Autism and Vision Problems, and How Vision Therapy Can Help

There’s no miracle cure for autism. It’s a truth that’s tough to accept, but it has led to the development of therapies that help treat the effects of autism in children and adults. Among those autism therapies, vision therapy has shown incredible potential in the correction of vision and coordination problems related to autism.

Autism and vision problems aren’t always associated with each other, but repairing poorly working visual systems through therapy can make learning and activities of daily living easier for autistic and adults with autism. Vision therapy for visual problems in patients with autism has the potential to correct problems with:

  • Poor eye contact
  • Aversion to light
  • Emotional reactions to visual stimuli
  • Tendency to look through or beyond objects
  • Tracking moving objects
  • Coordinating multiple brain processes related to vision

Success in these therapies, stemming from completion of individualized vision therapy programs based on the needs of each individual with autism, eases the burden of undertaking everyday tasks.

What Is the Sensory Experience of Children with Autism?

Children with autism struggle with the ability to use all of their sensory systems at one time. For example, combining the sense of touch with the sense of sight may be overwhelming when trying to process both at once.
But issues don’t just arise from combined sensory stimulation. Too much activity in a single sense can also cause stress or adverse reactions. It may be difficult for children with autism to handle large amounts of sound or visual information at one time. In a busy environment, one that people without autism may take for granted, affected children with autism and eye problems can easily be inundated with information that they can’t immediately process.
Luckily, even a brain that doesn’t function the way it commonly does can learn strategies to overcome the struggles of autism.

Vision Therapy Treats a Range of Autism’s Effects on the Brain

Training the brain through vision therapy helps it find new ways and shortcuts that enable children with autism to take on and complete ordinary tasks. It addresses such issues as:

  • Hand-eye coordination
  • Understanding of physical location
  • Depth perception
  • Fine motor skills
  • Large motor skills
  • Eye contact
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Impulse control

Some of the issues listed are misdiagnosed or treated in ways unrelated to vision and may be untreatable through methods that are not vision therapy.
Retraining the brain to find strategies to overcome deficiencies is best undertaken during childhood if the child is affected by autism. If vision therapy continues through adulthood, children have a remarkable chance to make permanent changes to brain systems that can positively impact their quality of life as an adult.
When addressing issues with autism during childhood, explore the possibilities of vision problems as they relate to your child’s autism symptoms. Think about how vision problems may connect some of the behaviors that make learning and functioning difficult for your child.
If they seem at all related to a possible vision problem, contact a vision therapy specialist as soon as possible. For children with autism, communicating that a vision problem exists may be problematic, as they have very little input for comparison of their own vision to others. Communicate openly and talk to a therapist when you are ready.

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