Autism is a horrible disease affecting our young generations now. It is a developmental disorder that usually start in the first 3 years of life. Children with autism typically have problems in behaviors, sensory integration as well as social and communication skills.

Autism is increasing at an alarming rate. Ten years ago, the prevalence of autism in the United States was 1 in 166. Today, according to data released by CDC in 2014, it’s 1 in 68 (1 in 42 boys and 1 in 189 girls) – an increase of more than 100%!

Autism is also called Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) which means that different people with this disorder can have a wide range of different combinations of symptoms. Some get better as they grow older but many last throughout their lives.

Early intervention is crucial as it is easier to change a child’s developing brain than an adult’s brain. Due to the complexity of this disorder, a comprehensive treatment approach is recommended. There are many different types of treatments available. In our clinic, we offer two modalities that have been proven to benefit autism.

1)   Scalp Acupuncture

2)   Behavioral Therapy

What Scalp Acupuncture can do for autistic children?

Many studies have shown that scalp acupuncture are beneficial to the development of autistic children.

a)   Scalp acupuncture’s effect on language development: A pilot study was done in Egypt in which 20 autistic children aged between 4 and 7 years old were divided into groups A and B. Both groups received language therapy twice weekly while group B received scalp acupuncture in addition to language therapy. A battery of examinations was performed before and after therapy, including attention span, expressive skills as well as receptive skills. After 9 months, both groups improved but group B showed highly significant improvements particularly in attention and receptive semantics.

Source: Allam H, EIDine NG, Helmy G. Scalp acupuncture’s effect on language  development: A pilot study. J Altern Complement Med. 2008 Mar;14(2):109-14.

b)   In another study, 70 autistic children were treated with music therapy and structured education method. Thirty of them (the observation group) received also scalp acupuncture. Tests to assess their social adaptive behaviors and language development were used before and after the study. Results showed that the observation group improved more than the control group in terms of intelligence, language ability and social adaptive ability.

Source: Li N, Jin BX, Liu ZH. Treatment of autism with scalp acupuncture. Zhongguo Zhen Jiu. 2011 Aug;31(8):692-6.

c)   In a 2006 study of 54 autistic children, 10 received behavioral intervention, 15 received “Jin’s 3-needles”, a style of scalp acupuncture and 29 received a combination of behavioral intervention and scalp acupuncture. The combination group showed the best results.

Source: Ma RL, Yuan Q, Rui J. Effect of acupuncture combined behavior intervention on children with autism. Zhongguo Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Za Zhi. 2006 May;26(5):419-22.

d)   A similar study were done in 2009. 69 children with severe autism were divided into a behavior intervention group (n=34) and a Jin’s 3-needling group (n=35). There is no combination group. After 240 sessions, the efficacy rate was 64.7% in the behavior intervention group and 97.1% in the Jin’s 3-needling group.

Source: Yuan Q, Wang RC, Jin R. Observation on clinical therapeutic effect of Jin’s 3-needling therapy on severe autism. Zhongguo Zhen Jiu. 2009 Mar;29(3):177-80.

What are the benefits of Behavioral Therapy?

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is used primarily to help individuals with autism regulate their emotions, develop impulse control, and improve their behavior as a result. It is also helpful for reducing fear, anxiety and depressed feelings by making changes in thoughts and perceptions of situations through a change in cognition.

Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) is used to teach communication, play, social, academic, self-care, work, and community living skills, and to reduce problem behaviors in learners with autism.

The National Autism Center has listed Behavioral Intervention as the top most established intervention that has solid evidence of its benefits.

LINK to Cognitive behavioral therapy for anxiety in children with autism spectrum disorders: a randomized, controlled trial

Our Integrative Approach

At Zhu’s Neuro-Acupuncture and Rehab Center, we offer a special program for autistic children by integrating acupuncture, Chinese medicine and behavorial therapy. This combination can be a powerful tool to promote normal growth.

Zhu’s Scalp Acupuncture (ZSA) is well known for its effectiveness in treating neurological diseases. One of the reasons is ZSA can increase blood velocity to the brain. ASD, being a complex neuro-developmental disorder, falls within its treatment indications.

A large proportion of autistic children has digestive issues including food allergies, gut pain, low appetite or indigestion. Acupuncture and Chinese medicine can help alleviate these problems.

In each 1-hour session, the patient will meet one-on-one with our experienced behavorial therapist and acupuncturists.

Call (408)885-1288 to make an appointment.

Click here to meet Miss Paula, our behavorial therapist.