The Creepy Stare
From a young age we noticed Silas would look at things differently than one would expect. For example, he would stand in front of me while looking directly at my head and then drop something behind me so that he could watch it disappear. Often times he would stand at the corner of a wall and drop or throw something around the corner. He would look at something or even us out of the corner of his eye. Lights, small and intricate objects, fans, shadows, and fast moving objects seemed to absolutely fascinate him. This is what I mean by looking out the corner of his eye at things…
We always kind of assumed by what we were told that Silas was doing these things to get stimuli for his senses. I never questioned the fact that he may be doing these things because he was having difficulty seeing until tonight. We were sitting down eating dinner together and watching The Big Bang Theory. As he has been doing, Silas looked at the t.v. with his head tilted down and eyes up. It’s actually a pretty creepy little look. The first few times he did it I was kind of freaked out by it. Of course he smiles when he does it so he looks like he is evil. I don’t actually have a picture of him doing it but here is an example.
Tonight, I was truly bothered by him doing this. I got on Google and started doing some research and I am glad that I did. I found a website that may have provided me with some of the best information thus far. Though no one ever mentioned this, apparently optometry has a very large role in Autism Spectrum Disorders. The very first paragraph had me convinced I was right where I was supposed to be. If you or someone you know has a diagnosis or suspects there may be one, check out this website. http://www.visionhelp.com/vh_autism_09.html#ixzz2ok1wWf1B
This is taken directly from this site.
Presentation of Vision Problems
Children on the autism spectrum typically bring a number of unusual visual behaviors or concerns to the eye doctor.
- Squints or closes an eye Yep
- Stares at certain objects or patterns Quite often
- Looks through hands
- Flaps hands, flicks objects in front of eyes Sometimes I think he may fly away
- Looks at objects sideways or with quick glances All the time
- Shows sensitivity to light (photophobia) Yep
- Becomes confused at changes in flooring or on stairways He is very unsure
- Pushes or rubs eyes Yep
- Has difficulty making eye contact Sometimes…it has gotten much better
- Widens eyes or squints when asked to look If he will look he does this
- Bumps into objects Yep
- Is fascinated by lights and shadows Absolutely
- Touches walls or tables while moving through space Yes indeed
So Silas does 12/13 items…
Parents, teachers, and other professionals assume that most behaviors seen in autism spectrum disorders are simply a result of the disorder, not a by-product of vision problems. They are astonished to learn that poor eye contact, repetitive stimulatory behaviors, and practically every other behavioral symptom, could be caused by poor fixation, accommodation, or eye teaming abilities.
^^^^WHY DIDN’T SOMEONE TELL ME THIS???^^^^
It looks like I may have to do some schooling on the apparent “autism experts” we have been working with. The website I got this information from said it was “reprinted” so obviously this isn’t new information. Sadly though, this information is not and has not been distributed to the autism community.
I now have a new mission. Part 1, find a specialist for Silas to see. Part 2, get him any and all help he needs no matter what. Part 3, tell everyone I know and even don’t know so that others can do the same thing if needed. This post will surely be continued in the future. For now, I have to get on the search for that specialist…