Doria Walsh, LMT is internationally certified in Pediatric Touch Therapy for Autism Spectrum Disorders and ADHD. In addition, she is a mom to a child with Autism and brings personal experience and understanding to her practice.

Doria’s interest in helping children with ASD and their families evolved after her son received a diagnosis of ASD at age 3. She realized how massage could change his life and his outcome.  She also began volunteering with Parent to Parent organization as a Peer Supporter for other parents whose child had received an ASD diagnosis. Through her own experiences she decided to educate other parents about what massage might be able to do for their child. Doria believes in celebrating the gifts that children with Autism bring to our lives, families and society as a whole.

Pediatric Massage Benefits Children With Autism

“Researchers have found that children with autism spectrum disorders show less stereotypical autistic behavior, are more social and attentive after receiving massage therapy and have less anxiety. Pediatric massage might provide relaxation, stress reduction and calm muscle spasms. Over time, the child typically becomes more accustomed to tactile stimulation and the regular intervention of pediatric massage might be beneficial in reducing inattentiveness, touch aversion and withdrawal. It is estimated between 56 percent and 83 percent of children with autism spectrum disorders experience sleep disturbances. Often, by incorporating massage therapy into daily routines, children with autism experience decreased issues with sleeping. When utilized by caregivers, massage therapy might help strengthen the emotional bond between parent and child.” Massage Today June, 2011, Vol. 11, Issue 06


Research has been published indicating that massage along with regular sensory integration may promote:

  • On-task and social relatedness behavior during play
  • Lessening of erratic behavior
  • Increased attentiveness
  • Tolerating more tactile stimulation
  • Decreased touch aversion
  • Body awareness
  • Decrease in sleep issues

Listening Without Judgment, Understanding From Experience

Having a child on the Spectrum brings a whole new dimension to the parenting experience. Many parents report frustration with health care providers or school personnel because they may not comprehend the sheer magnitude of the effects of Autism on the child and the entire family. Often the parent may feel unheard. In addition the physical, emotional and logistical demands on the entire family can be overwhelming. Doria understands this and will listen to you without judgment. She will work with you patiently over time to learn to “read” your child’s communication cues. Together you can work to promote parent/child bonding as well as help to relax and calm your child.

Pediatric Touch Therapy Sessions

The first session with your child will consist of going over the medical history form as well as learning about your child’s behaviors and sensory issues. During this time the child can acclimate themselves to the treatment room and the therapist. In subsequent weekly ½ hour sessions Doria will begin to introduce touch slowly during play and eventually work up to receiving touch for longer periods. She will also work with the Parent to develop an individualized massage protocol for home. The cost of each session is $40.

Please contact Doria to find out if you qualify for a grant to financially assist with massage sessions.