Advanced Vision Therapy
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If your child is on the spectrum, contact us today to see how we can use vision therapy to possibly treat him or her. The pros at Advanced Vision Therapy can help, on average, six out of ten patients who have ASD using our techniques!
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 for the Autistic Population?
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!
Check out These 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!
This graphic is from Pediatric Occupational Therapy Services.
Informative Vision Therapy Video
Vision and Autism Resources
- Vision Therapy for Patients with Autism
FAQs for parents of children with autism ... April is Autism Awareness Month!266.91 K | 6/3/2016
- Statement on Vision and Autism from COVD
The College of Optometrists in Vision Development released this helpful memorandum on the effects of autism on vision.98.63 K | 6/3/2016
- Information About the Role of Optometry in the Early Intervention for Autism Spectrum Disorders
Dr. Leonard J. Press is a leading expert on the relationship between vision and autism; this resource provides direction to more great resources on his research.960.92 K | 6/3/2016
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Syntonics or optometric phototherapy, is the branch of ocular science dealing with the application of selected light frequencies shined through the eyes. It has been used clinically for over 70 years in the field of optometry and shows promising results for people with autism and other disorders. Learn more on our Syntonics page
Vision Therapy for Autism Spectrum Disorder
Excerpts from an interview with Melvin Kaplan, O.D.
SE: Let´s start out with a basic and rather general question: What is visual management training?
MK: Vision Management Therapy is an individualized program that measures, observes, and is designed to develop, improve, remediate, and enhance visual performance. The ultimate goal is to raise levels of performance which, in turn, affects behavior and influences how one performs in social, academic, and vocational surroundings.
SE: In your opinion, who would be a good candidate for visual management training? Based on my conversations with you in the past, it seems as though people who display many self-stimulatory behaviors, have coordination problems, engage in toe walking, fail to reach out to touch things, and/or have problems with eye contact. It seems that many of these problems can be explained by improper depth perception.
MK: …..Let me answer the question of who is a good candidate for visual management training. During the course of a non-verbal evaluation, if the individual can demonstrate awareness to their level performance and demonstrates that ambient lenses can make a more positive change on their visual performance, then both the patient and examiner will be highly motivated to a successful conclusion. This means that through the lenses and visual management training, they can reduce the symptoms that are characteristic of autism.
SE: Do you believe there is a relationship between activity level and the visual system?
MK: I think most cases have to do with visual processing. Hyperactive individuals cannot locate things with their visual system so they use their motor system to get to it. As a result, they are always running into things because their world is 2-dimensional rather than 3-dimensional. Things appear flat to them. They don´t visually ´feel´ it. In addition, their space is limited so they have to run and check on everything. When they go to a new room, they have to know where the doors really are; they have to know where all the light switches are. What they are really doing is rehearsing so they can be in a room without having to think much about it. That is why autistic individuals do not like new situations.
SE: What about those individuals who are at the opposite end of the continuum, those who are hypoactive?
MK: Hypoactive children simply do not attend. They are the ones who run away. This is no different than the child who just says, "That´s it, I quit;
SE: Can visual training affect stereotypic, self-stimulatory behavior?
MK: …What these individuals are doing is finding a way to interact with their world. For example, if a child is flapping his arms, he wants to know where his body is located.
SE: Another problem which is common in autism and sometimes involves surgery is toe walking. From my experience working with you, it appears that, for many, toe walking may simply be due to a visual dysfunction.
MK: Nothing is simple. There are many postural changes that are due to visual management, one happens to be toeing in. That is, autistic individuals may have a problem in orientation in which they are not able to let go of the ground; as a result, they become toe walkers or they will place their toes inward as they walk. If you can change their visual emphasis, they may not need so much energy to manage it and could start to pay more visual attention to themselves. When this happens, the toe walking stops; and they become flat footed.
Dr. Stephen M. Edelson (SE) interviewed Dr. Kaplan (MK) on September 17, 1996. Learn more at autisticvision.com
- Syntonic Phototherapy119.44 K | 3/26/2015
- Parent Stories VT.pdf180.93 K | 9/9/2014
- Interview with Melvin KaplanAutismResearchInstitute.pdf104.49 K | 9/9/2014
- Autism & Sensory Learning273.17 K | 3/25/2015
- Parent Stories VT.pdf
- Statement on Vision and Autism from COVD