With autism, you encounter anger, anxiety, meltdowns, lack of sleep, poor focus, problems concentrating...the list goes on, right?
Just yesterday I found bite marks, complete with full dental imprints, on my four year old's arm because my older son wasn't able to control his anger and frustration in a proper way. It is because I let down my guard down and missed the signs. I then also remembered that I had forgotten the essential oils that day. If I had remembered the oils, then things may have ended differently. I know they would have ended differently.
Yes, essential oils have become that important to our daily rhythm.
Ever since my son's diagnosis in November of 2014, I have gathered a set of tools that help him to have better days: a visual schedule, social stories, fidgets, oral motor sensory tools, and homemade sensory tools. But prior to his assessment, I dabbled and experimented with essential oils for him and they had such a positive impact on his daily life, that I was instantly converted. Good-bye, inner skeptic! Hello, essential-oil-loving inner hippy!
Essential oils have become an integral part of our autism treatments. As such, I thought I would share what I think are the best essential oils for autism. The essential oils on this list would also be great for any child with sensory processing issues. Actually, for any child in general.
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Just to be clear, I am not a trained aromatherapist. I am just passionate about essential oils because they have worked for my family. The information presented here is merely an introduction to the topic of using essential oils for autism and is not meant to replace traditional medical advice. It is also, by no means, thorough.
Why Essential Oils for Autism?There are many reasons why you might be considering using essential oils with your autistic child, including:
- Looking for practical solutions to use on a daily basis and without a big time commitment
- Interested in trying more natural and/or alternative treatments
- Prefer to use natural methods
- Want to avoid prescription medications
- Hoping to find something that will help your child sleep better
- Tired of other treatments not working or having little impact
- Hoping to find something that will help with your child's anxiety
- Finding a less expensive treatment to try (admit it: autism treatments are expensive!)
- Want to have some form of treatment that you can take with you on the road or while traveling
The list could go on and on. Our decision to try essential oils was based on a few factors. First, we were faced with the first of many wait lists and needed something that we could try right away. Second, we prefer to use more natural methods of treatment and therapy. Third, we were hoping it would help with my son's anxiety and sensory issues, while helping him to better regulate his emotions.
The upfront cost of using essential oils can be as much or as little as you'd like. And the oils and supplies that you get will last you a long time, like years.
Essential oils can be used every day unlike other therapies where you have an appointment scheduled once a week or once or month. There is also no huge time commitment. Simply apply or diffuse as needed.
You can also take essential oils with you everywhere you go. I always keep a roller bottle with our DIY essential oil blend in my purse.
Which Essential Oils are Good for Autism?This list of essential oils for autism is not exhaustive and may be added to as we find new favorites. There are plenty of essential oils that may be beneficial to kids who have autism and sensory processing issues, but these are our absolute go-to oils! These essential oils are what we have found to be the most helpful and effective for my son who has autism and sensory issues.
Vetiver - Of all the oils on this list, vetiver is my favorite and the most important. Vetiver has a sedative quality that can help sedate emotional outbursts such as anger, anxiety, and hysteria. It calms the nervous system and stabilizes emotions. I like to apply vetiver, diluted with a carrier oil, to the base of the neck and the base of the spine. I think vetiver was the first oil I ever tried with my son and saw immediate results.
Texas Cedarwood - This oil has a soothing and calming effect on the mind, helps with sleep, and helps to balance emotions.
Frankincense - An effective sedative, frankincense lowers anxiety, anger, and stress. It promotes deep breathing, relaxation, and a sense of peace and calm.
Lavender - Lavender is great for promoting sleep and for reducing anxiety and stress. A must have oil!
Mandarin Orange - Most kids enjoy the scent of citrus fruits and honestly, so do I. Mandarin orange balances emotions, provides stress relief, and calms the nervous system.
Happy Kids Blend - A blend of lime, tangerine, cardamom, and benzoin, the Happy Kids Blend is seriously the most amazing smelling essential oil blend that I've ever encountered. More importantly, it is an uplifting scent that keeps my kids...well...happy. Just like the bottle's label says. I like to diffuse it at home during the day and add it to our DIY calm & focused child blend.
Other Oils to Try
There are lots of other essential oils that may be good for autism, including the following. We have not yet incorporated these particular oils into our routine, but I'm sharing them in case you are interested in exploring them further.
Ylang Ylang - This essential oil strengthens the nervous system, making it great for relieving stress, anger, and anxiety.
Bergamot - This essential oil relaxes nerves and muscles. It also reduces anxiety and stress. It would be a lovely oil for kids with autism.
For further information on any of these oils, you can read more at the Organic Facts Essential Oils database.
How to Use Essential Oils for AutismIncorporating essential oils into your day can be super easy to do! You can:
- Add a few drops (lavender is wonderful for this!) to the bathtub
- Diffuse the oils using an essential oil diffuser
- Incorporate them into sensory activities, such as: lavender scented beans, rainbow scent matching game, lemon soap foam
- Make lotions/rubs by whipping up some coconut oil with your favorite essential oils
- Make calming sprays like our DIY calm and focused child or DIY bedtime blend
- Give your kids a detox bath
- Diffuse it in the car while traveling using an aromatherapy car diffuser
- Make a diffuser necklace or bracelet scented with your favorite essential oils for your child to wear
Other Ideas You'll LoveBeginner's Guide to Essential Oils
Free Weekly Autism Planner
Detox Bath for Kids
Calm & Focused Child DIY Essential Oil Blend