Posted on March 25, 2015

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Study on decreasing autism symptoms published in time for April’s National Autism Awareness Month

As National Autism Awareness Month approaches in April, a newly published breakthrough study in the peer-reviewed journal Autism Research and Treatment is giving hope and respite to parents of children with autism. This federally funded autism study conducted by The Research Institute (TRI) at Western Oregon University (WOU) confirms previous small scale studies reporting the effectiveness of a breakthrough treatment for young children with autism.

Dr. Louisa SilvaThis research-based treatment, developed by Dr. Louisa Silva is for use by parents, professionals and early childhood special education programs, starting at the time of autism diagnosis. This treatment has proven to reduce the severity of autism by one third in the first five months. The study shows that treatment with parent-delivered specialized sensory massage for children under the age of six is delivering positive results in four key areas:

  • Autism severity reduces by 32 percent, resulting in improved behavior and language.
  • Parenting stress reduces by 44 percent.
  • Sensory problems improve by 38 percent; sensitivity to touch and texture improves by 49 percent.
  • Children are more affectionate with their families and more comfortable in social situations.

Early childhood special education (ECSE) programs are tasked with providing parents with effective, research-based home and classroom programs to address sensory impairments and prepare children for school. Until now, they have been greatly in need of effective, affordable, research-based interventions to do so. QST massage for autism can offer real assistance to parents and ECSE programs in these areas. Work is in progress to disseminate QST training worldwide.

Mother and son embracingParents of children with autism struggle with their child’s behavior, communication, sleep, tantrums and nutrition. This is the first research-based treatment that parents can give their child at home to address these symptoms. Parent-delivered specialized sensory massage consistently helps children with autism, regardless of the severity of the autism.

“Children with autism suffer from sensory problems, especially touch. Nail cutting and haircuts, clothing fabrics and loud noises can be overwhelming for them,” Dr. Silva said. “Parent-delivered massage works by helping normalize the sense of touch, and eventually the other senses.”

“I want to get this sensory treatment into parents’ hands,” she added. “It’s gentle, it’s helpful and they desperately need it.”

This brief video explains more about QST massage and autism.

This study was supported by grant R40 MC 24945 from the Maternal and Child Health Research Program, Maternal and Child Health Bureau, Health Resources and Services Administration, Department of Health and Human Services.

This announcement is about the initial-phase, main study results. The entire project will include three additional benchmark results: one-year follow-up, two-year follow-up, and a study focused on children ages 6-11.

To learn more about the study or the treatment, visit, check out the QSTI Autism Treatment for Children Facebook; 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


Hello, this is very important and life changing work. I am a mother of a 16 year old with autism and adhd and dmdd. He lives at a therapeutic boarding school and will transfer to Brehm Academy in Carbondale Illinois. I am an occupational therapist and would pursue this training as either a parent or a therapist. Carbondale Illinois is the home of Southern Illinois University and they have a close connection to Brehm. Do you have any connection to that part of the country? Can we pursue training or a pilot program for teenagers?

Posted 9 Mo. Ago by Ann Troshinsky

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