Serena Wieder, PhD and Monica G. Osgood

A child’s development is the result of knowledge acquired from experience through all of the senses and continues through life. This presentation will describe the central role vision plays in different aspects of development and the challenges children on the autism spectrum face focusing on how experience and emotion interact to create understanding about what is seen by the eye and experienced as vision by the mind. It sets the stage for recognizing challenges, particularly around praxis, sequences and cognition, and how to use the DIR model to strengthen visual spatial capacities. An overview of the Visual Spatial Cognitive Profile will illustrate the developmental hierarchy related to visual spatial knowledge including general movement thinking, discriminative movement thinking, visual thinking, auditory thinking, hand thinking, graphic thinking, and logical and social thinking. Video case examples will demonstrate challenges when learners are visually bound or rely on visual anchors to function and how intervention supports social, emotional, cognitive and academic success.