Improving eye contact in children diagnosed with autism

Does your child look out of the sides of their eyes?
Does your child watch their fingers while they move them in front of their eyes or tract them along surfaces?
Does your child like to watch wheels spinning?
Does your child look away from people instead of seeking eye contact?

Eye contact is a treatable and reversible symptom of autism spectrum disorder.

Impairment in visual integration has been implicated in autism spectrum disorder.  Recently I watched an incredible TED TALK called How Brains Learn to See by Dr. Pawan Sinha. Dr. Sinha’s research is showing that the ability to perceive information relies on motion.  Dynamic information processing may be what the brain relies on to learn to see. Motion allows that brain to process information.  The visual information, when processed properly, is then integrated or grouped together so the brain can make sense of the data.  This information is then acted on by organizing the motor steps required to take action.  To talk and to move; including making eye contact.  The eyes are the finest of the fine motor skills.  Visual motor planning relies on processing information.  If a child wants to look at you, they need the visual processing centers in the brain working so they can integrate the information and then act on it. 

Eye See

So, you more than likely opened this blog because someone you love is having trouble making eye contact. If it is your child, very few people can understand the despair that you feel when your child doesn’t look at you when you come home from work or when you call their name. There are very effective and safe treatments to improve eye contact. I know this because I have seen astonishing improvements in eye contact and visual processing in the thousands of children we support with biomedical treatments.  Let’s explore some of these treatments and how they work.

According to Dr. Meg Megson, autism may be a disorder linked to disruption of G proteins that control cellular signalling.  These G proteins are important for normal retinoid receptor function which allows for healthy visual processing.  So, what damages G proteins?  There is a potential role of vaccinations in G protein defects.  This may explain why 43% of parents feel vaccination played a role in their child’s autism. The topic of vaccines is a vesuvial hot button.  It is political.  It is emotional.  Let’s try for one moment to consider that children diagnosed with autism have pre-existing G protein defects that could be further damaged by a vaccination program designed for the general population.  A study of 60 children diagnosed with autism proposes that autism may be caused by inserting a G protein defect, the pertussis toxin found in the D.P.T. vaccine, into genetically at-risk children.  This defect could be further aggravated in some children when the MMR vaccine is given because the live measles virus depletes the remaining stores of vitamin A which basically “crashes” the visual processing centres.  The World Health Organization recommends that children in developing countries receive 200, 000 IU of vitamin A at the time of inoculation with MMR because vitamin A depletion is a known side effect of the MMR vaccine.  The defect, combined with vitamin A deficiency can result in immune dysregulation and metabolism of fats needed for brain development.

Vitamin A may reconnect the retinoid receptors critical for vision, sensory perception, language processing and attention.  I also believe that social development is heavily dependent on visual processing.  Our children learn by seeing our reactions.  Picking up social cues visually is very important to optimize social development. What if your child who has trouble making eye contact and avoids peers is having trouble processing visual data?  What if, they are a social being, forced to isolate themselves because their world is blurry.  When a child’s world becomes blurry, as in regressive autism, there will undoubtedly be behavioural issues that arise. Autism is a very complex disorder. The visual processing defects have massive implications on quality of life.  Repairing visual integration, not only helps your child feel better, it opens doors to language, social and cognitive development.  Eye contact is a treatable and reversible symptom of autism spectrum disorder.  The first step is using a specific form of vitamin A to repair G proteins and begin the healing needed to re-establish healthy visual processing. 

Dr. Sonya Doherty, ND FMAPS(candidate)

Natural Care Clinic