The month of April is Autism Awareness Month. During this month, the College of Optometrists in Vision Development (COVD) is bringing awareness to the ability of how vision therapy can positively impact those on the spectrum. At Vision For Life, it is our goal to work directly with your child and improve challenges with his or her vision while also improving their overall happiness.
Vision problems are very common in individuals with autism, but unfortunately they often go undiagnosed and untreated. These visual problems can only be properly examined in a complete developmental evaluation rather than in a basic 20/20 eye screening. I have had several cases in which autism was incorrectly diagnosed as a result of vision problems that can mimic austism-like symptoms in some children. Upon proper diagnosis of the vision problem, the patients underwent vision therapy to retrain their brain and eyes to properly work together and went on to lead lives without autism. Even if the autism diagnosis is correct, vision therapy can significantly improve symptoms and positively impact your child’s social and communicative skills.
Our vision therapy program can help treat the visual problems that autistic children commonly deal to include:
- Lack of eye contact
- Wandering eyes
- Difficulty focusing on an object or obsessive focusing
- Scanning or looking to the side of an object
- Difficulty maintaining attention
- Sensitivity to light
- Poor depth perception
- Impulse control
An autistic child’s motor, cognitive, speech and perceptual abilities can also become affected when his or her visual processing is impaired. If you notice one or more of the symptoms in your child, you should contact us for a complete vision evaluation. Depending on the results of the vision testing, we will decide the route of vision therapy to best fit your child’s needs. Your child may be prescribed lenses to compensate for nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism. It may also be beneficial to begin optometric vision therapy, which is designed to correct your child’s eye movements and visual-motor deficiencies. Your child’s vision therapy sessions may include non-invasive procedures, such as simple, age-appropriate exercises, designed to enhance his or her brain’s ability to control eye alignment, eye teaming, eye focusing, eye movements and visual processing.
How does our vision therapy program benefit a child with autism? In our vision therapy sessions, developmental optometrists examine the child’s neurological control system and treat his or her entire visual-motor system, altering reflexive behavior, which results in a lasting cure. Many children with autism are hypersensitive and visually defensive. At Vision For Life, our therapy sessions are specifically designed to help these patients gain peripheral stability. Our primary goal is to help our patients with autism process visual information better, which we know will have a positive impact on their entire life.
Are you interested in learning more about noninvasive, nonsurgical techniques that can help improve your child’s vision? Our office has experience evaluating and treating individuals with autism, successfully using vision therapy as a treatment option. Contact us today at 618-288-1489 to discuss treatments and therapies best suited for your family.