When Caleb was 5, he had a vision test as a part of his preschool; he did not pass. I let him wear my old glasses, and suddenly he could see the television. I hadn’t realized that he stopped watching tv because he couldn’t actually SEE the tv. I felt like the worst parent in the world.
I have a lazy eye that was corrected with vision therapy back in 1986 (yes, I’m old); I contacted my old vision therapist and asked him if he knew of any optometrists that specialize in autistic patients. He gave me the name of Dr. Dragoo who works out of the Sears in the Twelve Oaks Mall in Novi, MI.
Right away, Dr. Dragoo put all of us at ease. She could tell that Caleb needed glasses; his prescription was -2.oo in each eye. At first, Caleb was very rough on his glasses and broke them a lot. We were a little smart and got insurance on one of the pairs of glasses. This last time, we got 2 pairs and both got the insurance. Trust me, it is sooooo worth it. Because, honestly, Caleb can’t always control his impulses and I would rather set him up for success than have unrealistic expectations.
Dr. Dragoo also stated that Caleb needed vision therapy. It seems that at some age, children transition from touch as their main source of sensory input to sight being their main source. Caleb never made that transition. This is why Caleb feels the need to touch everything; he cannot just sit in his seat and take in the information. His brain doesn’t work that way.
Caleb goes to vision therapy once a week at Focus Academy. We also have daily exercises that we do with Caleb. That said, Caleb gets migraines, and we don’t make Caleb do homework or eye therapy when he has a migraine.
We have been going to vision therapy for about 8 months now and we have seen some amazing results. His vision did get a bit worse, but he was able to tell us, and we got him new glasses. We are also making sure that Caleb doesn’t stand too close to the television; it is important for him to pick an object to focus on and interpret.
For our family, the limitations of therapy are financial. We are only able to afford one appointment a week; if you are able to do more, I would. We believe that all kinds of therapy are extremely beneficial.