Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a range of childhood developmental conditions characterized by social, behavioural, and communication deficits. Many individuals with ASD have problems with sensory integration that affect the visual system and other sensory-processing abilities. Vision therapy enhances the neurological connections between the eyes and brain to help people with ASD better perceive what their eyes see and make better sense of their environment. In addition we may use lenses and filters to further improve their visual comfort and abilities.
Research has found that vision therapy benefits individuals with autism by improving eye-contact and gaze, visual attention, central and peripheral integration, visual-spatial abilities, posture and balance, visual efficiency, and eye-tracking.
Common visual symptoms highly associated with ASD
- Gaze aversion
- Turning head, looking out of corner of eye
- Being attracted to shiny surfaces or mirrors
- Prolonged fixating on light patterns, windows or blinds
- Hyper fixating on one object while ignoring other objects in the room
- Always prefers/avoids a particular color
- Shows distorted body postures or orientation including arching back, hyper extension of neck
- Toe walking
- Touches all surfaces (walls, furniture, etc) when in an unfamiliar environment
- Anxiety or avoidance associated with fast moving objects or animals
- Spinning objects close to face
- Intense light sensitivity
- Poor attention to one’s surroundings as well as a lack of interest in one’s environment
- Preference for looking at objects (or parts of objects) rather than people
Common visual signs associated with ASD
- Poor fixation
- Strabismus and Amblyopia Turned and Lazy eyes
- Integrating peripheral with central vision
- Poor convergence
- Poor binocular function
While vision therapy won’t solve every issue a child with autism has, however it can have a significant impact in helping improve their ability to manage activities of daily living such as school and social interactions.
Our experienced optometrist is skilled in working with patients with autism spectrum disorders. You may need to make a few visits to the clinic to allow the person to become more comfortable with the new environment. We will often schedule two visits to ensure we cover all the testing required.
For more information, please call us at 02 9982 1039.