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Alternative Therapies

These include programs and services which are nonconventional (not supported by professional organizations, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics, due to lack of evidence-based research to support their efficacy. Therapies which lack strong group studies demonstrating effectiveness are found in this category.

Who is qualified to provide alternative therapies?
Unfortunately, no clear standards exist for who is qualified to provide these types of therapies. Frequently, a specialist from another discipline (e.g., pediatricians, OTs, PTs, MSWs, etc.) may complete some (minimal) training in a particular approach and then market themselves as “qualified”. Use extra caution when considering alternative therapies, since these lack research support and can be implemented by individuals with very little experience and knowledge.

What does an alternative approach look like?
These come in many forms. A few examples include:

  • Biological based approaches such as restrictive diets (gluten- casein free), nutritional supplementation, chelation (removing heavy metals), and hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT). These are considered biological since the goal is to induce change in a physiological bodily function.
  •  Non-biological approaches include interactive metronome, listening therapies, biofeedback, etc. These therapies usually require the child to listen to sounds, music, or another auditory stimulus or placement of electrodes on the head. They overlap with sensory motor and some cognitive therapies, since the goal is to improve processing and function in particular areas.