Posted on August 27, 2014

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The Teaching Research Institute (TRI) and Louisa Silva, M.D., M.P.H. are announcing a first-time opportunity for parents with children between the ages of 6 and 11 with autism to enroll in a research study to receive free training and treatment. Enrollment has recently been extended through Sept. 12, and is open to residents of Multnomah, Clackamas, Washington, Yamhill, Polk, Marion, Linn, Benton, Lincoln and Lane counties.

Dr. SilvaSince 2000, Dr. Silva and her team of trained therapists have worked with children with autism who are under the age of six to learn a daily massage program that has been shown in research studies to be effective in reversing sensory difficulties and improving behavior. As children become more comfortable with touch, they become calmer, are better able to focus and learn, and exhibit better behavior overall. 

TRI’s early research with 46 children evaluating a five-month period of massage showed promising improvements in severity of autism: severe children moved toward the moderate range, moderate children moved toward the mild range, and so on. The preliminary research has been conducted with children with autism under age 6; results showed improvements in social and language skills, living skills, sleep, digestion, and decreases in tantrums and other autistic behaviors. Now the study is expanding to include children ages 6-11 years old.

One mom with a four-year-old son with autism in the study shared the following after the first five months of treatment, "My son has made huge leaps and bounds in his social interaction with the world since starting the massage. He is beginning to notice other people and appropriately interact with them and reciprocate language. His ability to communicate his own needs has also increased an amazing amount. He is now requesting items in full sentences the majority of the time as opposed to one or two word requests 60% of the time."

This portion of the study will assess the effect of daily parent delivered massage on severity of autism in children ages 6 to 11. This study is made possible by a three-year grant from the U.S. Health & Human Services' Maternal and Child Health Bureau.

Mother and son embracing

“Often children with autism have difficulty with touch and with regulating behavior. Parental touch is the most effective way to help children calm down, yet often this does not work with children with autism. This massage program has been shown to reverse difficulties with touch, and improve behavior in preschool children with autism,” reports Dr. Silva. “We are excited to start a pilot study of the massage in older children so that we can adapt the massage techniques for this age group and see what improvements are possible."

Families enrolled in the study receive all services for free, including training, treatment and assessments.   Enrollment is limited to thirty-five children; residents outside of the above-mentioned counties can enroll in the study, but they may need to travel to one of the above counties for services.

To learn more about the study or to enroll, visit, check out the QSTI Autism Treatment for Children Facebook page; or contact Kris Gabrielsen at 503.474.0218 or

Content for this blog posting courtesy of: Word's Out PR for the Parent-Delivered Massage Study at TRI

Photos by Tyra Murray of Grace Portraits


This looks like a very worthwhile study. Thanks to all those who put this together.

Posted Aug 8, 2014 by Carol

Is there a place for a 15 year old to learn this treatment

cindy anderson

Posted Jan 29, 2017 by cindy anderson

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