Best Essential Oils that Help Children with Autism

Autism and Essential Oils

Autism and Essential oils aren’t typically seen in the same sentence. However, They should be because essential oils are an amazing tool that can help your loved one with Autism! I’m not saying they are a cure for anything, and they definitely don’t supersede medicine or what your doctor recommends, but they can help your child to navigate the stressors in the world. If you have autistic children these oils can be a game changer in their day to day lives.

This article is all about the best essential oils to help your child with autism, but essential oils are for everybody. If you have a child with autism, autism spectrum disorder, sensory processing disorder, sensory overload, children with high anxiety levels, ADD, ADHD or even just hyper kiddos then this article is for you. I mentioned a long list of conditions because we aren’t trying to treat a condition! We are simply using pure essential oils to induce a calming effect on your child’s nervous system.

What do all of these conditions have in common?

Great question! The biggest commonality in all of these is they have sensory sensitivity, which is causing their brains to be in constant over drive! For Autism Spectrum Disorder and Sensory Processing Disorders specifically your children actually can’t filter in the information coming in. Your high Anxiety children also suffer with the inability to process a lot of the information coming in from their environment. When you can’t process the world around you it becomes confusing on the brain. When the brain is confused the brain is stressed and kicks in to your survival fight or flight mode. That part of your brain makes this a difficult world to live in.

A normal functioning brain can take all the sounds around you like a car driving down the road, the typing of a key board, the whirling of LED lights, the buzzing of the refrigerator, the chirping of birds, others talking behind you, and music playing in the background and say ok none of this is important information so I’m going to dampen it. You can sit at your desk and know all of these are going on, but almost dampen them all to where you can’t even hear it. An ASD or SPD brain physically can’t do that, so when every aspect of the world takes the same level of importance in the brain, your brain becomes flooded and overwhelmed.

As for your ADD and ADHD kiddos their brains are also trying to go none stop. If you look at research conducted by the CDC they will tell you that 13% of boys will have ADHD vs the 6% of girls. Their brains are literally telling them to move move move and yet we are in a society that says you have to sit and pay attention. While we can’t make a quick change in the society, we can add in the easy use of organic essential oils to make an impact and cause positive effects in their day to day lives!

The Basics

The best essential oil for everyone will be a bit different. You will want to test each one out with your specific child to make sure that it has a positive impact and doesn’t cause too much stimulation. That will be a little different for each child, but we’ll discuss the most common ones used to help.

Before I get in to how people with Autism and essential oils work well together, lets first cover a few important bases. Children have a lot more sensitive skin then adults do. I highly advise using a carrier oil like coconut oil, olive oil, almond oil, etc. when using these oils on their skin. It decreases the potency of the oil so we don’t cause any skin reactions.

You will also need to make sure the oil company you use only uses natural products in their oils, and that they don’t have any chemical composition in there. The ingredients should only come from parts of a plant. Your child is already so sensitive to the world around them that we don’t want to add in a chemical stressor and overwhelm their brains anymore then they already are.

Each time you use a new oil you should conduct a patch test. This means you will take the essential oil and mix it with a carrier oil. You then place a small drop of this oil on your child’s skin and watch for any adverse reaction or allergic reactions. I’d recommend using the wrist or leg as they are less sensitive regions. (Please note that this is not medical advise and you should always consult with your medical practitioner with any concerns before using essential oils).

The Best Essential Oils

Lavender Essential Oil

Lavender oil in my opinion is one of the best oils to use with children in general but definitely ASD children. It has a soothing effect on the skin so it’s not one that usually causes sensitivities. It provides a relaxing aroma, so it doesn’t become over stimulating. The best part is that it causes a relaxing effect on the mind. If your child’s brain is always on over drive, then this oil gently steps on the break saying whoa lets slow it down a little. Any time I have an ASD, SPD, ADD, ADHD or high anxiety child in my office I will have this oil diffusing. It’s amazing to see how many of them get sleepy after just a few minutes in the office. This oil when used at night will also help your child’s sleep quality.

Frankincense Oil

Frankincense is called the go to oil. When you look at the positive effects of this oil it can pretty much help with most things. It’s great for the immune system because it supports healthy cellular function. It has an uplifting aroma so if your child is going into an environment they don’t like, you can use this one and it calms that down some. It is used topically to help with skin, so it’s not known to cause any sensitivities. But the greatest effect is that it is considered a comforting oil. When applied topically you’ll see your child calm down a little and not be as anxious.

Vetiver Oil

Vetiver is a member of the grass family, and because of that this oil has a great grounding and calming effect. This one is a lot stronger as far as the aroma of essential oils. It is a bit harsher when used on the skin so watch for skin irritation. If you are going to use this one it is a must to mix with a carrier oil and test to make sure the smell isn’t overwhelming for your child. The calming effects of this oil are amazing especially when mixed with lavender. It’s a great one to use as long as it isn’t over stimulating to your child.

