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Unmasking Autism and Vision

Did you know that 1 in every 66 children in Canada are diagnosed with Autism?

Individuals with autism use their visual space differently due to developmental delays that has them react more quickly to their side vision (faster system).  The slower, focusing, central system doesn't have a chance against the faster side vision response.  This explains the lack of eye contact, staring at spinning objects, side ways viewing, stimming using objects or hands, and difficulty with attention.  

Vision Therapy reduces these visual spatial dysfunctions through an individually prescribed program that can change the way people with autism see and perceive their world. Custom programs are designed and meant to normalize and improve visual abilities, like focusing, teaming, movements, and perception.

Here are some things that can be prescribed by the neuro-optometrist to help the patient:

  • therapeutic lenses 
  • prisms 
  • Syntonic filters and special tints on lenses 
  • binasals

The earlier children with autism have a visual exam and begin therapy, the faster the improvement and overall chances for success.

Children with autism can have motor, sensory, language, and social delays. Their vision problems affect cognitive abilities, speech and language, emotional development, and social development.Poor spatial awareness and lack of eye contact makes socializing difficult, but Vision Therapy is the bridge that helps with expression of imagination! 
Did You Know? 

Recent studies have found that near-sightedness, far-sightedness, and/ astigmatism, may be more common in those with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. 

Signs Of Poor Vision Can Be Dismissed As Autistic Behavior

Poor vision can be difficult to recognize in a child with autism because vision disorders can mimic autistic behaviour. Here are some things to look for:

  • inability to follow things with their eyes
  • over focusing, or lack of focus.
  • bumping into things due to lack of peripheral vision skills.
Pamela, works with a patient on the SVI (Sanet Vision Integrator). They are working with fixation, pursuits, saccades, and laterality. 
Early intervention for an individual with autism can make a lifetime of difference! Speak to your optometrist today about a developmental eye exam. 
Dr. Temple Grandin states, “A child who can see his world clearly has a much better chance of benefiting from other therapies.
May Quote
"Children with autism are very observant so they will notice everything, including your attitude toward them."

-Trevor Pacelli (Growing up Autistic)
Copyright © 2017 Halton Vision Therapy Centre,  All rights reserved.

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