Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 36, Issue 7, pp 901–909 | Cite as

Patterns of Complementary and Alternative Medical Therapy Use in Children Diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders

  • Helen H. L. Wong
  • Ronald G. SmithEmail author
Original Paper


Previous studies suggest that complementary and alternative medical (CAM) therapy use in children with chronic illnesses is higher than in children in the general population. In this study, we investigated patterns of CAM therapy use in children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders (ASD, n = 50) as compared to a control population of children with no ASD (n = 50). Over half of the parents in the ASD group reported using, or had used at least one CAM therapy for their child (52%) as compared to 28% of the control group (P = 0.024). Seventy percent of therapies used in the ASD group were biologically based therapies comprised of special diets or supplements, and parents felt that 75% of the therapies used were beneficial.


Supplements Complementary Alternative Diets Children Autism 



Autism spectrum disorder


National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine



We are very grateful to all the families who participated in this study. Very special thanks to Wilma Hopman, MA, KGH Clinical Research Centre, for her assistance in statistical analysis and meticulous editing of the manuscript. Sincere thanks to Dr. Jeanette Holden, PhD, Autism Spectrum Disorders Canadian-American Research Consortium, for reviewing the manuscript. We also thank Dr. Mtimkulu Mehlomakulu, MD, for allowing us to carry out interviews in his office. A copy of the questionnaire used in this study is available from Dr. Ronald G. Smith via e-mail at


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of MedicineQueen’s UniversityKingstonCanada
  2. 2.Child Development Centre, Hotel Dieu HospitalKingstonCanada

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