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Autism & Essential Oils

Spread the word – April is National Autism Awareness Month! 

With more than 3.5 million Americans living with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), this complex developmental disorder has very likely made an impact on your own life or the life of someone you know. Here at Plant Therapy, we want to make you aware of some of the essential oils full of properties believed to support the varying symptoms a person with ASD may experience. However, because each symptom of autism is as unique as the individual diagnosed, consider these suggestions as merely that – suggestions. What works well for one person may not work the same for another! Be patient and understand that ASD is an individualized life-long disorder.

Children and adults with ASD may commonly experience frustration during their day-to-day interactions.

Struggles with verbal and/or nonverbal communication is a prominent symptom of ASD and can severely affect how that person is able to interact with others – even their family members and dearest friends. Maybe you would like to support someone who struggles to regulate their emotions – another common symptom for individuals with ASD. Hyperactivity and aggressive behaviors may stem from a difficulty in understanding another person’s perspective or understand their actions and reactions. To help promote a sense of calm, and to ease feelings of frustration, these essential oils may be just right:

  • Sandalwood – Known to promote mental clarity, while also relaxing and calming the body and mind.
  • Bergamot – Perfect to help experience joy and relieve worry with its fresh and vibrant scent.
  • Blues Buster – Bright and uplifting aroma that helps to increase emotional well-being and fight off negative feelings.
People with ASD may also struggle with their ability to focus, organize their thoughts, and stay on task. This especially affects how they perform during school or work. These essential oils are great to calm, focus, and balance the mind!
  • Frankincense – Known to help maintain focus and reduce feelings of stress and negative emotions.
  • Clarity Synergy – Designed to enhance focus and memory. It’s perfect for any task that requires sustained mental effort.
  • A+ Attention – Perfect to help calm an overactive body while bringing focus and clarity, this KidSafe synergy is a great place to start for anyone looking to support an individual with ASD.
  • Vetiver – Quiets an overactive mind and relieves feelings exhaustion.

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Many individuals with ASD may struggle to get regular deep, restful sleep. Lack of sleep can seriously impact their attention-span, ability to learn, physical health, mood, and basically make the waking hours more overwhelming and exhausting.
  • Lavender – Calming and known to improve sleep quality, as well as feelings of nervousness and stress.
  • Chamomile Roman – Soothing, comforting, and famous for its calming properties, this is an especially great choice if you’re looking for an oil to help get deep, refreshing sleep.
  • Sweet Slumber – Calms, soothes, and relaxes the mind and body. Perfect for kids and adults alike – the name says it all!

These oils can be an amazing compliment to treatments already in place for an individual with ASD (such as behavioral management, family training, and/or prescribed medication). However, since there is a very limited amount of research done on this topic, you should always consult with a physician before making any kind of changes to a treatment plan. If you have a child with ASD and would like to incorporate essential oils into their school day, please check with the school first! Your district may have a policy about bringing essential oils to school, so check with the child’s teacher or administration.

Another quick note: Sensory over-stimulation occurs with many who have ASD. Certain aromas or the strength of aroma may be too aggressive for the individual. Approach each oil cautiously with that specific person in mind.

Essential oils are an amazing way to enhance the quality of living! They can support positive reactions, feelings of self-worth, ease restlessness, improve mental acuity, and so much more!