Every day, we gain more knowledge on the best therapies to improve the lives of those affected by autism. With the research provided by the Center for Discovery near Hurleyville, New York, the growing knowledge and resources for non-traditional therapies and programs have greatly contributed to positive outcomes for those with developmental disabilities, specifically autism.
The Associate Executive Director of the Center for Discovery, Dr. Theresa Hamlin told ABC News, “We’re really trying to understand complex conditions and autism…and figure out new treatments, new interventions that can change the outcome for children and their families.” Through their research, the Center for Discovery has found that music therapy, theater, and organic farming have significantly improved the development of those with autism.
According to Good Morning America, each year the center treats 1,200 children and young adults that are either residents or outpatients. Through the music therapy and theater programs, the students have had the opportunity to put on a production of “Beauty and the Beast”. This has been a remarkable achievement for many because several students are nonverbal. As a result, this moment in the spotlight has allowed them to connect with others through their acting and singing.
Another non-traditional therapy that has been deemed successful at the Center for Discovery is the growing of organic food on its campus, with some of the food sold commercially. According to the 2015 study done by the Journal of Pediatric Health, Medicine and Therapeutics, “There’s a connection between diet and the health of the gastrointestinal system in patients with Autism Spectrum Disorder since they are at greater risk of general gastrointestinal concerns.” Thus, research has shown that organic farming has helped treat those with autism as this type of food directly correlates to their dietary needs.
These various non-traditional treatments have helped improve the lives of many that have attended the Center of Discovery and should be considered globally. Michael Rosen, father of a student who attends this center agrees, telling ABC, “We need to take the programs and treatments happening here and we need to make them worldwide.” The productions and opportunities that the Center of Discovery fosters for those with developmental disabilities allows them to reach their fullest potential and to be a part of something much bigger than themselves.