We had our second appt. at the special eye doctor today and it was amazing!! Reposting my first post about autism and eye exams so that people can get a sense of what this is about, and how it can change lives!!

It’s amazing how much I’ve learned the past 2 1/2 years about developmental disorders. Just when I thought there couldn’t possibly be anything else to learn I’ve come to find out about prisms/eyeglasses and autism. Panayioti doesn’t concentrate on objects when you ask him to, he doesn’t point well either. He takes his fingers and wiggles them very close to his eyes. Stimming, it’s called. He rocks back and forth sometimes, too. He doesn’t extend his arm out when you throw a ball at him, either. Could all this be because he has vision problems? Yes! We had an appointment today with an optometrist who specializes in children on the spectrum. Amazing guy, both Panayioti and I liked him from the get-go. When we walked up to his office he had his coffee on his desk, iced cappuccino, and the first thing my boy did was grab it and take a nice long sip of it from his straw! Of course I apologized but my apology wasn’t heard because he was laughing so hard!! He was so cool, relaxed and laid-back that my boy was also cool and relaxed. Didn’t complain or whine once during the whole hour long exam and eye exams aren’t always the most comfortable of exams. Afterwards he informed me that he will be in contact with Panayioti’s OT and we will take it from there. I don’t know why but I left from there feeling happy. My boy’s vision will be improved. He’s going to help my Panayioti 🙂 I want to share something I came across and which I found fascinating. As the optometrist suggested I googled yoked prisms autism and this was the first thing that came up. The things in bold are just some things that totally resonate with us. Sorry for the copy/paste, I just really wanted to share this info.

Vision problems are common with autism and many times are overlooked. Normal autistic behaviors, such as: poor eye contact, looking though or beyond objects, extreme aversion to light, unusual reaction to sight, lack of reciprocal play, inordinate fear of heights or lack of appropriate fear of heights and stemming, could be visual symptoms.

 Kyle’s story is one that his mom wants as many people to know so his frustration does not have to be repeated. While in a park, when he was three years old, Kyle walked over a 50 foot cliff. Years later, when he had a developmental visual evaluation, it was found that he lacked depth perception. No wonder he had walked over the cliff. In grade school, on his Individualized Educational Program, the staff wrote that he lacked reciprocal play because throwing and catching a ball was difficult. He had been practicing throwing and catching in occupational therapy for 2½ years. After getting prism glasses and six weeks of vision therapy, Kyle was able to throw and catch a ball. Kyle had an unusual gait. It was stiff and flat-footed. He wouldn’t run. After vision therapy, he could ride a bike and play on monkey bars. After vision therapy, his gait changed. Kyle would look off into space; he seemed to be tuning out vision to be able to attend to auditory information. With auditory, occupational and vision therapy, his senses started working together instead of only being able to use one or the other.

 Kyle’s mom wants people to imagine a quiet pool of water. When you drop a pebble in the middle, the calm water ripples outward. One small pebble can create quite an impact. If there is a visual problem, the vision problem can impact motor development. If motor development is impacted, that can impact social and communication skills. Kyle’s mom thinks that if they had known about his visual problems when he was much younger, many of his motor and social deficits would not have been so significant.

 If your child has a diagnosis on the autism spectrum, be sure they have a visual evaluation with a developmental optometrist as soon as possible. A person does not have to be verbal in order to find out if they are nearsighted, farsighted or have astigmatism. Visual games will be played to see how the person’s eyes aim, focus, track, follow, move, see 3-D (depth perception), and process central-peripheral information.

 Yoked prisms are special lenses that bend light in the same direction: up, down, left or right. These lenses can have dramatic results by creating a difference in how the world is seen and allows the person to change how their world is perceived. In the visual evaluation, an activity such as throwing and catching a ball, walking up and down stairs or using scissors to cut along a line may be done. While wearing different powers of yoked lenses, the same activity is repeated and evaluated. The doctor may prescribe yoked prisms for special activities or for full time wear. The lenses may use them as an integral part of vision therapy.

