Light sensitivity in Autism

Many ABA Therapy centres across Dubai house children and adults not only suffering from Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), but other behavioural problems that prove to be a hinderance in their personal and social lives. These hinderances are the particular source of agitation amongst the children and adults with autism diagnosis.

Inclusive of the multiple behavioural problems that are exhibited by the autistic children, whichever type that might be, other minor problems also surface in them in time. One particular issue, which is partially related to the colour sensitivity in the autistic children, is the Light Sensitivity. It is a condition in which the human eye reacts to light and darkness differently than normal.

Pupil Baseline and Change Shifts:

The baseline diameter (the normally consistent size or diameter) of the pupil in autistic children is studied to be larger than the non-autistic children. While the direct reasons for an increased baseline pupil diameter in the autism diagnosed children is still unknown, with studies and analyses, it will soon be found on how to best treat it. 

In normal children, when in light, the pupils constrict (get smaller in size) to prevent extra light from entering the retina, and dilate (expand) in darkness to let extra light in to help identify layouts and objects in the dark. The pupil controls the amount of light in both scenarios, making visibility possible. The response of the pupil is recorded in two measures; the amplitude (the expansion in the outer or inner direction) of the pupil in case of change, and the latency (the speed of change from one position to another) of the pupil’s dilation or contraction in case of change, where the change can be both physiological or emotional.

Response to Light and White:

In the response measurement of the pupil, the autistic children have shown different reactions. In the terms of sharp lights, autistic children exhibited frustration with the inability to try and look into the light. The same goes for the white colour; in the forms which may reflect or have an illuminating effect, such as paint, light, screen etc. The autistic children’s adaptation level in the form of the pupils went from higher to lower. 

Response to Darkness or Black:

The analysis of the change in the pupil’s size in darkness or black colour showed some different values. An intense reaction has been recorded for darkness in autistic children, but the pupil diameter has been recorded to have dilated to let more light enter the eye.

The Latency in response to light changes:

The speed of the change in the size of the pupil varies from one condition to the other. In the shift from light to darkness, the pupils dilated a 5% faster than the change in the pupils for a vice versa scenario.

Autistic children have visual sensitivity with respect to light and colours. With the help of different Therapies in Dubai, light sensitivity can be controlled.

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