Since Autism Awareness month was in April, I have been doing more research on how vision is affected by the diagnosis. As you might remember in this blog,"The goals of treatment may be to help the autistic patient organize visual space and gain peripheral stability so that he or she can better attend to and appreciate central vision and gain more efficient eye coordination and visual information processing."
The main phrase that stood out to me was "peripheral stability." I emailed some fellow Vision Therapist on ways I can incorporate more fun peripheral vision exercises into our treatment. From there I looked for articles about peripheral vision and found an article by Dr. Gallop, titled "The Peripheral Visual Awareness: The Central Issue". The article had so much great information that I thought I would share a few tidbits that helped me a lot.
"Peripheral vision is the lion’s share of vision and, is also a big part
of life. It is involved with detecting and understanding the big picture
– the context and changes in our environment. At least visually
speaking, it helps to keep us in touch with our relationship to
everything with which we share visual space. Peripheral vision is at the
heart of awareness of, and response to, the total space volume of our
visual environment and all its inhabitants. Without the involvement and
guidance of peripheral awareness the fovea would, for the most part, be
“lost in space,” not knowing where to turn."
"This may also contribute to attention problems because without
sufficient peripheral awareness, the context of visual space is lost and
it becomes difficult to distinguish figure from ground. The
environment becomes a series of unconnected, unrelated details to be
dealt with one at a time – the background is practically non-existent."
"It is important to note that the real importance of peripheral awareness
is not in the receiving of information as much as is it is in the
response to that information. Knowing what is in our surroundings is
important in the context of action for survival. While it is certainly
important to know what is going on out there, it is equally important to
know what needs to be done and how to go about doing it in response to
what is going on out there. Peripheral vision provides an early warning
system and is what guides our movements in response."
"Peripheral vision supplies us with information about our relationship to
our surroundings. It tells us where we are in relation to people,
places and things in our immediate vicinity. It can provide significant
information about who they are, what they are doing, and how that may
affect us at that moment and in the near future. When functioning
comfortably and effectively it can provide accurate information
regarding size, shape, direction of movement, and even intent."
"Just as improvements achieved through vision training often transfer
into improvements in areas such as problem solving, concentration and
self-esteem, improvements in peripheral processing may transfer into
more so-called peripheral aspects of our lives."
Our peripheral vision is not something to mess around with. It is an important for our survival! Loved this article! Next week I will gather up some great peripheral vision awareness exercises that you can do at home.