A Fever and Autism

The first time I was told by a parent that a child with nonverbal autism was talking in his sleep while having a high fever during a cold, I doubted my ears.  I couldn’t believe that a child with nonverbal autism who had never spoken a word in his life would suddenly talk in sentences. Still, when he woke up the following day without a fever, he returned to his usual, intensely sensory-seeking self.

I thought this event was exceptional and rare, but I soon realized I was wrong. I have since experienced a significant number of children with nonverbal autism who have begun to speak during a high fever.  I have met children who have struggled with fevers but are fully awake and interacting, not just talking. I have met many parents who have reported ease in more than just speech during fevers.  This is not unusual but very common in children with ASD.

I can find several studies that confirm this.

In a 2007 Curran study, 80% of parents reported that their child showed improvement during a fever.  Improvements included a decrease in sensory over-sensitivity, a decrease in hyperactivity, a decrease in homophobic behavior, and an improvement in language skills.

A 2014 study by Zimmerman found that some children show improvement before the onset of a cold fever. These children tended to maintain their improvement after the cold.

In 2012, Herbert concluded that the evidence of fever-induced changes in symptoms suggests that autism is not a fixed, unchangeable encephalopathy but a changeable encephalopathy and that cold fever improves autism symptoms. (The Autism Revolution: Whole-Body Strategies for Making Life All It Can Be by Dr. Martha Herbert)

Parents need to consider the following questions and make profound choices seriously. When a child has a fever from a cold, do I try to help the child get better naturally, even if it’s a little tricky, or do I use fever reducers because it’s harder on the child but ruins the chances of improving the child’s autism?

It’s clear to note that fever reducers don’t cure colds.

They only bring down the fever…..

Ref. https://hms.harvard.edu/news/cracking-fever-autism-mystery

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