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cschoonover's picture

Vision Therapy

A few weeks ago I was reading an article about how vision therapy can help resolve behavioral problems in children. At first it was strange to me that such intense treatment of visual deficits can alter behavior. However, in conjunction with this class, it is beginning to make a lot more sense. The interconnectivity of our sophisticated nervous system implies that despite the large amount of visual input, it is worthless unless it can be integrated and understood by the rest of the nervous system. This dependency on visual input also means that once these processes start to deteriorate, the result can be devastating. For those with autism and autism spectrum disorders, this break down is the result of the confusion and fear created by visual impairment and is manifested in behavioral outputs: they become withdrawn from the world, are subject to nuances (such as “odd” walking patterns and postures, rocking, hand-flapping, etc.), and often experience hyperactivity. Vision therapists (also known as behavioral optometrists) support their practice with the notion that “vision isn’t just about eyes or eyesight but it is also something more holistic…how eyes work together and move together and process information and store information and do something with the information.” I think continuing our discussions about vision will lead to some insight as to how vision therapy can resolve some of the “problems” connected to children with behavioral “issues.” I am wondering if the processes involved in motion sickness can be applied here: if the visual input received by those with autism is not the same as what the brain expects to receive, does this mean the behavioral outputs are a mechanism to resolve the dissonance? I am not sure if they are quite the same, but it seems to me that they could be similar. I’m hoping we can delve deeper into the interconnectedness of vision and behavior.

 

For those who are interested, here is the link to the article I read:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/14/magazine/14vision-t.html?scp=1&sq=vision%20therapy&st=cse

  

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