Therapy can do wonders for individuals with autism.
There are a range of therapies available to those on the autistic spectrum. Physical therapy, music therapy and social outings in the community can improve various aspects of the disorder.
In recent years, hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) has risen as a new kind of treatment. Autistic individuals who have received HBOT treatment have seen dramatic results. For example, individuals with limited vocabularies came out of the therapy speaking in full sentences.
So how does HBOT achieve these dramatic results? I was lucky enough to witness it firsthand when I attended a few of Brian’s sessions at the “spaceship”.
Once the door to the chamber closed, Brian went into what the folks at Hyperbaric USA called “the dive.” This is the process where the tube slowly begins to fill with 100 percent oxygen.
This pure oxygen environment reduces brain inflammation and increases blow flow. Areas of the brain that are usually inactive become active because of this increase in blood flow.
Doctors have stressed that this therapy is not a cure to autism, but will greatly improve the lives of those who are on the spectrum. There is also very little scientific evidence to fully reinforce the therapy.
Brian began this treatment a few years ago, when I had begun my freshman year at The University of Scranton. When I came home after Brian had finished his round of treatment, I noticed a difference in his behavior. He seemed more comfortable in his own skin and his focus improved as well.
What surprised me the most came in November 2010 during my parent’s annual fundraiser. Brian stood in front of a crowd of more than three hundred people and thanked everyone for their generosity. I am not kidding when I say my jaw dropped. There is no chance Brian would have been able to do that in 2009.
Each hyperbaric chamber at Hyperbaric USA has a phone on the inside and outside of the tube. During one session, Brian picked up the phone and asked for snacks.