Aims of the Potential Project

I set up the Potential Project last year to build on my existing work with Reflexology for neurodiverse children and adults.

Having worked using Reflexology with Autistic children (ASC) for over 10 years I had observed certain patterns and likely outcomes, and an overwhelmingly positive response from parents who noticed a real difference in their children after treatment.

As it stands there is only one clinical trial into the effects of Reflexology with neurodiverse children which was carried out in Egypt in 2019. It was a small study but it had statistically significant results, and I will talk about that more in a future blog.

Having worked with Autistic children and seeing the impact that Reflexology can have it has been a source of frustration to me that it is not common practice for Autistic children to receive quality Reflexology, therefore I decided to set up a small informal trial just as a way of gathering data, and in a small way advancing knowledge about the subject.

The aim of the Potential Project is to gather information on a total of 100 children and teenagers with ASC, while they have a series of 6 treatments, at a rate of one treatment per week.

I am looking at the following hypothesis:

  • In my clinical experience Reflexology works exceptionally well at helping adults and children to manage anxiety.

  • As anxiety appears to be more common among the Autistic population, is it not possible that Reflexology could help neurodiverse individuals as well?

  • Anxiety may be a contributing factor to the cause of many behaviours that challenge, therefore working to reduce anxiety may have an impact on the frequency and intensity of behaviours that challenge.

  • This in turn might have a wider impact on the family dynamic and may build resilience and provide relief for Autistic children and teemagers who are constantly dealing with barriers and challenges.

I am measuring the treatments using standard MYMOP questionnaires at the beginning and end of the 6 week period. There is also another short questionnaire covering how behaviours that challenge impact the child and family and other related issues.

Weekly note taking will pick up other unexpected changes if they occur, and I am also interested to see if sensory issues have an impact on whether the individual engages with treatment.

I hope this project will be viewed as a fact finding exercise, rather than being compared to peer reviewed studies.

I will be writing regular blogs around my findings and on related subjects, and if you wish to follow the progress of the project they can be found on my website:

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