ALTERNATIVE SUPPORT FOR FAMILIES WITH AUTISTIC CHILDREN IN LITHUANIA

Louisa Silva, Rita Vaičekauskaitė, Elvyra Acienė

Abstract


The article discusses about the possibilities of alternative social, educational and medical help to autistic children (under age 6) and their families by means of qigong massage elaborated on the basis of traditional Chinese medicine; moreover, the article introduces the initial result of the pilot study accomplished in Lithuania. The qigong massage therapy has been scientifically shown to improve the behaviour and development of young autistic children and diminish parents’ stress related to raising an autistic child. The experience of the families in the USA witness distinctive changes in the development and the sensory system of an autistic child due to qigong massage as follows: children started speaking, they have better sleep, they have better attention and concentration, their communication improved, and parenting stress is reduced. A team of researchers of the Faculty of Health Sciences, Klaipėda University started research into the possibilities of application of qigong massage as integral and complex social, educational and medical help to autistic children and their families in Lithuania in 2011 and since then has been developing it. The outcomes of the pilot test in Lithuania are consistent with aforementioned in the USA.

KEY WORDS: Autistic children, family, alternative support, qigong massage.


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