Alternative Treatments

Alternative treatments include therapies typically not paid for by insurance or state programs.


ADELI SUIT – An adapted Russian astronaut space suit designed to put the body in proper alignment and to provide feedback between the muscles and the brain.

Adeli Suit

Alexander Technique

A reeducation of the mind and body on how to use the correct amount of effort for each task performed in a day. It helps to relieve tension and can help with ease of movement, coordination, and balance.

Alexander Technique
The Alexander Technique
The Complete Guide to the Alexander Technique

Amino Acid Therapy

Use of specially selected combinations of amino acids designed to control the exchange processes in the damaged brain cells.

Aquatic Therapy

Physical & Occupational therapy that is performed in a pool heated to between 92 and 96 degrees. These warm temperatures help to decrease spasticity and along with the buoyancy of the water helps the therapist get the patient into positions that are not tolerable for them during land based therapy. This therapy assists in improving range of motion, cardiovascular endurance, balance, strength, proprioception, tactile stimulation tolerance, relaxation, ambulation and pain management. This therapy can be used along with land-based therapy to best meet a patients needs. Listed below are a few of the indications where aquatic therapy could be utilized: developmental delay, cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury, diabetes, post orthopedic surgery, back pain, Down’s Syndrome, PDD, ADD, autism, sensory and vestibular involvement.

Aquatic Resources Network

Auditory Integration Therapy

AIT involves several components including some audiological work, behavior analysis and management, educational issues, and after-care counseling for the client and family. The most satisfactory results can be obtained when a multi-disciplinary team approach is used for the administration of the AIT program. SAIT recommends a multi-disciplinary team which could include (but is not limited to) specialists in the fields of audiology, psychology, special education, and speech/language.

AIT–A Checklist for Parents

Baclofen Therapy

The Baclofen Pump is used for treatment of severe spasticity. A Baclofen Pump is implanted into the body that delivers a dose of Lioresal Intrathecal directly to the spinal cord. It relieves spasticity with low dosages. Low incidence of side effects because the medication does not get into the bloodstream.

Implantable Infusion Pump
Intrathecal Baclofen Overview
Factsheet: Baclofen and the Baclofen Pump
Oral Baclofen Therapy


Botulinum Toxin – Injected into spastic muscles to weaken them. During the period that these muscles are weakened increased therapy helps to reach a greater range of motion and to increase strength in the non-spastic muscles. Helps to decrease scissoring of legs and decrease spasticity even after the Botox injections wear off. Effects are only temporary and injections have to be repeated about every 6 months to a year.

Botulinum Toxin A in the Management of Spastic Gait Disorders in Children and Young Adults With CP

Conductive Education

An education system used to develop problem solving skills in people with physical disabilities.  Seeks to make it easier for persons to function at their maximum potential in society and teaches them to find their own solutions. Promotes self confidence and motivation.

Conductive Education
Ability Camp — Centre for Conductive Education
Beginning Steps to Independence Inc. — San Jose
Conductive Education Information Home Page
Listing of Conductive Education Centers
Moira Centre — Real Conductive Education
National Institute of Conductive Education

Constrained Induced Therapy

Therapy used for stroke patients consisting of restraining the unaffected arm/hand so the patient is forced to use the affected arm/hand. This is thought to retrain the brain to be able to use the affected hand/arm.

CI Therapy
Constraint-Induced Movement Therapy: A New Family of Techniques with Broad Application to Physical Rehabilitation — A Clinical Review
Constraint-induced movement therapy for focal hand dystonia in musicians
Constraint-Induced Movement Therapy (CIMT): Strong Evidence Supportive of the Habit Retraining Model
Constraint-Induced Therapy: Ready for Prime Time?
Constraint-Induced Movement Therapy

Cranio-Sacral Therapy

Cranialsacral therapy is the evaluation and enhancement of the wave like pulsations of the cerebral spinal fluid. Helps to steady the gait and to properly align the body.

