Vision Therapy for the Autistic Population
Autism is characterized as a neurodevelopmental disorder. Vision, our dominant sense, is a neurological process and is therefore directly effected by ASD. To understand how, you must first understand a few facts:
VISION is different than SIGHT (20/20). Vision is a neurological process that takes place in the brain. More importantly, good vision is not something you’re born with, it’s developed over time. Vision requires at least seventeen skills. At birth, your sight is only developed enough to enable you to see nothing but dark shadows. As you grow and develop, your eyes and brain develop the skills necessary for vision, the same way it does in order to master other skills like sucking, grasping, crawling, etc. In fact, 65% of the brain is “wired” for the visual system! And, we know that 80% of what the brain processes is via the visual system. It helps to think of the visual system as a major highway, and all other senses as exit ramps. The highway must be in great shape - no potholes or detours - so that you can efficiently and quickly get to your exit ramp (ie: conduct your daily life). That means that all of your brain interactions rely heavily on a properly developed visual system and its ability to communicate with your other senses. It also means that vision has a huge role in guiding movement, touch, and balance; key senses linked to ASD symptoms.
What Causes Autism?
The exact causes of autism are still a mystery. One theory is the affect GMOs may have on neurotransmitter development, and may be a factor in causing under or over development of the senses in autism spectrum disorders. A GMO is a plant that’s been genetically altered by scientists to make it resistant to pesticides or herbicides. GMOs infiltrated our food supply in the 1990s, and have not been proven to be safe. GMO foods include conventional (non-organic) corn, soybeans, papaya, canola, cotton, alfalfa, sugar beets, and summer squash. Another related factor that could be causing the rise in autism diagnoses is the use of the herbicide Round-Up (glyphosate) on our food supply. Food that contains GMOs are not currently labeled in the United States, though a portion of our population is pushing for labeling.
So How Does Vision Therapy Work Help?
If there is a delay in normal development of an infant and/or child, no matter what the reason, then vision may also be underdeveloped. Vision therapy works in a variety of ways to develop proper visual skills as well as to reconnect the proper communication channels between vision, touch, movement, and balance.
How Can Syntonics Help?
Syntonics is another visual tool that can be used in the treatment of ASD. Syntonics (syntony means “to balance”) is when colored light filters are applied through the eyes. It's as simple as looking at a lava lamp. Hypersensitivity is one of the hallmarks of autism and syntonics can be used to help reduce this as well as to aid in the development of underdeveloped vision skills, such as eye tracking or teaming. Specific filters can have a calming effect on a person, and using these filters can help other therapies to become more effective, more quickly.
While autistic children are generally referred for many types of therapies sadly, vision therapy is not generally prescribed. Using vision therapy in the treatment of ASD often proves to exhibit the quickest response time of all other therapies. It also speeds up the progress of almost all other therapies, such as occupational and speech. Contact us today to set up an appointment and see how we can help!
Vision Therapy Success Stories!
Sage is an 8-year-old second-grader who was non-verbal and was rated as being 10% social by her school's Special Ed. department. She was treated with Ambient lenses and four weeks of Vision Therapy. After just two weeks, her mom stopped into the office to tell the doctor...
1. Sage had looked her mom in the eye and said "I love you". She had barely spoken prior.
2. Special Ed. re-evaluated her, and she is now rated as being 90% social!
Tears flowed from the entire staff at word of this great news!
Bryan was a very shy 6-year-old. He's verbal, but his speech was incomprehensible. He couldn't hold a pencil, write a single letter, or catch a ball. His eye contact was limited. His parents had him in multiple therapies, including speech, physical, and occupational for years and saw little improvement. One of the OTs told Bryan's mother about Advanced Vision Therapy. Bryan received Ambient lenses and twelve weeks of vision therapy. After just eight weeks, he was able to hold a pencil and write legibly, could catch and toss balls, AND best of all - YOU COULD UNDERSTAND HIS SPEECH! It was so amazing. After seeing him just last month (his therapy was in the Spring of 2014), he was high-fiving the staff, and he ran and tackled the doctor with a HUGE hug! It brought tears to her eyes!