Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability that presents families with significant challenges. Children diagnosed with ASD experience a different world than their peers. Bright lights, and loud noises can easily frighten them, and they can also have a hard time coping with any sudden changes to their routine.
On top of these anxieties, children with ASD often have trouble socializing and communicating, so they may be unable to express if and when something upsets them. When they become overwhelmed, they may erupt into a meltdown—an out-of-control outburst where they become emotionally devastated and impossible to console. Meltdowns can be long, grueling episodes, and may discourage parents from ever bringing their children out in public.
There is no cure for ASD, and the conventional therapies available to treat the challenges associated with the disorder are limited, so many parents seek alternative options.
One treatment that’s been getting a lot of attention is essential oils. A growing number parents claim that these chemically complex plant-based compounds can help ease their child’s anxiety and restlessness, and can even curtail an epic meltdown.
Case Study Shows that
Lavender – increased and calmed by 5%
Cedarwood – increased and calmed by 83%
Vetiver – increased and calmed by 100%
Essential Oils have the ability to detoxify and oxygenate the body, something that research has found to help children on the Autism Spectrum.
Vetiver: Many parents who use Vetiver states that this oil helps with many things. It not only calms the mind down, but may help control anger, irritability, and neurotic behavior. To use this relatively thick oil, you’d want to first dilute it with another neutral oil like olive oil or coconut oil. Then, you’d smear it on the back of your child’s neck from the base of the brain stem all the way down to where the spinal cord would meet their shoulders. This oil will also help with focus, so again, it has many uses.
Cedarwood: This oil will help calm and purify. Cedarwood works by stimulating the pituitary glands and can increase the melatonin in the brain naturally. Thus, you’d probably want to use this oil at night for sleeping. Many people use diffusers for essential oils to get the scent out into the air, so this would likely work best this way if you use it for sleep.
Lavender: Most people already know that Lavender helps calm and relax the nervous system. You can use lavender so many ways! You can put a few drops into the bath at night before bed, put some on your child’s pillow at bedtime, or use a diffuser for this one.
Peace: This oil furthers relaxation and may even help calm the overactive or easily angered child. You may also use Ylang Ylang & Lavender Peace for other things, like depression, anxiety, stress, or insomnia. If your child has a tantrum or meltdown, you can use a diffuser with this oil to help calm them, or you could place it on your child’s feet at bedtime. You might also put some of this oil on the pillow or any special blanket they use to help them sleep.
Frankincense: Though you might also see Frankincense used for calming, it may also help develop a higher level of consciousness. It stimulates the limbic system of the brain, which controls instincts and mood (which is why this oil reportedly helps with calming as well). You can apply this oil topically, inhale it using a diffuser/vaporizer, or ingest it in small amounts. I don’t know enough about how much to ingest per body weight, so you’d probably do best to consult a reference guide or a doctor about using it this way prior to attempting it.