Developmental Vision For The Neurodiverse

Between 20% up to as high as 60% of children with down syndrome have an eye that wanders inwards or outwards

Developmental Vision For The Neurodiverse in Olympia

American Family Vision Clinic

A neurodiverse child may also have an undetected visual challenge which can contribute to behavioral and developmental issues. It could go unnoticed, especially when it is masked under the greater diagnosis of the syndrome or any type of diagnosis of special needs. It is important to be aware that just like many other communication skills, vision is also an ability that is developed over time and can be trained and strengthened with the aid of professionals in the field, such as a developmental optometrist. 

Developmental optometrists have experience working with children with special needs, doing everything possible to adapt to your child’s unique comfort zones by providing a safe space to evaluate his or her visual abilities. 

Taking your child for a developmental vision assessment is a harmless non-invasive process and can open up a world of visual strengthening which can assist in any child’s:

  • Development
  • Communication skills
  • Hand-eye coordination
  • Learning abilities
  • Reading and writing
  • Behavior 

Every child is unique, however generally speaking, a neurodiverse child has a higher tendency to also have vision challenges, which could include:

  • Nearsightedness
  • Farsightedness
  • Lazy eye
  • Eye turns or misaligned eyes
  • Depth perception
  • Coordination between both eyes
  • Focusing the eyes
  • Visual information processing

What is developmental vision?

Developmental vision extends beyond focusing solely on 20/20 vision, which of course is important, however there is so much more that contributes to our visual system. A developmental optometrist assesses the way both eyes work with each other and how they communicate with the brain in order to obtain the highest quality of vision and to prevent any strain, discomfort or unnecessary obstacles. 

After the developmental visual assessment, a personalized treatment plan will be created often using glasses, prisms, filters and/ or special exercises to train and strengthen the visual system with vision therapy. Vision therapy has been used to treat many eye conditions including those that relate to:

  • Teamwork between both eyes
  • Lazy eye
  • Cross eyes
  • Hand-eye coordination
  • Visual processing
  • Focusing 
  • Tracking 
Dr. Zurcher cartoon


Improving your child’s quality of vision is a leap forward in improving their quality of life. You can schedule a developmental vision exam at American Family Vision Clinic with our eye doctor by calling (360) 491-2121.

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Such a nice optician. My grandson is only 4 and needs glasses. We were so sad, but he explained the issues, and we will follow up as he suggested.

Anna P.

I had such a good experience with the clinic. Very friendly staff and doctor, did not have to wait for long to be called, and was treated respectfully. Thanks, American Family.

June S.

Dr. Zurcher has gone above and beyond what any other eye doctor has ever done to figure out what is going on with my eyes. Very happy with American Family Vision.

Christine R.

Family Vision Clinic changed our lives! My daughter was frequently car sick, and she was getting headaches every day, often painful enough that they brought her to tears. We saw a string of doctors and therapists, but we made no progress. Finally, we found Dr. Levi Zurcher and his eye therapist Rain. After ten weeks of eye therapy my daughter no longer gets headaches, and she no longer gets car sick. Daily tears are a thing of the past. I really can’t say enough about this clinic. It was fascinating to watch Dr. Zurcher work. For the first time, someone who knew what they were doing was intently studying my daughter, really trying to figure out all of her eye issues, and his therapist Rain is one of the most patient and lovely people that I’ve ever had the good fortune to meet. We’re finished with eye therapy—yay!—and I have switched to American Family Vision Clinic for all of my family’s other eye health needs.

Lars Wulff

Very professional, yet kind and helpful. They do what they can to make the appointment comfortable. I was running a bit late, I made sure ti call. They were able to switch me with a patient who was already there, they treated me with respect, and helped my son have confidence by getting him the eye care he needed that day. Thank you so much! Would recommend to anyone. It's a blessing that they care enough to work with people who have all different types of insurance from work to state coverage.

Justin E.

The staff is friendly. The Doc is very knowledgeable. The office is family friendly and everyone is so patient with the little ones.

Amy Fagerness
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