April is Autism Awareness month. Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or Autism is a developmental disorder that affects a person’s social communication and interaction.
Individuals with ASD have restricted and repetitive behavior, interests, and activities. They may also have behavioral problems.
Autism and Visual Impairment
While vision is not typically affected by ASD itself, some individuals with ASD may experience differences or difficulties in processing visual information.
For example, people with ASD may have difficulty with eye contact or may avoid looking directly at people’s faces, which can make it difficult for them to read social cues and facial expressions.
They may also be hypersensitive or hyposensitive to certain visual stimuli, such as bright lights or certain colors, and may be easily overwhelmed or disoriented by visual input.
In addition, some individuals with ASD may have difficulty with visual processing, such as difficulties with visual-spatial skills, visual memory, or visual sequencing. These difficulties can affect a range of tasks, including:
- reading and writing
- spatial reasoning
- motor planning
Researching the Link Between Autism and Premature Birth
Luckily, there is increasing research to determine risk factors for ASD. A team from Kyoto University in Japan found evidence that babies born prematurely are less interested in other people compared to infants born full-term.
The study involved following the infants’ eyes as they watched videos. The premature infants were tested at 6 months and 12 months of age.
Preterm Birth is Rising
Preterm birth incidence is rising in Japan and other industrialized countries, since people increasingly give birth at older ages. Additionally, there are risks with in vitro fertilization (IVF) that could lead to premature birth.
The team at Kyoto University hopes that studies like these will contribute to early diagnosis and early intervention for those suffering with ASD.
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