 Visual problems are common with those that have a diagnosis on the autism spectrum. Having a visual evaluation by a developmental optometrist may lead to treatment that can have a ripple effect on sensory development and integration.

Read more: http://www.visionhelp.com/vh_autism.html#ixzz31cyAhvFx


12 responses to “We had our second appt. at the special eye doctor today and it was amazing!! Reposting my first post about autism and eye exams so that people can get a sense of what this is about, and how it can change lives!!

  1. Hey Georgia ,
    I found your blog late last night while I was reading about dog therapy for my son Petros who is also on the spectrum. Which lead me to your post about Branca and Panagioti. Since then, I can’t seem to stop reading your blog …. you’re amazing AND your from the states!!!! I’m from San Francisco. :)) AND my name is Georgia too…..

    Can you maybe tell me the name of this optometrist and where is his office? I’d really like to get Petros checked out but I don’t know of one that specializes on kids like ours.

    Your children are incredible , and you are for sure a super mom, no doubt!
    thank you for this blog of yours


    • Hi Georgia!! Thank you for all your kind words!! I’m so glad you like my blog. I pour all my heart (and feelings, and embarassing moments) into it 🙂
      You should definitely call the special optometrist. His name is Vassilis Kokkotas and his mobile # is 6937510244. His office is in the center of Athens, across from Korai Square. I’m sorry I can’t recall the street name. He will see your son and give you some exercises to be performed, ideally by your son’s OT. Where are you going for OT btw? Do you live in Athens? How old is Petros?


      • Ok thank you I will definately be visting him.

        Well Petros is in early intervention at a center in Chalandri. He does all his therapy there Mon – Fri . He will be 5 years old in August and is STILL non-verbal !! Next week is his last week before summer vacation and I have 5 full weeks ahead to keep him busy….. very scary stuff!
        We live close to the Perissos train station.
        So you use pecs with Panagioti??


      • Yes Panayioti is a PECS user and we try to integrate it at home as much as possible. It’s really helped especially at first when he was frustrated. Have you been evaluated by the school board system ΚΕΔΔΥ?


      • No I haven’t been evaluated yet. I spoke to a social worker from ΚΕΔΔΥ who told me that they will probably suggest for Petro to go to a public special needs school. I’m not sure how I feel about that, to be honest. Maybe it would be better for him to stay where he is right now.
        In any case I will start the process this upcoming school year.
        I think I read that Panagioti goes to Sikiarideio? How is he doing there? Are you pleased with the school and the therapist there?


      • Hi Georgia! Unfortunately, when your child is non-verbal that’s the immediate diagnosis they give. They really suck! I don’t like the system here in Greece at all. Have you thought about moving back to the States. Massachusetts and California are number 1 in the world in terms of autism services, did you know that? I mean, it means filling out a bunch of paperwork and getting all your documents translated but you should really think about it. I myself have gotten in contact with Boston’s Childrens Hospital because they work with the Autism Center at Harvard about getting my son evaluated there. It takes like 6 months to book an appointment but why not? Also, you should contact Dr. Theoharides, who is based in Boston, but works with Orthoviotiki in Marousi about setting up an appointment and testing for Brain Inflammation. He also ‘prescribes’ a natural/non-chemical supplement that has worked wonders with many kids on the spectrum.


  2. Also, his school is not called Sikiarideio. His school is the 1o Eidiko Sxoleio Amarousseiou. It’s housed in the Sikiarideio Idrima. They don’t have therapists, they have teachers. His first year there last year went by without a hitch and I feel as though they do an ok job. But they are way understaffed. This year he’ll be back there but in 1st grade so other School Director but the same kids more or less which is good because I’ve met them. I don’t like the system though that condems non-verbal children to exclusively be taught in special ed situations!!


