Latest News » Study shows benefits of “sensory-focused” therapy for children with autism

Research has indicated a promising development in autism treatment.

According to recently released statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately one in 50 children born across the country is diagnosed with some form of autism. Public awareness regarding this condition has grown dramatically in recent years, and scientists are continually working to develop new therapies and other treatments that may help manage some of its symptoms.

Last month, research conducted at the University of California, Irvine’s Center for Autism Research and Treatment indicated that therapeutic treatments that emphasize sensory-centric experiences could be a beneficial supplement for autistic children. HealthDay News reports that a group of 28 boys with autism who ranged between 3 and 12 years old took part in the study. Of this number, 13 participants received “environmental enrichment” – which involved smelling essential oils and running their hands beneath water, among other methods – in addition to the conventional behavioral therapy each individual underwent.

Over the course of the six-month project, the researchers noted that boys whose treatment was supplemented with sensory-focused environmental enrichment had “a positive effect” on those who received it.

“We saw a 600 percent greater likelihood of having a positive clinical outcome in individuals that had enriched environments compared to those receiving the standard care that children have been receiving for autism up to this point,” professor and lead author Michael Leon said of the findings.

The benefits observed included increased cognitive function and communication skills. Though further research is necessary to determine if this connection holds, Leon noted that “it’s quite feasible for parents to engage with their children and improve the probability of a clinically significant improvement in their autism symptoms” through sensory-focused therapy.

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