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Your Family Clinic: Notes from the Parent Autism Support Group held on October 16, 2020 via Zoom

My Life Journal on Unsplash.

Notes from the Autism Spectrum Disorders Parent Support Group on October 16, 2020

sponsored by Your Family Clinic, LLC

My Life Journal on Unsplash.

Notes from Autism Spectrum Disorders Parent Support Group of October 16, 2020

Sponsored by Your Family Clinic, LLC

My Life Journal on Unsplash.

On October 16, 2020, Dr. Megan Lott led the discussion. We thank all of the participants. Here are some of the notes from the discussion of the Zoom Group Meeting.

Individuals on the Autism Spectrum usually have similar characteristics as adults with brain injury. For example, the often have a difficult time expressing what they are experiencing. This makes it challenging for those trying to help individuals on the Autism Spectrum.

Dr. Lott is a Functional Optometrist which means that she views vision in terms of the whole person. Vision is more than the ability to see things clearly that are 20 feet away (20/20). Functional vision involves many more measures of vision (e.g., how the eye muscles work, how what is gathered by the eyes is interpreted by the brain, how well he eyes converge on objects far and near, depth perception). A functional vision exam includes body movement and balance. The exam involves the whole person. The following items and others are observed and measures. How they interacting with others?, are they a toe walker?, do they stimulate when they come in?, do they attempt to block out their eyes?, what are they doing? The exam is looking at behavior. Vision is very important and involves about 70% of the brain. Unfortunately, most insurances do not cover vision therapy.

Dr. Lott is one of only two Functional Optometrists in the State of Mississippi and gets referrals from many areas of the State). Dr. Maples is the other Functional Optometrist working in the State of Mississippi. Dr. Lott's office is in Belvue Mississippi which is between Oak Grove and Sumrall. The clinic's website is bellevuesec.com. When the web site opens up, you can click on the banner for a free vision screening to see if you or your child is likely to benefit from the services of a Functional Optometrist.

Functional Optometrist often will integrate their services with other professionals such as Occupational Therapists, Physical Therapists, Psychologist, Mental Health Workers, Physicians, etc. This is especially true when working with individuals on the Autism Spectrum. Functional Optometrist attempt to change behavior through glasses and exercises. The right glasses can do amazing things. Many toe walkers can immediately walk flat footed by wearing the appropriate glasses. A non verbal autistic child was able to talk in sentences when wearing prism lenses. The lenses blocked out excess stimuli received through the child's eyes. Exercises are often prescribed as part of vision therapy to correct vison problems such as convergence and balance problems. Another child was diagnosed with scoliosis which was completely corrected with prism lenses. The right glasses often calms down the child. Clumsy children usually have a problem with vision. Vision therapy helped a child who could not ride a bicycle was able to do so after 10 weeks of therapy for the development of spacial awareness. In treating children and individuals, Dr. Maples, the other Functional Optometrist in Mississippi, says to “Start where they are and go where they ain’t.”

A bunch of professional were going to do a Conference on Autism. Covid-19 got in the way, so most of the presenters did virtual presentations. They are available at autism-conference.teachable.com. You can participate for free at this website. The site requires you to sign in.

Primative reflexes were also discussed. Primative reflexes are the natural reflexes should be extenguished by the age of one-year-old. It is common for individuals on the Autism Spectrum to still have some of these primative reflexes. When it is severe, the primative reflexes need to be resovled before the individual can benefit from vision therapy. Vision therapists will often make a referal to an Occupational Therapist or a Physical Rehabilitation Therapist if this is the case.

Dyslexia was also discussed and assessment is done in two parts. The first part measures the fuctioning of the eye muscles. The second part involves how the brain is processing the information that is taken up by the eyes. It is usually in the second part that Dyslexia is found. In the State of Mississippi, if a third grader fails a reading test or reading class, they automatically qualify for a free vision exam from an eye doctor.

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