There comes a time in our life when we all need to visit an eye doctor to have an eye exam. Autistic children will also require an eye exam or an eye check-up. This can be made easy for autistic children with some preparation before the eye appointment visit.
Before visiting an eye doctor with an autistic child, be sure the appointment is made far enough in advance to prepare the child for what to expect. In other words, try not to surprise the individual at the spur of the moment.
If this is your first time you are going to take your child, who has autism, to an eye doctor, do research on what would qualify a doctor who would understand and be aware of the disorder of autism, with their various behavior patterns and outbursts that some produce. One way to do this, is, by asking your family physician or doing research on the internet to search for one in your area that you live in.
After you are comfortable with the doctor or optometrist that you have selected, then take action to make the appointment. It is an excellent plan to introduce and take your child for a visit with the new doctor on one-to-one level, so the youngster will be aware of what the person looks like, what is in the office, and perhaps a practice run of what the eye exam will be like. Show the individual the instruments used and the chair he or she will be sitting on.
Another positive way you can help your child feel comfortable about going for the eye exam, is show your child a pair of unbreakable glasses, or cut out a fake pair from some construction paper or cardboard to make it look like eye glasses and have the child try them on and wear them, so they get the feel and look of them. Use your creativity by drawing designs on the cardboard eye bows and the frame of the fake classes to make them fun and creative looking.
Show the individual with autism, how to fold the bows of the glasses and care for the glasses using the props for practice. Obtain some soft cotton cloth or soft tissue and illustrate to the child how to clean the glasses without scratching them. Let the person be aware of how to handle the glasses with care, because they are fragile.
Before the eye exam is taken, you can purchase some illustration/poster board, or construction paper to make an eye chart, then post it on the wall or place it on a standing easel for the individual with autism to see. You can draw letters on the chart, starting from small letters to large letters with magic markers, or use some flash cards with different size letters and adhere the flash cards to the illustration/poster board or construction paper. Have your child cover one eye and read the lines, then have he or she cover the other eye and read the lines. Allow the child with autism to practice and be aware of the fact that this might be part of the eye exam, but make it a relaxed project, to ensure the child there is nothing to be fearful of.
It is always an excellent plan to have your child take an object, for example, a stuffed toy, a play car, ball, blanket, or some favorite item they are fond of, with them to the eye doctor, for security purposes and a feeling of warmth.
If your child with autism does require eye wear, ask the doctor to explain to the child why he or she needs the glasses and it might be a good idea if you were present with the child and the doctor in the same room to hear and review the results of the eye exam. This will give the individual confidence and assurance of the eye exam results.
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