Recent Posts
Connect with:
Tuesday / March 5.
HomeminewsClinic for People with Autism

Clinic for People with Autism

Flinders Vision at Flinders University has established a Clinic for people with Autism Spectrum Disorder. A first for Australia, the aim is to make visiting for the first time a less overwhelming and intimidating experience for those on the spectrum.

Dr. Paul Constable PhD, Optometric Lead of the Flinders Vision Autism Centre and Optometry Senior Lecturer, said examining a child on the autism spectrum poses several challenges for optometrists due to difficulties in communication and hypersensitivities to touch and light. Additionally, unfamiliar procedures can be a challenge to parents and carers and the child.

A visual timetable (pictured) and virtual 3-D video of the practice are sent to the family routine prior to their appointment. A child-friendly waiting room and consulting room with tactile toys with order and colour, as well as child-friendly furnishings, help children feel a sense of belonging.

Recently developed devices that require no verbal input from the patient enable assessments to be successfully undertaken even when the patient is unable to communicate. Dr. Constable said these devices are helpful because dilating eye drops, which can be distressing, are no longer required.

“It may be difficult to determine if there is a vision problem in a child with ASD (autism spectrum disorder), owing to the association in some children of often holding things close to themselves to examine an object in detail. In addition, difficulties with fine motor control or general clumsiness may indicate poor binocular vision but equally may simply be a part of the spectrum,” said Dr. Constable.

“Often children are not aware that they ‘cannot see’ or that there is any problem with their vision and are unable to communicate this to a parent.”

Dr. Constable said prevalence of colour vision anomalies was higher in boys and autism prevalence was four times higher in boys. As a consequence, screening for colour vision problems was another important reason for seeking an eye examination.

For information email: [email protected].