Homeopathy and the Child with Developmental Delays
by Amy Rothenberg, N.D.
In the last few years, a signiﬁcant number of children have been diagnosed with ADD, ADHD, PDD, and autism. Many professionals, such as those in the DDR, believe that the number of these children is actually increasing. Of the many approaches available to help children function better at home, school and in the community, natural and alternative treatments are gaining mainstream attention. People are attracted to these treatments because of the lack of negative side affects.
As a naturopathic physician, I use a multifactorial approach to treating children. First, a good diet and nutrition are essential for optimal functioning. This can be achieved by the removal of food and environmental allergens and supplementation (see related articles). Second, I encourage my patients to work within a psychologically supportive framework, using an approach team that involves the whole family. Both of these modalities enhance the action of homeopathy.
Homeopathy is a medical art and science which uses small doses of natural substances to stimulate a patient’s own inherent healing abilities. It is practiced by many types of health care professionals, some of whom are physicians who combine it with allopathic techniques and treatments. The homeopath strives to understand each patient’s unique mental, emotional, and physical make-up, aiming always for an individualized treatment.
I view a person’s health as a condition of the whole individual, rather than in terms of the presence or absence of isolated symptoms. Homeopathic remedies are selected which best correspond to the person’s total state. The job of the homeopath is to match the symptoms/behaviors of a child to a remedy that has cured exactly the same state in others. The remedy may be given once or repeated over a period of time.
It is thus very important to know exactly how the child is most challenged, how the difﬁculties are manifested (as learning, behavior, emotional, or impulse control problems, for instance) and what techniques have worked, and which have not. I want to know the most troubling symptoms and what makes them better or worse, what medications have been used and how they have been tolerated, and if there were any external events which seem to bring about the problems.
I review the overall health of he child, including the function of all major body systems- respiratory, digestive, sleep, and elimination. This exploration often reveals certain tendencies which aid in selecting a homeopathic remedy. Finally, I look at the results of any psychological, neurological , or educational evaluations and relevant medical records. It is very important to do a thorough exam as there are approximately 5,000 remedies. In order to be effective, I need to ﬁne the one that best matches the speciﬁc way the child manifests symptoms. The overall proﬁle of the child helps me make an educated choice among the ones available.
Diagnosis is not essential in using homeopathy because it is the whole person, not a diagnosis that is being treated. Homeopathic treatments have been shown to be very effective for children who have any of the diagnoses mentioned earlier, as well as failure to thrive, depression, anxiety, sleep disturbances, Tourette Syndrome, and epilepsy. Although certainly not a cure-all, the vast majority of patients see some improvement, often very signiﬁcant.
Books about Homeopathy
- The Homeopathic Treatment of Children: Pediatric Constitutional Types by Paul Herscu, N.D., North Atlantic Books, 1991
- Stramonium by Paul Herscu, New England School of Homeopathy Press, 1996
- Ritalin-Free Kids: Safe and Effective Homeopathic Medicine for ADHD and Other Behavioral and Learning Problems by Judyth Reichenberg-Ullman, N.D. and Robert Ullman, N.D., Prima Publishing, 1996
- Homeopathic Remedies for Children‘s Common Ailments Common Ailments by Carolyn Dean M.D., Keats Publishing, 1995
- A Drug-Free Approach to Asperger Syndrome and Autism: Homeopathic Care for Exceptional Kids by Judyth Reichenberg-Ullman, N.D, Robert Ullman, N.D and Ian Luepker, N.D.
To find a homeopathic practitioner near you, contact the National Center for Homeopathy.
Dr. Rothenberg & her husband. Dr. Paul Herscu practice together in Enﬁeld. CT.[Initially published in New Developments: Volume 2, Number 2 - Fall, 1996]