Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) affects a wide variety of people. Individuals with SPD and other different diagnoses or labels may have sensory issues such as sound sensitivity, difficulty screening out background noise, or visual sensitivity to fluorescent lights.
Many of the behavioral characteristics of those falling within the autism spectrum involve the visual system. Poor eye contact, staring at lights or spinning objects, looking askance, side viewing and general difficulties attending are often symptoms of visual dysfunction.
In some cases, typical autistic behaviors like poor eye contact, looking through or beyond objects, extreme aversion to light, unusual reaction to sight, lack of reciprocal play, inordinate fear of heights or lack of appropriate fear of heights may be symptoms of visual problems that can be remediated with vision therapy.
Too often, visual problems which would have been detected early in non-disabled children go undiagnosed and untreated for children with disabilities, perhaps because the visual examination would be difficult, or the child is not able to verbalize a problem, or the school’s test showed “normal” 20/20 eyesight.
Research has shown conclusively that the earlier autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are identified, the better the ultimate outcome will be for a child’s overall development.
If visual processing problems are suspected, the child should see a developmental optometrist. This is a special eye doctor who can do therapy and exercises to help the processing problems that are inside the brain. In many of these children, the eye itself is normal but faulty wiring in the brain is causing the problem.
Before vision therapy Roberto struggled with reading and had trouble maintaining eye-contact. Prior to going to Alderwood Vision Therapy, he had seen other optometrists who indicated his eye-teaming issues might require surgery.
We did nor believe that our 12 year old son would tolerate wearing the glasses because he is very touch sensitive. As soon as his eye exam was over and the doctor told Jimmy to pick himself out a pair of glasses, he did it!
What does it mean to see?
Normal autistic behaviors, such as: poor eye contact, looking though or beyond objects, extreme aversion to light, unusual reaction to sight, lack of reciprocal play, inordinate fear of heights or lack of appropriate fear of heights and stemming, could be visual symptoms.
CTC encompasses children with a wide array of developmental issues and alternative learning styles, and they have been widely recognized for their innovative approach to helping children on the Autistic Spectrum learn and thrive (as featured in a Time Magazine cover article).
When it comes to helping children with developmental delays or those who have suffered a traumatic brain injury, one professional that has always impressed me for their empathy and advocacy for their patient is the occupational therapist.