A model and treatment for autism at the convergence of Chinese medicine and Western science: First 130 cases

  • Louisa M. T. SilvaEmail author
  • Mark Schalock
  • Robert Ayres
Original Article



To present a model for autism showing that impairment of sensory and self-regulation is the core deficit that underlies delays in social/language skills and abnormal behavior in autism; and to demonstrate the efficacy of a treatment for autism based on Chinese medicine.


Children with autism under 6 years of age were assigned to treatment or wait-list conditions. A total of 130 children were treated and the results compared with 45 wait-list controls. Treatment is a tuina methodology directed at sensory impairment—Kai Qiao Tuina. The treatment was a five-month protocol that was implemented daily by trained parents via trained support staff. The effects of treatment on the main symptoms, autistic behavior, social/language delay, sensory and self-regulatory impairment, as well as on parenting stress, were observed and compared.


The treatment had a large effect size (P<0.0001) on measures of sensory and self-regulation. The evaluations done by pre-school teachers demonstrated improvement in the measures of autism (P<0.003), and were confirmed by evaluations done by parents (P<0.0001). There was a large decrease (P<0.0001) in parenting stress.


Sensory and self-regulatory impairment is a main factor in the development and severity of autism. Treatment of young children with autism with Kai Qiao Tuina resulted in a decrease in sensory and self-regulatory impairment and a reduction in severity of measures of autism.


Kai Qiao Tuina Qigong sensory training autism treatment for children sensory impairment abnormal sensory responses autism early intervention for autism 


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Copyright information

© Chinese Association of the Integration of Traditional and Western Medicine and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Louisa M. T. Silva
    • 1
    Email author
  • Mark Schalock
    • 1
  • Robert Ayres
    • 1
  1. 1.Teaching Research InstituteWestern Oregon UniversitySalemUSA

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