Children with autism are faced with many challenges every day, including possible issues surrounding communication and social skills, increased sensitivity, sleep problems, and speech and language difficulties. Additionally, kids with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) can experience problems with their visual system, and are often more likely to have vision issues than children without ASD. It is a good idea for parents of kids with autism to explore the possibility of certain vision conditions, as well as understand what treatment options are available.
Types of Vision Issues and Behaviors Common in Kids with Autism
Many traits and behaviors that are commonly experienced by children with ASD are similar to symptoms of certain vision conditions. Oftentimes it is difficult to know if the symptoms are due to ASD alone, if it is an actual vision problem, or even a combination of both. One or more of the following conditions or behaviors can be attributed to both autism and vision issues:
- Lack of eye contact
- Staring at light or spinning objects
- Eye movement disorders
- Crossed eyes
- Difficulty following an object with their eyes
- Amblyopia/lazy eye
- Light sensitivity
- Rolling eyes
- Looking at objects from the sides of their eyes
A functional vision evaluation is important to help determine a child’s visual ability in aspects such as eye teaming and tracking, eye movements, visual processing, visual-spatial judgment and peripheral vision.
Vision Therapy Programs can be Very Effective
Vision therapy is like a kind of physical therapy for the visual system, including the eyes and brain, and can be an extremely effective form of treatment for kids with ASD. Through the use of specialized eye exercises and visual activities that are customized to target the specific needs of each individual child, a vision therapy program can help to restore visual abilities such as focusing, tracking objects, sustaining attention to visual information and coordinating visual stimuli with movements. For a child with autism, regaining ability in these areas can help them to interact more fully with their environment and improve their overall quality of life.
We Can Help Diagnose and Treat Vision Conditions Associated with Autism
The caring, professional team at Family Vision Development Center is experienced in working with kids with ASD and is a trusted provider of comprehensive eye care services for our most vulnerable patients. Starting with a comprehensive vision exam and functional vision evaluation, we can properly diagnose any vision issues that may be associated with a child’s autism. Furthermore, our doctors have specialized training in the most up-to-date vision therapy techniques so we can provide the most advanced treatment options. Contact our Aurora office at 630-862-2020 to learn more or to schedule your appointment.
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