Visits to the eye doctor are very important for special needs children; a good visual exam can help you determine whether any of your child's developmental difficulties are due to a visual problem. However, it takes some special care to deliver a good eye exam for a child with special needs. Here are some ways that your doctor can help to conduct a great eye exam with your special needs child.
Tailoring the Tests to Your Child's Abilities
The first thing that your doctor can do to improve the test's accuracy is to change the standard test format to suit your child's verbal skills and cooperation. For instance, your eye doctor may need to use testing methods that use non-verbal tactics. The doctor may have your child follow shapes with their eyes, try to focus on blurry shapes, or test their reactions to bright lights in order to glean the most information possible.
Working with a Third Party to Increase Communication
The doctor can sometimes get a lot out of working with one of the child's trusted mentors, such as a speech pathologist or counselor, to help the child communicate better. During the eye exam, your doctor and the second adult will need to be careful to make sure they are getting reliable information from the child.
Being Flexible about Scheduling
If your child is experiencing a bad day or having trouble focusing for some reason, your doctor should be flexible about rescheduling the visit. Some tests require excellent attention and cooperation, so rescheduling the appointment can be very important for delivering the best eye care possible.
Testing for Disability-Related Eye Conditions
Another way that your doctor can help during the eye exam is to assess and track the progress of certain disease-related conditions. For instance, there is a link between autism and strabismus, or cross eyes, in children. If your child has been diagnosed with a specific syndrome, make sure that your eye doctor knows about it so that they can better protect your child's eye health.
Recommending Additional Care
Finally, your doctor can help you take care of your child's health further by recommending some additional care. The eye tests may indicate some developmental issues with eye teaming, tracking or other skills that could be helped with glasses or visual therapy. A close relationship with an eye doctor (such as one from Quality Eye Care) and frequent checkups can help you rule out developmental issues that are related to poor sight.