Cranial Sacral Therapy
The Craniosacral Therapy Association of the UK
National Down Syndrome Congress: Position Statement On


Can help children of all ages and has many rewarding benefits such as: increased self esteem, better motor planning skills, socialization and group interaction skills, increased self awareness of personal and surrounding spaces, and an excellent avenue for also using verbal skills with song and dance!


EEG Biofeedback

A learning strategy that enables persons to alter their brain waves by making information about their brain wave characteristics available to them so that they can learn to change them. Electrodes attached to the head measure brain wave activity while you move certain muscles. Learn to use certain parts of the brain to move certain muscles.

EEG Biofeedback
Biofeedback Certification Institute of America
Cascade Center for Family Growth
Controlled Study of the Effects of EEG Biofeedback on Cognition and Behavior of Children with ADDs and Learning Disabilities
EEG Biofeedback in the Schools
Frequently Asked Questions
Future Health, Inc.
Neurological Processes of the Brain

For more information on EEG Biofeedback contact:
Pittsburg State University EEG Biofeedback Lab
Hughes Annex
113 Cleveland
Pittsburg, KS 66762
(316) 235-4593

EMG Biofeedback

Used to train alternate cells of the brain that are not damaged to take over the task for damaged ones in brain damage such as stroke, head trauma, and cerebral palsy.

EMG Biofeedback and Strength Training
EMG & Oral Pharyngeal Dysphagia
How Effective Is EMG Biofeedback in the Treatment of Incontinence?


It provides environments for the nervous system to learn through touch and movement and develops sensory awareness to help people recognize habits of movement and posture.

About the Feldenkrais Method
The Feldendrais Guild of North America
Feldenkrais Resources

FES/Functional Electrical Stimulation

The principle behind this treatment is to deliver small electrical signals imitating the nerve impulses that have been blocked by brain or spinal cord injury. This therapy can be used with stroke victims, brain and spinal cord injuries, cerebral palsy and multiple sclerosis.

Center for Functional Electrical Stimulation
Efficacy of Neuromuscular Stimulation in Enhancing the Upper Extremity Motor and Functional Recovery of Acute Stroke Survivors

Hippotherapy/Therapeutic Horseback Riding

Therapeutic Horseback Riding — Therapy done while the person is on horseback. Helps with balance and can reduce spasticity.  Also is great for increasing self-esteem.

The Camelot Center
Graduate Certificate Program in Hippotherapy
Pal-O-Mine Equestrian
Taking a ride helps learning to walk – Hippotherapy
Therapeutic Horseback Riding and the Feldenkrais Method

Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment (HBOT)

Pure oxygen delivered under increased atmospheric pressure in order to force more oxygen into the bloodstream. HBOT has a huge interest among special needs parents globally. There is also a growing market that has sprung up around the world to fill the treatment demands of these parents. The web has largely been responsible for the rapid spread of anecdotes from one parent to the next about the success of HBOT. This in itself is a very important and wonderful thing. However, now if you search the web for the words “HBOT” or “cerebral palsy treatment” quite often you are directed to a commercial website promoting HBOT. Even HBOT’s biggest supporters will agree that HBOT is not a cure and not without risks.

This is only a small sampling of links related to HBOT.

American College of Hyperbaric Medicine
Kevin Fickle
H.B.O. and Cerebral Investigations In Stroke
HBO 4 R Kids
HBOT for Developmental Disabilities including RS and CP
HBOT Online
H.O.T. 4 R CP Kids Foundation
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy–Questions & Answers
Listing of HBO Centers
New Uses for HBO
Harch Hyperbarics
Dr. Harch’s Letter on HBO

Several of these links can also be found at the excellent site Kid Power.  You can also receive information from MUMS – the cost for the MUMS information packet is $20.00.

Julie J. Gordon, MUMS, National
Parent-to-Parent Network, 150 Custer Court, Green
Bay, WI, 54301-1243
1-877-336-5333 (toll free) 920-336-5333 920-339-0995 (Fax)
Email: Web:

Intensive Neurophysiological Rehabilitation System (INRS)

One of our officers attended a presentation of the Intensive Neurophysiological Rehabilitation System (INRS). You can read his summary here.

