New Physical Rehabilitation Program now available in Oakville!

Designed and implemented by Dr. Carole Smith, B.A., DC

Doctor of Chiropractic

Dr. Smith graduated with clinic honours from the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College (CMCC) in Toronto. She is certified in contemporary medical acupuncture (McMaster University), and also has experience treating patients with a variety of different muscle release techniques. She is currently on faculty at the CMCC and is involved in teaching the following courses: adjustive skills, clinical diagnosis, clinical psychology, and problem based learning.

Dr. Smith has treated a variety of patient conditions, including sports injuries, repetitive strain injuries, chronic conditions, as well as car accidents and other traumas. Dr. Smith has also worked as an IBI therapist for children with autism for over 10 years, both privately as well as centre based at Erinoak in Halton and Peel. She has experience working with a variety of special needs patients in a wide variety of clinical settings, and spent a year interning at the Muki Baum Children's Center in Toronto doing chiropractic and rehabilitation for the dual diagnosis students at the center. Dr Smith received music and academic scholarships to attend Simon Fraser University and holds a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in psychology with a focus on children with autism. She is also an accomplished bagpipe player, and has competed in various bagpipe competitions across North America and Scotland, including the World Pipe Band Championships in Glasgow, Scotland.

Programs are designed based on a child’s individual needs and goals and may involve such things as gross motor development, gait retraining for toe-walking behaviours, or sensitization to medical procedures based on IBI principles to facilitate future visits to the pediatrician or dentist.

Dr. Carole Smith has developed a special needs physical rehabilitation program now available at YOUR HEALTH Wellness Centre. For more information visit or call 905.829.0724.

What is autism?

Autism Spectrum Disorder is one of the most common developmental disabilities. Autism is usually diagnosed based on the behaviours seen before the age of three.
A child with autism usually has difficulties in four general areas:

  1. Speech, language and communication: language may develop slowly or not at all; child may use words without attaching typical meaning to them; may communicate with gestures rather than words.
  2. Relating to people objects and events: spends time alone rather than with others; shows little interest in making friends; less responsive to social cues such as smiles or eye contact
  3. Responses to sensory stimuli: may have sensitivities in the areas of sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste
  4. Developmental discrepancies: may have difficulties in gross and fine motor tasks; may show aggression to self or others; often has difficulties with changes in routine; may be overactive or passive

Autism impacts the typical development of the brain in the areas of social interaction and communication skills. Children and adults with autism typically have difficulties in verbal and non-verbal communication, social interactions, and leisure or play activities. They find it hard to communicate with others and relate to the outside world. In some cases, aggressive and/or self-injurious behaviour may be present. Persons with autism may exhibit repeated body movements (hand flapping, rocking), unusual responses to people or attachments to objects and resistance to changes in routines. Individuals may also experience sensitivities in sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste.

Based on recent studies by Canadian researchers, the prevalence rate of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is 1 in 165. In Ontario, there is an estimated 70,000 individuals with ASD. Yet most of the public, including many professionals in the medical, educational, and vocational fields, are still unaware of how autism affects people and how they can effectively work with individuals with autism. Although children with autism may differ considerably in their behavior, their learning and cognition tend to be somewhat predictable and characteristic. There is no standard "typical" person with autism. Parents may hear different terms used to describe children within this spectrum, such as autistic tendencies, autism spectrum, high-functioning or low-functioning autism, more-abled or less-abled. Whatever the diagnosis, children can learn and function productively and show gains from appropriate education and treatment.

How is autism diagnosed?

There are no medical tests for diagnosing autism. An accurate diagnosis must be based on observation of the child’s communication, behaviour, and developmental levels. Because many of the behaviours associated with autism are shared by other disorders, various medical tests may be ordered to rule out or identify other possible causes of the symptoms.

The characteristics of a disorder vary so much, that a child should be evaluated by a multidisciplinary team which may include a neurologist, psychologist, developmental paediatrician, speech/language therapist, learning consultant, or other professionals knowledgeable about autism. Diagnosis is difficult for a practitioner with limited training or exposure to autism. Difficulties in the recognition and acknowledgment of autism often lead to a lack of services to meet the complex needs of individuals with autism.

What causes autism?

There is an abundance of research currently being done to try to answer this question. Researchers from all over the world are exploring different explanations for the various forms of autism.

Although a single specific cause of autism is not known, current research links autism to biological or neurological differences in the brain. In many families there appears to be a pattern of autism or related disabilities, suggesting a genetic basis to the disorder. The genetic basis is believed by researchers to be highly complex and involving several genes in combination. Autism is not a mental illness. Children with autism are not kids who misbehave. Autism is not caused by bad parenting. There are no known psychological factors in the development of the child that have been shown to cause autism.