by: Jenny Bright
Research has shown that there are links between autism and vision problems. One meta-analysis of almost 50 studies found that those with autism were more likely to have reduced peripheral vision and contrast sensitivity, as well as increased color difficulties. They also observed increased retinal thickness, a symptom found in those with diabetic retinopathy and other eye disorders. It can take some time to realize that your child on the autism spectrum is also dealing with vision issues since the focus tends to be on helping them with social and educational development.
However, given this increased prevalence of vision issues, it can be anxiety-inducing to discover that your child needs glasses. You may fear introducing a new element to their daily routine, let alone a mandatory wearable item, and wonder how you can facilitate a smooth transition. It’s important to remember that adjusting to eyeglasses can be overwhelming for any kid, and even for some adults – but with practice and patience, it’s possible. Here are a few tips to ease your child into wearing glasses.
Considering your child’s sensory profile is crucial to warming them up to the idea of glasses. Before investing in a graded pair, allow them to try a practice pair first. This gives them a chance to get used to new sensations, such as the weight of the frames on their nose or the glasses’ arms tickling their ears. Your child may refuse to wear them at first, and this phase of the process can take weeks or even months to overcome. You’ll want to choose a durable pair that can withstand the rough and tumble this “rejection phase” could entail. The Aéropostale Kids Eyewear collection features flexible hinges that can hold their own during your child’s day-to-day activities. Their adjustable nose pads allow maximum comfort for kids initially unnerved by new sensations. It can be frustrating at first, but with consistency, your child will learn to accept eyewear as a part of their routine.
In the same way kids get excited when they’re allowed to choose their clothes and put together an outfit for the first time, they’ll be much more inclined to wear eyeglasses when you give them a chance to choose their frames. You can narrow down the choice to eyeglasses that come in iconic styles that suit all face shapes and provide timeless looks. The Ray-Ban New Wayfarer Optics come in various visually stimulating colorways that your child will be excited to wear. Its lightweight acetate material is more non-intrusive than metal frames, making it ideal for kids who are hypersensitive to new sensations. You can shortlist a few pairs before showing them to your child to keep them from feeling overwhelmed by the options. What matters is that you include your child in the process. It’s not just a wonderful bonding experience; it allows them to feel included and validated rather than coerced.
Positive reinforcement is a powerful way to help a neurodivergent child access focus skills, visual learning abilities, and attention to detail, which aids in their behavioral improvement over time. You can create a reward system to help them understand the importance of their new eyewear. Perhaps, for each day they put on their glasses, they can earn a sticker, and after a week of wearing them successfully, they can receive a prize. You can also introduce them to positive fictional characters who wear glasses, which provides them with a positive role model to follow.
Corrective eyewear enhances your child’s learning and development by allowing them to better perceive the world around them. They can learn to embrace their fabulous new pair of glasses with enough time and compassion.