Teaching Research Institute

New study gives families free support for children with autism: enrollment open through April 16

qigong massageThe Teaching Research Institute at Western Oregon University (WOU) and Louisa Silva, M.D., M.P.H. are announcing the final opportunity for parents who have children under the age of six with autism to enroll in a research study to receive free training and treatment. Enrollment is open now through April 16 for residents of Multnomah, Clackamas, Washington, Yamhill, Polk, Marion, Linn, Benton and Lincoln counties.

Silva and her team of trained therapists teach parents of children with autism a daily massage program that has been shown in research studies to be effective in reversing sensory difficulties and with improving behavior. As children become more comfortable with touch, they become calmer, are better able to focus and learn, and exhibit better behavior overall.

Silva reports, “Often children with autism have abnormal responses to touch such that they avoid touch on many areas of the body. Although parental touch is the most effective way to calm children, often parents with children with autism will avoid using touch as a parenting tool because their child doesn’t respond normally to it. This massage program has been shown in early studies to be effective in reversing difficulties with touch.”

Families enrolled in the study receive all services for free, including training, treatment and assessments. WOU’s Teaching Research Institute is conducting the research on this intervention with a three-year grant from the U.S. Health & Human Services’ Maternal and Child Health Bureau.

One mom with a four-year-old son with autism in the study shared the following after the first five months of treatment, “My son has made huge leaps and bounds in his social interaction with the world since starting the massage. He is beginning to notice other people and appropriately interact with them and reciprocate language. His ability to communicate his own needs has also increased an amazing amount. He is now requesting items in full sentences the majority of the time as opposed to one or two word requests 60 percent of the time.”

Enrollment is limited; residents outside of the above-mentioned counties can enroll in the study, but they may need to travel to one of the above counties for services. To learn more about the study or to enroll, visit www.qsti.org, check out the QSTI Autism Treatment for Children Facebook page; or contact Kris Gabrielsen at 503.474.0218 or study@qsti.org.

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