Complimentary Therapies Overview


Auditory Integration Therapy

Who & Where: Audiologist – In school or in private practice.

Auditory Processing disorder or Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD) are common secondary diagnoses for some children with autism. As with any treatment or therapy for autism – it may not always work for every child. Testing requires a dedicated and educated audiologist who understands autism and hearing disorders.

Who Pays: Insurance, Private Pay, School

More info: The Efficacy of Auditory Integration Training


Aquatic Therapy

Who & Where: PT or OT; Pool at school, therapist office, community center or home

Treatments and exercises are performed while floating, partially submerged, or fully submerged in water. Many aquatic therapy procedures require constant attendance by a trained therapist, and are performed in a specialized temperature-controlled pool. Rehabilitation commonly focuses on improving the physical function associated with illness, injury, or disability.
Aquatic therapy encompasses a broad set of approaches and techniques, including aquatic exercise, physical therapy, aquatic bodywork, and other movement-based therapy in water (hydrokinesiotherapy). Can help tactile sensitivity, and the water pressure input can help produce/increase speech production and socialization.

Who Pays: Insurance (when using a PT or OT), Medicaid, Private Pay

More info: Why Should You Use Aquatic Therapy For Children With Autism and and Aquatic Therapy for Children with Special Needs


Craniosacral Therapy

Who & Where: Physical therapists, massage therapists, naturopaths, chiropractors and osteopaths; Private clinic

Craniosacral therapy (CST), is reported to be a helpful therapy for some children with autism. The therapist gently massages the spine and the skull to treat mental stress, neck and back pain. Parents report the therapy can promote relaxation and can be beneficial when performed in conjunction with other traditional therapies (speech, OT, PT, etc.)

Who Pays: Insurance, Private Pay, Medwaiver (some states), school therapists

More info: Effective Light-Touch Training


Hippotherapy and Therapeutic (Horse) Riding

Who & Where: Hippotherapy requires a PT, OT or ST, Therapeutic Riding requires a riding instructor; Horseback Facility

Hippotherapy is often confused with therapeutic horseback riding. While both offer tremendous opportunities for our kids with ASD, they are not the same. Hippotherapy is done under the supervision of a certified OT, PT, or SLP; therapeutic riding is not. Helps with socialization, speech/communication, motor issues like hypotonia and posture.

Who Pays: Insurance (when using a PT/OT/ST), DD Funds, Grants, Private Pay

More info: American Hippotherapy Association and Therapeutic Riding


Music Therapy

Who & Where: Certified Music Therapists work with the child in the home or at school, or a private center.

Music therapy interventions focus on enhancing social, communicative, motor/sensory, emotional, and academic/cognitive functioning, or music skills in individuals with ASD. Music therapy
services are based on each client’s individual abilities, noting preferences, needs, the family’s values, beliefs, and priorities.

Who Pays: Insurance (where available), School, Private Pay

More info:


Vision Therapy

Who & Where: Developmental Optometrist, Optometric Physician (OD), doctor's office

Some children with autism benefit from vision therapy offered by an OD specializing in developmental vision care. Strategies can include ongoing treatment using daily visual exercises or Irlen lenses. These services may be paid by insurance if you have a qualified clinician in your plan. To find a practitioner go to

Who Pays: Insurance, Private Pay

More info: To find a practitioner go to