    • You know I’ve thought about the states alot. I would love to move back , and everything would be so much better there for him I think. Unfortanatly I’ve spent all my time these last years researching autism and what I can do for him here. I really don’t know where to start and I don’t have anyone that is close there to help alittle, I guess. Now that you mentioned it maybe I should look into it more.
      So what happens after Panagioti gets evaluated? Are you granted services?
      Do you speak english to Panagioti?
      In any case I hope it goes well and you make the move to the states cause Greece is an amazing country but the people here aren’t that great when it comes to disabilities.
      I’ve read about Dr.Theoharides , and I know of a family that took his supplement. They didn’t have much luck with it. I’m sure his helped alot of families, but I’m a big believer in the therapies ….all kinds of therapy and a few known vitamins and alot of work at home and every chance we get.
      You mentioned that Panagioti school has teachers not therapist. Can you explain it to me? Like what do they teach our children. I don’t get it. This is something I asked at ΚΕΔΔΥ and they told me to visit a school , which I will do in winter.Don’t they use Teacch, pecs, aba or somekind of method in his class? Do they have a structured program? Sorry for all the questions but now that I found you l thought I should ask. I don’t like the system in Greece either.
      You know there is a school in Peiraus that is for autistic children but works some days of week with another school that has NT kids and one class visits the other.
      I’ve heard they do amazing work there and it is a public school ! It is the 1o eidiko dimotiko sxoleio Peiraus if I remember correctly.


      • Hi Georgia! Do you have an email address?
        First of all, I’ve heard the best things about the school in Piraeus and you should definitely give a call to the Director and even ask that you visit him/the school. I know a former classmate who will be attending this coming September and I know the mom was looking into all the public schools in Athens. We were thinking about it ourselves but with all the activities that our son does and us living in Vrilissia we think it mayve been too much/too far a distance for him every day. Last year at Kindergarten Panayioti was taught basically Daily Living Skills/Classroom behavior i.e. how to sit in class, how to wait your turn, how to help the person next to you, and so on and so on. They did arts and crafts too. And proper hygiene. There were 6 kids/2 teachers, 3:1, and one aide. This year he’ll be going to 1st grade and I don’t have a freaking clue what they’ll be doing. I’ll find out once school starts and I aim to be one of those really annoying moms that calls every day and asks a ton of questions! Unfortunately, the school P goes to does not use any of the communication methods that our kids have been learning (PECS, ABA, etc) and that’s why Greece sucks. There’s no across-the-board method being used which is frustrating because you have to in order to have outstanding results.
        Make sure you get in touch with Athens Dog Therapy. To be honest, P has been saying a few words lately and it could be due to Branca, our doggie therapist 🙂


      • Yes my email is georgia.g1@hotmail.com reply to me there .
        Ok thank you for giving me a straight answer about the public school. I have asked other mothers and they either don’t know or don’t want to be honest!!!
        So I guess only the autistic school in Piraeus and Aigalaio which I’ve already
        contacted use specific methods. In Aigalaio they told me that they are understaffed.
        I don’t understand how 1 school (Piraeus) is so great and all the other suck so much. It’s such a stupid system !!!!
        Anyway, I will visit the school in Piraeus.

        It is SO great that P is saying words!!! Lately Petro has said a few times ma-ma while looking at me AND giving me a hug , all at the same time !!!! I’m in heaven when it happens :)))
        Well I’ve already set up dog therapy , we begin the end of August. The place that has this service is kind of expensive, that is why I ‘m searching other options.
        They also do a certain speech therapy which I found pretty interesting. They use a computer and put the childs face (real face not cartoon) on screen. The child on screen says a word ,like water, then the screen shows water, then a glass, then the childs drinks water , and then the child sees himself on screen saying the word again. This is like a ten minute exercise the rest of the time other activities are done. Well my son can’t do this yet , he freaks out with the tv and our computer, but maybe some point later we will try it.
        This is there facebook page and site if yours interested.




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