The Ability to Derive Meaning in the World For The Child With Autism

Vision serves three of life’s most important activities; deriving meaning from the world, problem-solving and directing the intelligent movement of the body. Those with autism often have difficulty in these three major activities of daily living, and it is often a result of a dysfunction in the development of their visual system.

When vision is matched with our other sensory systems, it can provide for us an opportunity to understand the intentions of others, understand the function of the things we see, and it lets us know what we can do with what we see.

Everyday we need to solve problems. They may be as ‘simple’ as; how to walk into a building, or as complex as how to design that building. Whether we conclude to walk in, or design it, the subsequent act will require visually guided movement.

This discussion will review some of the underlying visual neurology – including Mirror Neurons, Magnocellular and Parvocellular visual pathways – that are so important in child development. I will also review the visual skills important for academic success, those skills that go far beyond the ability to see 20/20.

Most importantly, once a child’s visual behaviors have been evaluated and understood, I will discuss various therapies that have shown to be helpful. I look forward to sharing with you, and answering any questions that you may have.



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Dr. Carl G. Hillier OD
Carl G. Hillier, OD, FCOVD of the San Diego Center for Vision Care, graduated from the University of California San Diego in 1977 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology. He received a Bachelor of Science degree at Pacific University in 1980 and then graduated as a Doctor of Optometry in 1982. He is a Fellow in the College of Optometrists in Vision Development. Dr. Hillier is an adjunct clinical professor at the Southern California College of Optometry and Illinois College of Optometry. In 1992 Dr. Hillier helped found the Vision Rehabilitation Clinic at the San Diego Rehabilitation Institute at Alvarado Hospital.

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