, make eye contact, but may have trouble reading social cues, understanding certain abstract concepts (particularly those of a social nature), etc.  Others are very low functioning.  They likely have severe communication deficits, and are rigid in their likes and dislikes.  They engage in self-stimulatory behavior like rocking, repetitive motions, repetitive tasks (e.g. lining things up is a common behavior for children with autism).  They can fly into violent tantrums and injure themselves or others when frustrated. Most of the children I worked with were somewhere in the middle.

When I heard of the book Cutting-Edge Therapies for Autism I knew that it was a book parents of children with autism needed to know about.  The book is compiled by Ken Siri and Tony Lyons and contains 63 therapy methods for treating different aspects of autism.

The book begins by pointing out that no common cause for autism has yet been discovered, and the triggers for the manifestations for autism may vary greatly from one child to another.  Because of this it is important that parents meet with a team of specialists to evaluate the treatments that would best treat the needs of their child.

Cutting-Edge Therapies for Autism covers both biomedical treatments and behavior related therapies.  It includes medical interventions like: 

  • Antiepileptic treatments
  • Antifungal treatments–many individuals with autism constantly battle fungal overgrowth.
  • Chelation–the removal of metals from the body.  Many individuals with autism lack the ability to flush toxic metals from their bodies.  All of the families I worked with did regular rounds of chelation with their children.
  • Medicinal Marajuana–I actually found this section very intriguing (don’t gasp.  If you read it you’ll understand exactly what I mean) and think it sounds very worthy of further research.  
  • Many More!

It also includes quite a few therapeutic for treating behavior including:

  • Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA)–this it the kind of therapy (with a few others I will list thrown in) that I practiced with the kids I worked with.  ABA is filled with scientific and psychological terms like “extinction”, “stimulus”, “discrete trial”, etc, which can make it very intimidating for parents trying to understand.  The simplest way to explain ABA is that it is a fairly rigid “training” of the child.  Everything that is learned in the controlled environment is then generalized to the child’s natural environment.
  • Aquatic Therapy–provides an environment to work on transitional (transitioning from one activity to another) stress, social interactions, body awareness, tactile processing, vestibular processing (this one wasn’t really explained very well), and visual processing.
  • Drama Therapy–this is another therapy that I used often with one of the boys I worked with.  “While literature on autism suggests that people with ASD are not creative and have little interest in connecting with others, drama therapists find that the ASD clients they work with are imaginative, highly motivated to participate in dramatic activities, and crave social connection, but are not sure how to make those connections.” I certainly found that to be true in my own work.

Cutting-Edge Therapies for Autism contains many more therapies that are very worth learning about.  This book is an invaluable resource for parents of children who have recently been diagnosed or who are trying to learn more about the therapies available for their child.  One thing that is worthy of note is that this book is labeled “Cutting-Edge Therapies”.  Some of these therapies in this book are still under debate in the scientific community.  It is advisable that, with anything medical, you consult with experts (i.e. your Dr.) and do further research if in doubt.

Overall, I think this is a must have reference book for parents with children on the Autism spectrum.

Disclosure: I was provided a copy of this book by the company, at not cost to myself, in order to facilitate a review. 


About Amy @ Oh So Savvy Mom

Amy is mom to three, wife to one, and a sister and aunt to many. Her family is a former military family now settled in Lehi, Utah. Oh So Savvy Mom began as a way for Amy to share parenting and product advice with others. Just as she has evolved, Oh So Savvy Mom has evolved into a resource for Healthy Living for Families, Food, Parenting, and Family Travel.


  1. Samantha says
    there are so many kids with spectrum disorders out there, this is a great resource