New in 2016 is The Conscious Parent’s Guide to Autism, authored by occupational therapist Marci Lebowitz. In just two short pages (43-44), under the heading “Visual Processing Disorder and Motor Problems”, Ms. Lebowitz does a stellar job overviewing the subject including advocacy for optometric vision therapy. She writes:
“The brain, not the eyes, processes the visual information that we see, including things like symbols, pictures, and distances. Weakness in the visual cortex of the brain causes difficulties processing and interpreting what the eyes see.
Parents general will look for problems by observing how their child watches television, colors pictures in a coloring book, or gauges distance while playing. Most children with autism have some kind of visual problem. Common indications for visual difficulties include:
- Difficulty maintaining visual contact with an object or person
- Challenges differentiating between the size, shape, and color of objects
- Confusing the meanings of written symbols such as those used in calculations
- Misjudging distance
- Experiencing poor spatial awareness, often resulting in frequent falls or bumping into objects despite normal vision tests
Visual abnormalities in children with autism can cause a total distortion in how they view the world and process that information. It can give a child the feeling that objects bounce or swing, jump unpredictably, are fragmented into tiny pieces, or are overly large. Poor visual processing can contribute to problems with fine motor skills, attention, focus, and in social interactions.
Vision therapy is a specialized area of eye care The specialists who practice in this field are known as developmental optometrists. These doctors perform vision exams and check for particular vision conditions. They can prescribe therapies to improve vision and sensory integration skills.”