New research confirms that treatment with a parent-delivered massage program for autism decreases severity of autism by 32%, sensory problems by 38%, and parenting stress by 44% in five months. The treatment, QST massage*, is an effective sensory treatment for autism. It is started at the time of autism diagnosis.
Sensory problems interfere with school performance and educational outcomes. Early Childhood Special Education aims to provide research-based programs to address sensory problems and prepare children for school. Until now ECSE programs have lacked effective, research-based sensory treatment for autism. QST massage is an important addition to ECSE, and work is in progress to disseminate it into programs worldwide.
Parents give the massage every day. They are trained not to avoid uncomfortable areas, but instead to attune the massage techniques to their children’s comfort level. As parents continue the daily massage and work through their children’s difficulties, sensory problems diminish. Children start to relax, make eye contact and listen; they become closer and more affectionate with family members. Language and behavior improve. Children ask for their massage and it is a relaxing, bonding time with their parents.
After five months children’s sense of touch is greatly improved, they are better able to regulate behavior, and more comfortable participating in home and school activities. Children with severe autism move towards moderate, moderate children move towards mild, and mild children move off the spectrum. Continued treatment results in continued improvement.
*QST (Qigong Sensory Treatment) is a type of massage known as qigong massage that is based on Eastern medicine. It is focused on improving children’s response to touch and child-to-parent interactions and bonding.