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Khaled A. Khorshid DC, MS, MBBCh; Roy W. Sweat DC; David A. Zemba, Jr. DC; Brett N. Zemba DC 

Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research ~ March 9, 2006 ~ Pages 1-7



Background: Children with autism are presented with multiple categories of clinical pictures that affect their social, sensory, speech, and physical development. Parents of autistic children seek all possible therapies available including chiropractic. In this study, the clinical outcome of an upper cervical based chiropractic technique is compared to full spine adjustment in autistic children.

Methods: The clinical effects of full spine adjustment for 14 autistic children were evaluated using the Autism Treatment Evaluation Checklist (ATEC). ATEC is a questionnaire about children’s development and progress answered by parents. It was developed and is scored, online, by the Autism Research Institute of San Diego, CA. Seven of these children were randomly assigned to be shifted to Atlas Orthogonal upper cervical adjustment. The remaining seven children continued full spine adjustment. Repeated monthly clinical assessments were done for 3-5 months. Pre and post x-ray and leg length analysis was also monitored.

Results: The clinical improvement of the autistic children showed in the parent’s observations through decrease of ATEC scores. This improvement of ATEC scores was seen in the cases of six of the seven children under upper cervical adjustment and in five of the seven children under full spine adjustment. The total ATEC average improvement in the upper cervical group was 32%, while only 8.3% in the full spine group. Two autistic children under the upper cervical adjustment protocol no longer met the criteria to be considered autistic following the interventions.

Conclusion: In this study, the clinical outcome of chiropractic care showed higher efficacy with upper cervical adjustment when compared to full spine adjustment in autistic children. Further studies are recommended.

Key words: Autism, chiropractic pediatrics, chiropractic adjustment, chiropractic technique, autistic children, atlas orthogonal, vertebral subluxation, full spine.


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