Sensory Processing: Sight

Sensory Processing is the ‘why’ behind the ‘what’ of Autism Spectrum Disorders. We understand the world around us through our senses. This blog will focus on sight: hyper-sensitivity and hypo-sensitivity


Hypersensitivity to Visual Input (Over-Responsive):
  • Sensitive to bright lights; will squint, cover eyes, cry and / or get headaches from the light 
  • Has difficulty keeping eyes focused on task/activity he / she is working on for an appropriate amount of time 
  • Easily distracted by other visual stimuli in the room; i.e., movement, decorations, toys, windows, doorways etc. 
  • Has difficulty in bright colorful rooms or a dimly lit room 
  • Rubs his / her eyes, has watery eyes or gets headaches after reading or watching TV 
  • Avoids eye contact 

Hyposensitivity to Visual Input (Under-Responsive):
  • Difficulty with Tracking, Discrimination, or Perception
  • Has difficulty telling the difference between similar printed letters or figures; i.e., p & q, b & d, + and x, or square and rectangle 
  • Has a hard time seeing the "big picture"; i.e., focuses on the details or patterns within the picture 
  • Has difficulty locating items among other items; i.e., papers on a desk, clothes in a drawer, items on a grocery shelf, or toys in a bin / toy box 
  • Often loses place when copying from a book or the chalkboard 
  • Difficulty controlling eye movement to track and follow moving objects 
  • Has difficulty telling the difference between different colors, shapes, and sizes 
  • Often loses his / her place while reading or doing math problems 
  • Makes reversals in words or letters when copying, or reads words backwards; i.e., "was" for "saw" and "no" for "on" after first grade 
  • Complains about "seeing double" 
  • Difficulty finding differences in pictures, words, symbols, or objects 
  • Difficulty with consistent spacing and size of letters during writing and / or lining up numbers in math problems 
  • Difficulty with jigsaw puzzles, copying shapes, and / or cutting / tracing along a line 
  • Tends to write at a slant (up or down hill) on a page 
  • Confuses left and right 
  • Fatigues easily with schoolwork 
  • Difficulty judging spatial relationships in the environment; i.e., bumps into objects / people or missteps on curbs and stairs

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