Wednesday, July 09, 2008
Clinic Notes: What does the Child with Autism See?
Most of the sensory information humans process is in the visual modality. And while children with autism often do not make eye contact it is assumed that most of the sensory issues in autism are in the auditory and tactile modality. This is most obvious when children with autism cover their ears in the presence of certain sounds or are tactile defensive refusing to wear certain fabrics or not liking to be touched. Problems in the visual modality are less apparent at times, but research has identified problems. For example, some anecdotal studies as well as empirical studies suggest that human faces are seen as either distorted or blank. Furthermore, children with autism seem to focus more on the mouth of the person speaking rather than the eyes. Some studies suggest that some children with autism have Prosopagnosia or face blindness, which cause social as well as other problems. Of course, these studies have an inferential component and I am still wondering what a child with autism really sees. I have planned a series of drawings that I hope can capture what I think the child with autism possibly sees.