In my practice, I spend time advising about HBOT and I try to accept that each parent is doing what they think will be best with the resources that they have (could have, wish to have) at their disposal.
There is one type of family who is considering this valuable resource who is very serious about exploring complementary and alternative treatments which might help the child – even if miraculously – and don’t wish to involve medicines, especially conventional medicine, especially if that is what got their child into this predicament.
Another group of parents are those who have gone from one treatment to another – sometimes maybe too quickly to ascertain true results, and others who feel that they really gave whichever-treatment-of-the-year a fair try. HBOT is next on the list.
I care for a group of patients who come from foreign countries – starving for a shot at the box.
I also feel that there is, unfortunately, another type of family who is considering this valuable resource, who is very serious about exploring complementary and alternative treatments which might help the child – even if miraculously – and don’t include (or continue to include) the traditional therapies.
The idea is, here, folks, to get the child more healthy so that the proven interventions will take effect better and quicker. All of the great Hyperbaric Centers will second this emotion.
See a pattern here? Right, there is no pattern. We’re people. Parents faced with impossible decisions. Would I recommend this treatment for my autistic family member? Optimally – and I mean optimally – resourced families. These are people who have the time and resources to add to their already busy schedule; full of the typical kids’ activities, and therapies and schools for the affected children, and cooking for a gf/cf dinner. If you could do all of these things – it seems that it could be worth the try. It is not a waste of time, even if it helps by assuring a family that they gave their child that alternative opportunity. If there is an incremental increase in language or behavior, so much the better as every bit of development in the right direction is part of the journey.
Less optimally resourced families. There are resources available to acquire insurance reimbursement and financial aid available in certain situations. Neighbors may have chambers to borrow and I have heard of parents’ groups trying to purchase equipment to share. My only comment here is that YOU BETTER KEEP THAT CHAMBER CLEAN. Kids are dirty little boogers and transferring cooties is not a good idea. There is a mild HBOT service that is being made available to a group of my patients. Frankly, I am taking this as an opportunity to help the children and the Center, plus I will learn a bunch. For families who really want to try it, schedules can be adopted to include a month-at-a-time daily intervention cut into the normal schedule. The neuro-typical kids can do their homework at the Center or even receive extra attention from the waiting, now-available parent.
Barely resourced families. We work on the gut and energy production, plus the conventional therapies that have been proven to work, and lots of my patients have entered into “residual state” of Autism Spectrum Disorder. It appears that there is no “optimal time” to start HBOT, and plenty of recoveries have taken place in the absence of this treatment.
When in doubt about a complicated decision which involves expertise beyond MY training, I tend to go with an expert in the field, who has proven results AND patients willing to share their journey. You do what every parent does for any of their children – learn as much as YOU can (about any medical condition) and then work with an experienced physician who you trust to do the best for the child. Medically speaking, the jury is “out” so far about this alternative treatment which attempts to address the ASD epidemic, so parents (as usual) will have to go with their gut and watch closely for symptomatic improvement as it relates to this intervention.
This concludes my multi-part series about this complicated medical intervention. For now.