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New research published in the journal Autism Research and Treatment offers hope and assistance to parents of children with autism and Early Childhood special education programs. The large federally-funded autism study, conducted by Teaching Research Institute, Western Oregon University, confirmed over ten previous studies reporting effectiveness of a breakthrough treatment for children with autism.

This research-based treatment was developed for use by parents and Early Childhood Special Education programs starting at the time of autism diagnosis. It reduces the severity of autism by one third in the first five months and helps children benefit from educational programs. Sensory difficulties, behavior and learning improve at home and in school.

The sensory disability in autism involves several senses including the master sense – the sense of touch. Everyday physical contact, cutting hair and nails, wearing clothes and shoes, and ordinary food textures can be unpleasant. Sensory input from the body and the surrounding world is confusing and disorienting. As with other sensory disabilities, development is delayed and behavior is abnormal. QST massage for autism restores normal development and behavior by normalizing the sense of touch. The other senses follow suit.

The core of the intervention is a specialized parent-delivered massage program known as QST massage for autism. Parents give the program daily and trained therapists provide parent support and child treatment during weekly 1/2 hour visits. This low-cost solution delivers positive results in four key areas.

  • Autism is less severe by 32%, behavior and language improve.
  • Parenting stress is reduced by 44%.
  • Sensory problems improve by 38%; sensitivity to touch & texture improves by 49%.
  • Children are more affectionate with their families, participate more in family life, and are more receptive to classroom learning.

QST massage is a breakthrough treatment for young children with autism on three counts:

  1. It is the first treatment to improve all aspects of autism – behavioral, language, and sensory, and provide a large reduction of parenting stress.
  2. It is the first treatment that is consistently effective for children with severe as well as moderate/mild autism.
  3. This is the first treatment that effectively decreases the sensory disability in autism.

Parents are trained to give the massage every day. They do not avoid uncomfortable areas, but instead attune massage techniques to their children’s comfort level. As parents work through the discomfort, sensory and behavioral problems diminish. Children start to relax, make eye contact and listen. Receptive language improves. Children become more affectionate; bonding and social interactions improve. The severity of autism decreases.

QST massage for autism is one of very few programs that effectively decreases the severity of autism and changes outcomes for children. It does so by treating the sensory disability. Training and support in the QST program should be offered to parents at the time of autism diagnosis, and it should be included in Early Childhood Special Education programs.

Early Childhood Special Education programs are tasked with addressing sensory disabilities and helping children to catch up on developmental skills. Until now, they have been greatly in need of effective, affordable, research-based interventions to do so. QST massage for autism is the only intervention that has been shown to effectively treat the sensory disability. Work is in progress to disseminate QST training into special education programs worldwide.

*QST (Qigong Sensory Treatment) massage for autism integrates Western and Eastern massage approaches to sensory abnormalities, stimulating development and improving health in children with autism.

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