Much of the issue is the simple fact that parents are not aware of the benefits of massage for autistic children, let alone know it as an option. Many have also stereotyped the practice as something only people with extra money can receive. However, there are many chain massage studios that offer memberships allowing for very large discounts.
Massage also offers extra training in conjunction with clients who have autism. So, therapists with certification in massage for autistic clients are prepared to tailor their massages accordingly. If parents are still uneasy about it, massage training exists for parents who have children with autism. They then have the ability to administer the massage personally, further allowing for the physical contact their relationship may lack. Several studies have shown an increase in the need for physical stimulation such as hugging and cuddling by autistic children following a regimen of weekly massages. With the results there really is no reason not to try it.
Over time, it is hoped that massage can be incorporated as a common treatment for children with autism. As the natural remedy has shown, it can help in improving their social and behavioral patterns. More importantly, it can greatly improve the quality of life between both the parents and children. In the end that is what is most important. With an increase in its use, massage will prove to be an asset in the medical world.
Antonio Latorella, who works in Newburyport, is a student at UMass Boston majoring in psychology.