Thursday, February 07, 2019

The Ultimate Guide to Using Essential Oils for Autism

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The ultimate guide to autism and essential oils, including a list of the best essential oils for autism, some autism essential oil blend ideas, and essential oil safety tips.

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 our family and they had such a positive impact on our 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 daily life. 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.

Best essential oil for autism

Disclaimer for this Autism & Essential Oils Guide

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 to reduce anxieties, improve sleep, and calm meltdowns in autistic individuals and is not meant to replace traditional medical advice.

It is also, by no means, thorough. I'm still learning myself.

Most people roll their eyes when they are first introduced to the topic of using essential oils when it comes to autism...

I get it. Remember I used to be skeptic too. And there are tons of people who push essential oils to make a sale because they're working for one of those MLM companies (that is NOT me, by the way). I personally refuse to support these companies due to their promotion of unsafe practices, among many other things.

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 other sensory therapy strategies
  • Prefer to use natural methods
  • Want to avoid prescription medications
  • Hoping to find something that will help your child sleep better
  • Tired of other strategies not working or having little impact
  • Hoping to find something that will help with your child's anxiety
  • Finding a less expensive therapy solution to try (admit it: autism therapies are expensive!)
  • Want to have some tools 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. We were also 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.

Essential Oil Safety Tips for Autism

I've already alluded to the fact that there is a lot of unsafe practices promoted by many MLM sales people, so it's time to discuss essential oil safety, okay?

First, if your child is sensitive to scents, then essential oils likely won't be a good fit for you. Or you might need to be cautious about which essential oils you use. They might enjoy one scent, but might find others overwhelming. So be cautious and consider your child's sensory preferences and needs when introducing essential oils.

Second, you'll want to become best friends with the website Using Essential Oils Safely and their corresponding Facebook group. I cannot recommend their resources enough.

Third, you always need to dilute essential oils with some kind of carrier oil.

Four, many essential oils aren't safe to use around pets and young children, so please research the essential oils thoroughly before using them. Again, you'll want to reference the Using Essential Oils Safely website.

Best essential oil for autism

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 Essential Oils to Try for Autism

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.

A guide to autism essential oils

How to Use Essential Oils for Autism

Incorporating essential oils into your day can be super easy to do! You can:

Essential Oil Blends for Autism

Sometimes we use a single essential oil or premade blends (like the happy kids blend mentioned above) and other times, I like to make a blend of essential oils. Here are a couple of recipes that we use:

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A guide to autism essential oils