In Touch Massage and Craniosacral Therapy, Westport CT
Life Works

Additional Support for Young Children on the Autism Spectrum

Craniosacral Therapy: A Therapy of Communication Through Touch  

Communication through touch allows a clear, direct way to listen to the body and gives the innate inner wisdom of the body a voice. What better way to listen to a pre-verbal or non-verbal child who struggles to meet day to day expectations. 

I have worked with lots of young children with a variety of developmental issues: gross motor skills, weak muscle tone, eye tracking, anxiety, and those on the autism spectrum. One big difference with ASD is the range of diversity in how children relate to space and time.  

We think of space and time as past, present, and future. This is different. For those affected it seems like the difference between focused attention and being in a deep high functioning day dream.  I find craniosacral work can fascilitate a bridge between the two states. 

The depth of separation is different with each child. Eye contact is difficult with ASD as it requires the child to focus in our construct of present time and follow a direction. A two year old boy came in who was having trouble making eye contact and within 2 sessions could establish eye contact with everyone. In contrast, a two year old girl took four sessions before she even acknowledged I was in the room. At the end of the forth session she stood up on a small chair and looked over at me for recognition. I was elated!  

The majority of Craniosacral Therapists begin with a strong scientific background. The medical model has established measures and milestones that are excellent for identifing problems in development.  We take their knowledge and add a layer of listening skills and work directly with the body. This therapy is not about trying something that worked for someone else. It is about following the series of restrictions and releases that are unique to each child.   

As we master our listening skills we develop an energetic foundation corresponding to the scientific foundation we know. We are able to sense and feel on many levels. Adding this complementary therapy to the traditional therapies often results in all of the therapies moving forward. It is a team effort headed and coordinated by the parents.      

For any progress to happen it requires a sustained effort. It is the parents’ commitment to working with the child at home that will make the difference if it is possible to bring the child through. Therapists value feedback on what has changed and this only comes from the parent who has been with the child daily. This information helps identify the next small step we want to achieve.     

A session is usually 50 minutes. The child sits or lays on a massage table. The parent keeps the child occupied as the therapist gently places her hands on the body. For children who don’t like be touched, I will wait, placing my hands near the area I am going to work on until the child is more relaxed and we have established a trust level.  Parents know how extra sesitive thier child can be.  For these children often I can be effective working in the field around their body.  

The hands stay in these positions for a while. To an on looker nothing appears to be happening. As a practitioner, I can feel a release happening under my hands and wait for its completion before moving to the next place I’m drawn to.  

My confidence comes from years of study and years of practice. Fifteen years of experience with touch has refined and heightened my intuitive abilities. As long as I am feeling releases I know change is happening.  

I now expect change. A wonderfully sweet twelve year old boy came in not speaking, in a collapsed sitting position, without many desires or focus. We have been working together for over 6 months. He now sits up tall, his ribs have changed shape, this allows him to breathe deeper and speak some words. He is understanding more, participating in relationships more, showing his emotions; he is changing.