April is World Autism Month! To celebrate, here at OCVT we focus on sharing stories and providing opportunities to increase understanding and acceptance of people with autism, fostering worldwide support. This year, we are committed to keeping the spirit of the month alive, as now more than ever we know the autism community needs support, kindness and compassion.
Below are answers to commonly asked questions about World Autism Month, as well as more information on how vision therapy can benefit those with autism!
How can I participate in World Autism Month?
There is power in kindness and one small act can have a ripple effect to foster kindness in our communities. We believe that that kindness can help create a world where all people can reach their full potential.
Supporters can participate in the initiative by visiting autismspeaks.org/wam where they can:
- Commit to take action toward a kinder world.
- Connect with kindness by sharing resources and stories on social media to increase global understanding and acceptance.
- Lead with kindness by advocating to help advance policies that positively impact the autism community or starting a kindness campaign at work.
- Learn with kindness in the classroom with daily kind acts and fundraising activities.
- Care with kindness by accessing and sharing resources, including our Autism Response Team who provide real-time support, guidance and reliable information and services.
- Give with kindness through a donation, purchase in our e-store, or support of our corporate partners.
Other ways to participate include wearing blue on April 2, lighting buildings blue and exploring stories and photos shared by the diverse autism community.
What is Light It Up Blue?
The Light It Up Blue initiative was created by Autism Speaks in 2010. Since that time, joined by the international autism community, hundreds of thousands of landmarks, buildings, homes and communities around the world light blue on World Autism Awareness Day (April 2) in recognition of people with autism.
Where can I get items to show my support of Autism Speaks?
Please visit the Autism Speaks eStore to purchase t-shirts, bracelets, pins, yard signs and other promotional products to spread kindness. Printed materials such as posters, flyers and brochures can be downloaded for free from the resources page.
How can I light my home blue?
You can purchase Phillips Autism Speaks blue light bulbs at Home Depot stores or visit www.homedepot.com and search “Autism Speaks Lights.”
Where can I get the World Autism Month logo?
Vision Therapy for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in Austin & San Antonio, TX
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a range of childhood developmental conditions characterized by social, behavioral, 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. 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.
While vision therapy won’t solve every issue a child with autism has, it can help with lazy eye and strabismus, among other conditions of visual mechanics and processing. At the Optometry Center for Vision Therapy, our experienced developmental optometrists and therapists are skilled in working with patients with autism spectrum disorders. Consult with OCVT to find the right vision therapy for individuals with autism spectrum disorder.
Common Vision Conditions Associated with Autism
While vision problems aren’t always linked with autism, enhancing uncommunicative visual systems can help improve daily life for children and adults with ASD. Individuals with autism are on a spectrum and can have difficulties in several vision areas, including:
- Tracking objects moving quickly
- Maintaining eye contact with people
- Processing reactions to visual stimuli
- Looking beyond or through objects
- Aligning their eyes (strabismus)
- Keeping their eyes from wandering (amblyopia/lazy eye)
- Having light sensitivity
- Viewing things from the side of the eyes (i.e. TV watching)
- Fleeting views or rolling eyes
- Visual Stemming (i.e. flapping fingers in front of eyes)
These conditions require individualized vision therapy for autism, in which our OCVT doctors and vision therapists develop a program suited to the patient’s abilities and needs. The goal of vision therapy for individuals with autism spectrum disorder is to allow them to perform everyday tasks more easily, easing the burden on themselves and those around them.
How Does OCVT Help?
The Optometry Center for Vision Therapy develops programs which help people with autism find new ways to perform their daily tasks. It’s possible to retrain the brain’s neurological connections and improve hand-eye coordination, depth perception, motor skills, eye contact, and other activities. In-office and at-home therapy with OCVT can start refining vision skills for patients with autism. While vision therapy isn’t a panacea for autism, it can help make lasting changes that improve quality of life.
OCVT provides the most up-to-date and comprehensive care for individuals requiring special attention.
If you’ve been searching for a special needs optometrist near you, it’s time to meet with the experienced developmental optometrists at the Optometry Center for Vision Therapy. We have practices in the Austin and San Antonio area, but patients from all over Texas travel to see us.
Our doctors and vision therapists treat vision problems in both children and adults with special needs. This includes individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), attention-deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD), Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, Fragile X Syndrome, and hearing and visual impairments, including dyslexia and learning problems. Medical research indicates that individuals with these conditions have a higher incidence of the following vision conditions:
- High Refractive Error (nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism)
- Learning-related vision problems
- Eye Tracking, Teaming and Focusing Deficiencies
- Eye Turns and Lazy Eyes
- Internal and External Eye Health Problems
Your OCVT optometrist has post-doctoral training in caring for individuals with special needs, and your doctor’s goal is to understand your individualized visual needs to promote optimal development, education, function and comfort. During your exam, your special needs eye doctor will administer non-response dependent tests to determine appropriate diagnosis and treatment. Recommended treatments may include vision correction (glasses/contacts), vision therapy, environmental modifications, and referrals to other specialists to assist in your recovery plan.
Ensuring You Receive the Best Care
We recognize that continuity of care is essential to your success. We are more than happy to collaborate with the multidisciplinary team of educational and health professionals involved in your care. Upon your request, we will:
- Arrange consultations with other professionals
- Provide comprehensive reports, including visual modification recommendations to facilitate maximum potential
OCVT is dedicated to making sure you get the best care possible. We work with respected doctors in other fields to create optimal vision outcomes. Please note that our practice is ADA compliant. For a specific request regarding your visit, please contact us.
Education about Vision for Children with Special Needs
Dr. Larson’s post-doctorate research concentrated on autism spectrum disorder and ADHD. She has presented to national organizations and at healthcare continuing education seminars about vision management as it relates to autism spectrum disorder and ADHD. Dr. Larson will consider requests for presentations. Please call or send an electronic request if you’re interested in a presentation from Dr. Larson.
Schedule a Consultation with OCVT
A consultation with a developmental optometrist at OCVT can be beneficial when caring for an individual with autism spectrum disorder. Children with ASD who manifest vision problems can benefit from treatment at the Optometry Center for Vision Therapy. Childhood is the best time to remedy these issues and retrain the brain. A continued course of vision therapy for people with autism can make a lifelong difference.
At OCVT, we’re focused on each individual case and use the latest treatment methods available. Our team is dedicated to finding the right course of vision therapy for our patients with autism. Fill out our assessment form today to start the evaluation process and book a complimentary consultation.