A Mismatch Of The Senses

Autism spectrum disorder is a difficult to define condition where a person displays a degree of disconnection from or hyper connection to the world around them. Some signs can include difficulty with verbal communication, trouble reading social cues, aversion to eye contact, atypical postural tendencies such as toe walking, hyper or hypo sensitivity to sensory input such as touch or sound, and a tendency towards self stimulation such as hand flapping or head banging.

 

Our approach to working with a person with ASD is to think of these behaviors as solutions to try to solve a problem, rather than signs that define a condition.  Many of these tendencies can indicate a difficulty processing and understanding visual input. When the surrounding environment doesn’t make sense, navigating it in a comfortable way becomes impossible. If the input from one sense doesn’t match with the input from another, a person has to decide how to reconcile the mismatch. Our approach to treatment is to first help make sense of the visual input. This is achieved using optical tools like prisms and lenses and with vision therapy exercises. When we see improvement in visual processing we can then start to introduce other senses, such as sound and balance, into therapy to help the patient create a harmonious understanding of the world around them. 

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Recommended reading:

 

Seeing Through New Eyes by Melvin Kaplan