Bergamot Oil

Bergamot is a citrus oil, so for most it will have a sweet smell. This is a teacher favorite to use in the classroom because of its calming and soothing aroma. This one has a stronger smell to it so it can be over stimulating if not diluted. Test this one out before using. If your child doesn’t have any negative emotions to the smell this is a great one to use!

Ylang Ylang Essential Oil

Ylang Ylang oil is one of my personal favorites! The added benefits of essential oils are amazing! If you use this one internally it can provide antioxidant support, so it’ll boost your immune system. It creates a positive atmosphere so in a high anxiety situation this calms the brain a lot! The overall smell and effects are calming so it becomes amazing to use with ASD children. One of the best benefits with this oil is that it is a balancing oil. This oil has also shown to balance hormones, PMS, mood swings and the brain, which is why it is a personal favorite of mine.

Mandarin Essential Oil

Mandarin oil isn’t for everyone. It is an uplifting oil and has a stronger aroma. It can help support digestion and immune function. This one in my personal opinion becomes a bit more over stimulating though. This is a great one for environments that are seen as negative to a child because it is an excellent mood enhancer, but again due to it being a stimulating oil you have to be careful if you use this one with your ASD or SPD child. Definitely dilute this one if you choose to use it and use this one a little more sparingly.

Cedarwood Oil

Cedarwood oil is made out of wood, so it has amazing grounding effects, which is very important for ASD kids. It has a mild woody sweet smell so it doesn’t cause overstimulation. This one also has a comforting and relaxing effect. All in all this is an amazing one for kids. A lot of people are allergic to cedarwood though, so performing a patch test is highly advised for this one.

Chamomile Oil / Roman Chamomile

Chamomile is another great one for ASD! It has a sweet smell with a very calming effect. It is a skin soother so doesn’t typically cause sensitivities. This oil also boosts the immune system.  


Peppermint is one of my favorite oils to use personally! This is a stronger oil both aroma wise and sensitivity wise, so you will need to dilute this one. This oil helps to support the respiratory tract especially if you add it in with your deep breathing exercises. This one wakes up the brain so it will help with mental focus and positivity. This oil also provides a cooling sensation so if your child over heats a lot diluting this one and placing it on the feet can help. This one can be overstimulating so make sure you dilute it and that your child likes this one.

All in all a lot of the natural essential oils are great for children. For ASD and SPD I recommend the more mild smelling ones, but as long as the stronger ones are pleasant for your child then they are great to use as well. Essential oils can be a powerful tool in helping to calm down your child’s brain, but remember it is on an individual basis. While I’ve seen these oils make significant improvements in some kids lives, I have also seen some kids react negatively to them. If oils cause any emotional stress in your child don’t use them! It simply means that this is not the right tool for your child!

Alternative Therapies

Essential oils aren’t for everybody so I’ll quickly mention a couple different therapies you can look into as well to help your child.

Traditional Chinese Medicine

I highly recommend this as an alternative therapy. Most of these doctors will do acupuncture and herbal medicine. They are able to evaluate their bodies on a different level, and often times can work with your child’s doctor to find the best treatment plan for your child. I personally will co-treat my patients with a local Doctor of Oriental Medicine. While doing some functional neurology and using the tools provided in this article, I’ve noticed that my patients get better faster when adding in TCM.

Color Therapy

Color therapy is starting to become more and more common. We have known for years that you can either decrease or increase the input coming into the brain based off of the color you see through. Obviously for Autism and other conditions that cause hyperactive brains we don’t want to increase the information coming in. However, we have seen that when you use blue therapy lenses that it actually dramatically decreases the amount of information coming in. They have been helpful with Autism, Anxiety, Sensory Processing Disorders, ADD/ADHD and so much more.

Autism Academy

These academy’s are a great resource. They have teams of highly trained individuals and most will be board certified behavior analysts. They are trained specifically on how to help your child function better in this crazy world. It often helps children to see that they aren’t alone and can become a great family type environment. It also helps the parents because you will meet the parents of children just like yours. They can help your child with social interaction, communication skills, navigating human emotions, and so much more.


No two people are the same just like no two autistic children are the same. I hope that this article helps you to find a few great tools you can add to your toolbox of things to help your child. We live in a world that is rapidly changing, so if you haven’t found what works for your child yet then keep looking. Check into our other article on Autism and Other Conditions that Causes Toe Walking as we dive into a few different areas that Autism effects. You can also look at How to Get Better Grades using Essential Oils if you’d like more information on some of the common terminology used in the Essential Oil Communities.

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