Using Visual Stimulation for Autism Therapy

Since autism affects every child differently, it is important to tailor therapies to target each child’s specific needs. The goal of these therapies is to allow each child to learn communication and social skills needed to interact with others. We all know that Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) manifests itself in each child differently; some children are nonverbal while some can be over stimulated by external stimuli. The use of visual stimulation can help some of these children relax, be organized and develop the social skills to communicate better.

Autism and the Senses

Many children with autism have difficulty processing input from the world around us. It’s this distress that children with autism have that causes self injurious and aggressive behavior due to their inability to communicate their duress. In a report by the National Institute of Health, over 96% of children with ASD report hyper and hypo-sensitivities and multiple domains. It’s this deficiency in dealing with external stimuli that seems to be at the crux of Autism Spectrum Disorders. Below is a diagram of how a normal child’s brain processes sensory input, but a child with autism isn’t able to properly process these signals.

Visual Stimulation


Visual Stimulation Aids

Visual Stimulation

The use of visual stimulation aids can help a child with autism to modify behavior and possibly improve communication skills. Visual perception is being able to make sense of what’s around us and reacting in an appropriate manner. These focal points improve mood, visual tracking, and concentration. Children with autism have a difficult time processing these events around them. The use of visual stimulation may be able to help them overcome some of these overwhelming problems. The use of a mirror to help a child with autism creative sense of self is a great starting point. The Sammons Preston Portable Mirror is perfect for therapy when performing speech, feeding, and communication activities. It’s small enough to move about the house and is shatterproof. For younger children Children’s Factory manufactures the Multi-Image Mirror Pentagon. It has five mirrors that create a kaleidoscope of visual perception. It is great for visual perception skills. They also offer the Bubble Mirror which magnifies and multiplies a simple image. It has a 9 inch diameter shatterproof mirror and is appropriate for all ages, including adults.

Visual Stimulation

Another great aid for visual stimulation is the Rain Forest Waterfall Switch Toy. When it is switched on colorful light slowly turn on and off and can play lullabies or simple rainforest sounds therefore stimulating the child visually and with sound. It can be clamped to a tabletop and cleaned with a multipurpose cleaner and disinfectant. The Magical Light Show Assistive Switch Toy has lights, music, and vibration. Just press the yellow button and watch the colors against a black background, not to mention the vibrations and upbeat music!! The Jelly Ball Lamp contains mesmerizing colors and motion. It can help teach cause and effect and increase visual attention. You can also just use it for a calming and relaxing diversion. It can be used with or without a capability switch. Children might also like the Lighted Musical Butterfly Visual Stimulation Toy. Just spin the textured wheel and listen to the music while the purple butterfly lights up. It’s great for visual stimulation, not to mention providing a great tactile and auditory experience. The Lighted Octo Sorter Visual Stimulation Toy is a great way to learn shapes, colors, and numbers. When kids place any of the five colored shapes in the appropriate spot they are rewarded with a light. When they are all correctly placed they are rewarded with multicolored blinking lights and a song.

A visual aid that can also help teach cause and effect include the Northern Lights Adapted Therapeutic Learning Sound Effect Toy. It has bright dancing lights that spin around the dome while upbeat music plays. The TFH Gem Sphere Reward rotates slowly displaying different colored bright lights. It is made of hard plastic and is easy to clean and can be very visually stimulating for children. The Shimmering Dome Light and Sound Effect Toy is great for increasing visual attention and color recognition. Children can hear music while watching the amazing light show. While this light show can be mesmerizing there is a volume control and adjustable vibration.


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