Typically, vision therapy helps improve the neurological connections between the eyes and the brain, improving visual ability. Most times, visual problems associated with autism in children go undetected and untreated.
Visual autism makes it difficult for individuals to process what they see. According to the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology research, most children with autism have undetected vision problems.
Vision Problems Associated with Autistic Behaviors
Most of the following autistic behaviors are associated with poor vision.
- Common eye-rolling
- Difficulty in tracking moving objects
- Looking beyond objects
- Poor eye contact
- Light sensitivity
- Eye alignment
- Lack of reciprocal play
- Visual stimming
- Viewing objects from the eye side
Vision Therapy for Persons with Autism
Vision therapies involve various exercises and tools to help improve vision for persons with autism. It is also used by people who have suffered a brain injury or stroke.
This program helps persons with autism improve visual processing. After undergoing this therapy, you can easily understand your surroundings and thus improve on common autistic behaviors such as anxiety.
Vision therapists customize each person’s program to meet the required needs. This program aims to improve the following:
- Visual information processing
- Efficient eye coordination
- Central vision
- Visual-spatial organization
Visual-spatial misperception is a common vision problem where an autistic person gets frightened or distressed by moving objects and people. This results in various behavioral responses such as looking beyond an object or poor eye contact.
Yoked prism lenses help persons with autism better understand their vision. They enhance balance, posture, and attention, thus improving your sense of comfort and physical safety. It also reduces sensory overload and anxiety.
You should wear the lenses daily for the whole period of the therapy program. This will help you gain significant improvements. The program’s objective is to simplify your daily tasks and reduce your challenges. Vision therapy is also intended to improve your functionality and quality of life.
There is no specified period for recovery through this therapy. It varies from person to person. The difference is evident in children’s first ten weeks while adults take longer; children’s brains are more flexible.
Types of visual processing
There are two methods of visual processing: Ambient and Focal vision.
It is the most common visual processing; a person visits an optician to get a prescription for glasses to have a clear vision. This type only covers only 2% of a person’s field of vision and helps one identify people and objects.
This is the source of disorientation and confusion among autistic people. It helps you understand where you are in space and what you see.
A person learns this processing method unconsciously during the early stages of development. However, people with autism have problems learning this vision unconsciously, resulting in disorientation, confusion, and stress. If a person becomes too stressed, his vision gets impaired even more.
Persons with peripheral vision have a low capacity to pay attention to visual input and sustain a performance for a long period. Vision therapies can help you permanently cure this problem.
Source of Autism
Research for the source of autism is still ongoing. Some suggest that it is a combination of environmental, genetic, and nongenetic influences.
Challenges Facing This Therapy
Shortage of Optometrist Professionals
One of the most common challenges facing this therapy is the shortage of optometrist professionals capable of treating autism. Many people who suffer from the condition would benefit if there were enough professionals in this field. Additionally, Optometrist professionals require combining expertise from other fields to be more effective. Other reasons include insurance costs and the availability of clinics.
It Does Not Work Overnight
Similar to other types of therapy, this therapy does not work overnight. It requires time, patience, and persistence. There are times you can experience deep fatigue due to neurological transitions.
A consultation with optometrist specialists is vital if you have autism spectrum disorder. Every person can benefit from the above therapy. If you have a child with autism, ensure you provide the necessary remedy since childhood is the perfect time to retrain the brain. Vision therapies can make a life change for persons with autism.
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