Melvin Kaplan – The Secrets In Their Eyes – Part 2


We finished Part 1 with the introduction to the Kaplan Nonverbal Battery.  The Battery is detailed both in his prior book and in Secrets.  One of the strongest messages in the book is the significance of the doctor in making acute observations about the patient, and when directing a course of visual management in the therapist, parent, or caretaker working with the patient making insightful observations about performance.  These observations are as important as any measurements taken.

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Kaplan Nonverbal Battery

Task 1: Video Viewing Seated – two chairs positioned side by side, four or five feet in front of a 19 inch color TV monitor., one chair for the epithet and the other for the parent or caregiver.  The patient views a favorite video brought by the parent, and the doctor observes how the patient watches the video. Observations include body posture, head tilts or turns, changes in eye alignment, and quality of attention.

Task 2: Video Viewing With Balance Board – same as Task 1, but multi sensory demands.

Task 3: Ball Play – a plastic baseball is tethered to a string set at chest level.  If body schema is a problem, the patient can perform this initially seated in a chair.  The clinician throws the ball toward the patient and observes the patient’s judgement and reaction.

Task 4: Seated Pursuits – pursuits are typically done with a Woolf Wand or lit finger puppet.

Task 5: Standing Pursuits – same as Task 4, but standing.

Task 6: Mirror Balance on One Foot – by the age of 5, children should be able to sustain balance on one foot for the count of 10 while looking in the mirror.

Task 7: Video Balance on One Foot – same as Task 6, but patient balances on one foot while attending to a video rather than looking in the mirror.

Task 8: Balloon Play – patient is instructed to hit the balloon up in the air, first with one hand and then the other, while counting from 1 to 10.

Task 9: Walk and Sit – two chairs are placed 8 to 10 ft. apart.  Patient walks from one chair to the other, sitting down without touching the chair with his or her hands.

Each of the 9 tasks above is done without added yoked prism in place.  This is considered the habitual state, and then performance is compared with combinations of the four possible yoked prism corrections.  Kaplan uses a Perceptual Analysis Score Sheet, in which the patient is scored on a 5 point scale (0 through 4) in the categories of Head Posture, Body Posture, Visual Attention, and Disposition.

The other significant component of Dr. Kaplan’s testing is a detailed analysis of the Van Orden (VO) Star.  Interestingly Dr. Kaplan co-authored a paper on this in 2002, and in his Seeing Through New Eyes book still refers to this as the Van Orden Star, but for this book he has re-branded it as The Kaplan Star.   Stefan Collier currently gives an OEPF Regional Clinical Seminar on the VO Star as a Visual Behavioural Pattern, and I am glad to see Van Orden’s name preserved.  Granted that Kaplan has added important insights to Van Orden’s original classic published interpretations, his analysis should be viewed as the Kaplan Approach to the VO Star.

In Part 1, I included a link to a recent book on Cutting Edge Therapies in Autism which has a chapter co-authored by Dr. Kaplan that elaborates on some of his recent research.  I’ll also add two links here that were not included in Secrets but which Dr. Kaplan alludes to as presentations made at IMFAR in 2012:

1) Effects of Ambient Prism Lenses on Autonomic Reactivity to Emotional Stimuli in Autism

2) Ambient Prism Lenses Modulate Spatial Attention in Autism: An Event-Related Potential Study

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