Amanda R. Zeller Manley, OD, FCOVD
April is National Autism Awareness Month
Updated: Oct 12, 2020
Many of the patients we see for Vision Therapy have Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Vision Therapy is a very effective treatment for many of the vision problems associated with ASD, such as poor eye contact, side viewing, visual stimming (such as staring at lights or spinning objects). VT is also effective for strabismus and amblyopia, which are more common in people with ASD. However, it is usually only after parents have exhausted all other forms of therapy that they address their child’s visual issues. This is understandable, yet frustrating.
It is understandable that a parent can’t often tell that the child is experiencing a vision problem, since we can’t see through another person’s eyes. And when a child isn’t able to clearly articulate what they’re experiencing visually, and assumes that what he sees is the same as what everybody else sees, how can he ask for help?
At the same time, it’s frustrating when a child struggles for years with difficulties with tracking, saccades (quick eye movements that are essential for reading), convergence (pointing the two eyes together at near), or visual integration, when these problems can be easily remedied. COVD.org and VisionTherapyDC.com have more information about vision and autism, including symptoms checklists for vision problems.
April should be not just Autism Awareness Month, but Autism and Vision Awareness Month.