Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is an increasingly common developmental disorder. It can affect all aspects of a person’s life, especially social matters. Let’s take a look at the long list of symptoms that can help to identify a patient with autism. Then we will discuss the top two bones of the neck and the role they may play in autism. Finally, we will consider a natural form of care that has played a part in modern autism research.
The Symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder
The symptoms of ASD basically fall into one of two categories (with a few exceptions). We will consider the social and communication signals, then the repetitive behavior symptoms. Finally, a few miscellaneous symptoms that don’t fall into either category but are actually beneficial.
Social Interaction Symptoms of ASD
- Eye contact – Autism sufferers often struggle to make eye contact with others on a consistent basis.
- Sharing – Someone with autism is likely to point at someone in order to share the experience of seeing it with another person. They are also unlikely to show another object or activity to others.
- Unresponsive – An ASD sufferer may not respond to the attempts of someone to get their attention, even if you say their name. Or the response may be very slow.
- Limited conversation – Conversation skills are generally lacking in ASD patients.
- Limited interests – Because ASD patients generally struggle to pick up on social cues, they may go on and on about certain topics without bothering to determine if the other person is growing disinterested in the topic.
- Conflicting non-verbal communication – The expression on an ASD suffers face or the gestures that he or she makes while speaking could convey a different tone or feeling from the topic being discussed. For example, the patient may be very sad while discussing the death of a loved one but be grinning or nodding excitedly.
- Unusual speech patterns – Someone with ASD may have unusual speech patterns. It may range from being completely monotone to sounding very rhythmic and sing-song.
- Misunderstandings – Because many autism patients are very literal, they may misunderstand the speech and actions of others. They also struggle to show empathy which can affect one’s ability to understand someone else’s point of view. This may lead to disagreements or sudden outbursts.
Repetitive Behavior Symptoms of ASD
- Limited interests – This falls into the category of repeating behaviors because interests are almost obsessive and are limited to just a few or even one topic.
- Repetitive speech or actions – The patient may repeat certain phrases, words, or sounds. Repetitive motions are also common. These repetitive behaviors are self-soothing and are sometimes referred to as stimming.
- Routine-oriented – ASD patients often require routine and may grow upset at the slightest change in a routine.
- Sensory sensitivities – An ASD sufferer may struggle with bright lights, loud sounds, temperature extremes, or even scratchy clothing against the skin.
- Rote memory – ASD patients can often remember the slightest details on a topic and may remember these details both short and long-term.
- Strong learning abilities – Particularly when it comes to visual and auditory learning, ASD patients soak up information.
- Patients also often exhibit strong skills in their favorite topics ranging from having a large vocabulary to things like math, science, and even art.
The Role of the Upper Cervical Spine
Much research has been done involving the benefits of upper cervical chiropractic for autism patients, especially children. Here are a few examples of ASD cases studies, all of which involved patients with an upper cervical misalignment diagnosed by means of diagnostic imaging:
- Amalu (1998) – This case study involved a 5-year-old girl. After just 12 weeks of upper cervical care, her diagnosis of autism reversed due to the improvement of her symptoms.
- Aguilar (2000) – This was actually a case series with 26 patients. Both males and females joined, all in the age range of 3 to 13. Autism rating scores improved for the patients by an average of 22% over the course of the 9-month study.
- Noriega (2012) – The study involved a then 6-year-old boy. 15 weeks of upper cervical chiropractic care reduced his symptoms by 70%. He saw significant benefits in his school performance and social behaviors.
These studies help to make a connection between a misalignment of the upper cervical spine and autism symptoms.
Upper Cervical Chiropractic and the Central Nervous System (CNS)
The atlas (C1) and axis (C2) vertebrae affects proper brainstem function and the flow of blood to the brain. In fact, a misalignment can even restrict the proper drainage of cerebrospinal fluid, leading to intracranial pressure. For these reasons and others, it just makes sense that maintaining upper cervical alignment is vital to proper CNS function.
If you or a loved one has ASD, it makes sense to get an examination from an upper cervical chiropractor. If a misalignment exists, a few gentle adjustments may be as beneficial for you. To learn more, contact a practitioner in your local area today to schedule a consultation.