Manual Therapy

The therapist puts the muscles into a state of relaxation before stretching begins.  They treat both soft tissue and joint structures.

Early American Manual Therapy
North American Institute of Orthopedic Manual Therapy


A physical therapy program for infants and young children. Works on helping to develop the gross motor skills of these children with a rigorous routine of therapy.

Music Therapy

The use of music as therapy for the treatment of neurological, mental, or behavioral disorders.

Music Therapy
Canadian Association for Music Therapy
Prelude Music Therapy
Music Therapy: The Power of Music

NDT: Neuro-Developmental Treatment

BOEHME WORKSHOPS is a clinically based continuing education provider. They specialize in providing training, video-tapes and text books with a specialized focus on children and adults challenged by both congenital and acquired injuries to the central nervous system. These guys have trained many of the professionals. Great for families to learn directly from the pros or for pros to brush up on technique.

Neuro-Developmental Treatment Association (NDTA)is the professional certification organization.  They offer assistance in finding qualified instructors in your area.  Very helpful folks.

ICE is also a professional organization providing training seminars and videos.  We have no experience with them.

Neuro Therapy (IAHP, NACD)

You can use a program from The Institutes, NACD program, or a trained independent neurodevelopmentalist.  The Institutes uses a very rigorous program. Some parents find this very hard to follow. NACD is an offshoot of The Institutes and is less restrictive than IAHP.  A local therapist or an independent who travels to your area are probably the most convenient options.

The Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential
The National Academy of Child Development

Oral Baclofen

Oral Baclofen helps alleviate the signs and symptoms of spasticity.  Is not effective for everyone.

Oral Baclofen
We Move Baclofen Information

ROLFING – The manipultion of the soft tissues or myofacial system to allow for proper alignment and organization of the whole body in gravity.  Helps loosen up spastic muscles and smooths out gait patterns and helps keep the spine aligned.

Frome Physical Therapy
How Does Rolfing Work

Samonas Sound Therapy

Provides a slight massage to certain areas of the middle ear (stapedius and tympanic muscles) opening the system to sounds previously shut out or never accessed. If the sounds that are made available to the auditory system are not threatening, then the stimulation of the auditory system and growth in this area and all of the related systems can be achieved. If the sounds are a source of continued irritation or if the system is overstimulated, then these very same sounds can become another source of shutting down of the auditory system. Hence, the use of sound therapy must be done with wisdom and caution, making sure that there are not adverse reactions, at least long term adverse reactions.” — taken from “Samonas Sound Therapy” by Kay Ness, Copyright 1999.

The Whole Idea

Therapeutic Electrical Stimulation

Therapeutic Electrical Stimulation — is a low level electrical stimulation that does not contract the muscles but is enough to get blood to flow to them in hopes of helping stimulate muscle growth. The electrodes are worn at night during sleep when the body rejuvenates itself the most, in order to get optimum benefit. The electrodes are placed on the atrophied muscles in hopes to get them to grow and counteract the over active spastic muscles or to just get hypo tonic muscles to gain strength. A person has to be evaluated by a qualified therapist and approved before they can begin therapy. Patients are followed closely while on the TES and reevaluated at least every six months to mark progress and determine if placement of the electrodes is providing the desired effect.

The TASC Network
Myles Medical, Inc. — TES Electrodes

VOJTA THERAPY (REFLEXLOCOMOTION) (reflexlocomotion) is a highly specialized type of physical therapy that is designed to primarily enhance the motor development of a child. The treatment has added benefits of improvements in cognition, fine motor, breathing, and digestion. Vojta therapy is quite well known and well received across Europe and Japan and is expanding around the globe. The Vojta training centers are based in Germany and the Czech Republic. The method originated in the 1950′s by a pediatric neurologist, Dr. Vaclav Vojta and is still being improved upon. Vojta therapy is based on responses and reflexes to specific stimuli provoking muscle chain reactions as they appear in a typical child’s motor development. The treatment encourages those responses through specific positions and pressures applied.


Used to stimulate the cognitive and motor development of special needs children.

Yoga for the Special Child

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>