43. Why Every Child with Autism Needs a Vision Exam with Patricia Lemer

By Brigitte Shipman

Mother's Guide Patricia Lemer

In this week's highly informative and powerfully enlightening episode, I speak to Patricia Lemer, author of Outsmarting Autism, about the power of vision, which might be the missing link for the structural issues many children and adults with autism have. 

Patricia Lemer is a Licensed Professional Counselor, and practiced as an educational diagnostician in the Washington, DC area for over 40 years. She was a co-founder and served as Executive Director of Developmental Delay Resources (DDR), an international, non-profit organization for 20 years.

Ms. Lemer has served as a bridge between optometry and the public for over 30 years. She is the author of many articles and podcasts on Vision Issues in Autism and ADHD.

She explains what vision is and how it's different from eyesight, which is about the clarity of seeing.  She tells us that vision is about what we do with what we see and the interaction between the eyes and the brain—conceptual, organizational, imagination—that helps us to move through space without having trouble with coordination and other essential functions, which many people with autism lack.

People with autism are often having a binocular problem, she explains, where the two eyes may not be sending the brain the same message simultaneously which leads to information not being processed by the brain properly.

Lack of eye contact, which is traditionally considered psychological, may actually be the result of having double vision or inefficient vision, and cross eyes might be due to a brain-eye coordination problem although it’s often considered to be a muscle problem, Ms. Lemer says.

She also says that kids with autism are often limited in visual flexibility and inflexible behavior is a sign or symptom of inflexible vision and as we loosen up the vision, we loosen up the behavior as well.

She recommends every child with autism have a developmental vision exam with a qualified optometrist so that the underlying issues with visual processing can be addressed with vision therapy.

In addition, she goes over the 5 important steps you can take to help your child with autism function better and be the best version of himself.

And finally, she offers 3 crucial things to remember when your child gets diagnosed with autism.

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