How to make sure if a blind child is not autistic?

I have a 2yr daughter that is born blind. She doesn't connect well with people. She swings and jumps and repeats words. Is that normal? She doesn't listen to me or obey orders. I don't know how to deal with her. Thanks.

Topics: Behavior
Add New Answer

Posted by Amber Bobnar on Oct 28, 2016 - 9:02am

There are a lot of characteristics of autism that can overlap blindness. The way I think about it, autism is a sensory processing disorder where kids have difficulties managing all the sensory input they receive. Blindness is also a sensory disorder in that kids who are blind don't receive the same sensory input through their vision that other kids do, so there can be similar responses in kids who are blind and kids who are autistic (trouble with social skills, hand flapping or rocking, etc).

I love this post by my friend Mary. She was concerned her daughter was autistic, but she also had the patience to wait and allow her to develop and flourish on her own time: http://www.wonderbaby.org/articles/is-my-blind-child-autistic

Repeating words is also fairly common in kids who are blind. This post explains why and how you can work to get over it: http://www.wonderbaby.org/articles/echolalia

Also, the Journal of Visual Impairments and Blindness had a special issue on Autism a couple years ago. You can still access the articles online, but you do have to pay $8.95 per article: http://www.afb.org/afbpress/pubjvib.asp?DocID=jvib0506toc

You might also want to check out this thread on AFB about blindness and Autism: http://www.afb.org/messageboards.aspx?MBTopicID=1857&MBFolderID=3

It might not be a bad idea to see if your daughter can get evaluated for autism, but keep in mind that if the evaluator isn't familiar with blindness they may not be much help.