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The Autism Network for Deaf/Hard of Hearing
and Blind/Visually Impaired

 Autism Research Institute
4182 Adams Avenue
San Diego, California 92116 USA


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Welcome to this quarter's network e-newsletter. You can read previous issues of our e-newsletter on the Autism Research Institute's website,


We would appreciate your sharing some information by joining our network. Your information is confidential and will not be shared with others. For research purposes we may contact you to share with networking opportunities and/or information about participating in research projects.



We were pleased to meet several Network members at the Autism Research Institute (ARI)'s conference in Newark. We have another opportunity to get together next month at ARI's autism conference in Anaheim, California on October 12-14. Our network meeting will be held on Saturday, Oct. 13, at 12:15 pm. A complimentary lunch will be served. If you plan to attend, please contact us in advance at [email protected].

You can also visit with Margaret Creedon at the "Sensory Table" on Saturday evening. 


Margaret Creedon, Ph.D., ABPP

and Steve Edelson, Ph.D.

The Network's Global Membership


We have an international membership representing countries throughout the world, including Australia, Canada, France, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Kuwait, New Zealand, Philippines, Poland, Puerto Rico, Rep. Of South Africa, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, and Venezuela.


Approximately half of those registered in our network are family members, and the other half are professionals working in the field. Most of the families in our network have sons or daughters who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Special Group Meeting Notes: Autism Society Conference, San Diego, July 2012

The meeting began with a review of the Network's mission and its efforts to reach more families and individuals with a dual diagnoses of autism and deafness or hard of hearing and/or blindness and visual impairments. The attendees included special educators and parents.  
Dr Kauser Shaieff
Dr. Kauser Sharieff 
We were fortunate to have Kauser Sharieff, OD FCOVD FNORA speak to our group. Dr. Sharieff is a neuro-developmental optometrist from Yorba Linda, California; and she presented on the need to assess visual skills that are often overlooked when persons with autism have additional sensory and behavioral issues. Learn More.

Dr. Sharieff raised concerns about visual perceptual deficits common to most, or all, persons on the autism spectrum. A person on the spectrum may have 20/20 vision or does not need prescription glasses; however, they may have sensory limitations regarding hearing and/or seeing. For example, vision helps us gain maximum understanding of our surroundings and integrates many of our senses and motor systems. In addition, visual functioning is commonly overlooked because we often focus on educational tasks, such as visual memory/ repetition, mimicry (imitation), picture-based and not spatial, and an over-reliance on content and not concept learning and creative thought.
What you "see" as the problem may be "solutions" to the problem! For example, visual anchors, such as keeping some things the same, can help reduce frustration, stress, and anxiety. Some examples include wearing the same clothes, taking the same routes, engaging in the same rituals, and visiting the same places. These routines may help the individual stay calm and relaxed.
Other vision-related behaviors:  
  • Squints or closes an eye  
  • Rubs eyes frequently  
  • Short attention span or stares at objects  
  • Flaps hands, flicks objects in front of eyes  
  • Looks at objects sideways or with quick glances  
  • Shows sensitivity to light (photophobia) 
  • Fearful of changes in flooring or on stairs  
  • Bumps into objects  
  • Fascinated with shadows and shiny objects  

Finally, Dr. Sharieff reviewed various measures to assess vision and development with an emphasis on visual delays, visual stress and visual avoidance. After an evaluation, programs involving sensory learning and visual training can the individual develop appropriate perceptual skills. Vision therapy, such as those using yoked prism lenses, is a powerful treatment modality; but maximum benefit can only be achieved if the program incorporates a comprehensive treatment plan. More details of some of these activities will be described in future e-newsletters.

Apple's New iOS 6 Offers New Features for iPhone and iPad 


Apple's new operating system, version 6, offers some exciting new features for those who are deaf, hard of hearing, blind, and visually impaired.


Some of the features include custom vibration patterns for alerts and the integration of VoiceOver with several apps including Zoom, Assistive Touch and Maps.


To learn much more about the new features, visit OT's with Apps and CP Family Network,

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Autism Research Institute | 4182 Adams Ave | San Diego | CA | 92116