A big shout-out to Dr. Richard Laudon for raising awareness of autism and the need to consider any visual concerns. Dr. Laudon was interviewed on an internet radio show. He discusses what we know about autism, what we don’t know about autism, and most important, how clinicians are helping these children.
Helping autistic children requires thinking in the box, outside the box, and you definitely need more than 1 box! This is especially true when considering vision in autistic children. Many practitioners are very biased toward only considering eye health, visual acuity and refractive error. In fact, their bias is seen in their approach to all children, not just those with autism.
Dr. Laudon does a wonderful job explaining his approach by moving beyond the “acuity model” to consider “visual efficiency.” The visual system is a visual information processing system. And the processing breaks down when the components are not working well. Those components are eye teaming, eye focusing and eye movements. Lenses, prisms, and vision therapy are all tools that can be used to improve the visual information processing system of an autistic child. Minimize the visual interference in order to maximize the performance of the autistic child.
Dr. Richard Laudon is the Coordinator of the Vision Therapy Service at the New England Eye Institute and an Associate Professor of Optometry at the New England College of Optometry. The entire interview can be heard here: