Jutley, Jagjeet (2010)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.
Research studies have identified that some children with Septo Optic Dysplasia and Optic Nerve Hypoplasia demonstrate autistic phenomenology (Parr et al., 2008; Ek et al., 2005; Pring & Ockelford 2005; Bahar et al., 2003). It was found in fifty-six children, aged between four to sixteen, with isolated Hypopituitarism, Septo Optic Dysplasia and Optic Nerve Hypoplasia, that a susceptibility to autistic disorders in children was closely related to children’s degree of intellectual disability, and also their visual loss, but not their hormone deficiencies. The theses found that those children with greater severities of neurological impairments were more vulnerable children to autistic disorders. Furthermore, sensory impairments, and Self Injurious Behaviours, which are common to children with autistic disorders, intellectual disability and/or visual loss, were also reported in children with Septo Optic Dysplasia and Optic Nerve Hypoplasia, but only in children who had greater levels of intellectual disability and visual loss. The clinical relevance of the findings of the thesis is that all children with Septo Optic Dysplasia and Optic Nerve Hypoplasia should have their development closely monitored by pediatric services at the hospital they attend. Furthermore, not being able to isolate the impact of intellectual disability, from that of the impact of visual impairment makes it difficult to isolate the origin of autism in the blind. The study also raises the further possibility that intellectual disability and visual loss may have an accumulative effect to the severity of autistic disorders.
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