Complementary Therapies Overview

March 5th, 2017

Auditory Integration Therapy

Who and where: Audiologist – In school or in private practice.

Description: Auditory Processing Disorder or Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD) are common secondary diagnoses for some children with autism. As with any treatment or therapy for autism, it may not always work for every child. Testing requires a dedicated and educated audiologist who understands autism and hearing disorders.

Who pays: Insurance, private pay, school

More info: The Efficacy of Auditory Integration Training

Aquatic Therapy

Who and where: Physical or occupational therapist; pool at school, therapist office, community center or home

Description: Treatments and exercises are performed while floating, partially submerged, or fully submerged in water. Many aquatic therapy procedures require constant attendance by a trained therapist, and are performed in a specialized temperature-controlled pool. Rehabilitation commonly focuses on improving the physical function associated with illness, injury, or disability.

Aquatic therapy encompasses a broad set of approaches and techniques, including aquatic exercise, physical therapy, aquatic bodywork, and other movement-based therapy in water (hydrokinesiotherapy). Aquatic therapy can help tactile sensitivity, and the water pressure input can help produce/increase speech production and socialization

Who pays: Insurance (when using a PT or OT), Medicaid, private pay

More info: Why Should You Use Aquatic Therapy For Children With Autism and and Aquatic Therapy for Children with Special Needs

Craniosacral Therapy

Who and where: Physical therapists, massage therapists, naturopaths, chiropractors, and osteopaths; private clinic

Description: Craniosacral therapy (CST) is reported to be a helpful therapy for some children with autism. The therapist gently massages the spine and the skull to treat mental stress, neck, and back pain. Parents report the therapy can promote relaxation and can be beneficial when performed in conjunction with other traditional therapies (speech, OT, PT, etc.)

Who pays: Insurance, Private Pay, Medicare (some states), school therapists

More info: Effective Light-Touch Training

Hippotherapy and Therapeutic (Horse) Riding

Who and where: Hippotherapy requires a physical, occupational, or speech therapist, therapeutic riding requires a riding instructor; Horseback facility

Description: Hippotherapy is often confused with therapeutic horseback riding. While both offer tremendous opportunities for kids with ASD, they are not the same. Hippotherapy is done under the supervision of a certified OT, PT, or SLP; therapeutic riding is not. Helps with socialization, speech/communication, motor issues like hypotonia and posture.

Who pays: Insurance (when using a PT/OT/SLP), DD funds, grants, private pay

More info: American Hippotherapy Association and Therapeutic Riding

Music Therapy

Who and where: Certified music therapists work with the child in the home, at school, or at a private center.
Description: Music therapy interventions focus on enhancing social, communicative, motor/sensory, emotional, and academic/cognitive functioning, or music skills in individuals with ASD. Music therapy services are based on each client’s individual abilities, noting preferences, needs, the family’s values, beliefs, and priorities.

Who pays: Insurance (where available), school, private pay

More info: American Music Therapy Association

Vision Therapy

Who and where: Developmental optometrist, optometric physician (OD), doctor’s office

Description: Some children with autism benefit from vision therapy offered by an OD specializing in developmental vision care. Strategies can include ongoing treatment using daily visual exercises or Irlen lenses. These services may be paid by insurance if you have a qualified clinician in your plan.

Who pays: Insurance, private pay

More info: To find a practitioner go to

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One Response

  1. […] food companies for the family so they can order and you can pay. Do this for therapies too, such as horseback, music, vision, etc that insurance will not cover. Whatever you can afford will be […]

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