The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers the autistic spectrum disorder the fastest growing developmental disability in the United States, estimating that the condition occurs in one of every 59 births in this country and impacts 3.5 million American lives.
What is Autistic Spectrum Disorder?
Often developing by 3 years of age, and usually lasting a lifetime, autism spectrum disorder is a multi-factorial condition that leads to developmental delays, deficits in communication and emotional skills, behavioral problems and difficulties with social interaction. The term, autistic spectrum disorder, encompasses a continuum of various conditions, including Asperger syndrome, autism and pervasive developmental disorder. Scientists believe genetics plays a role in some affected patients, but differences in brain function, structure or other neurological issues may be underlying causes as well.
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Signs and Symptoms
Both children and adults diagnosed as being on the autistic spectrum often struggle and may exhibit:
- Language and developmental skill delays and problems
- Use of language in unusual ways or patterns
- Inability to understand body language, gestures and tone of voice
- Attention deficits
- Impulsiveness and/or hyperactivity
- Lack of responsiveness or awareness
- Difficulties conversing and interacting with other people, including avoidance of physical contact
- Repetitive and obsessive behaviors
- Unusual reactions to environmental stimuli involving taste, sound, vision or touch
- Abnormal moods and emotional states
- Eating and sleeping problems
Standard therapies for autistic spectrum disorder generally include:
- Medication to improve an individual’s everyday functioning
- Dietary changes
- Interventional approaches, including applied behavior analysis, to enhance communicative skills and modify negative behaviors.
- Speech, occupational and sensory integration therapy
A Case Study
One patient diagnosed at an early age as being on the autistic spectrum lacked communication skills until age 16, when the patient learned how to communicate non-verbally with family and school by typing. Specialized optometric testing using a technique developed by the Mind-Eye Institute research director, Deborah Zelinsky O.D., revealed the patient had an imbalance between auditory and visual spatial localization abilities.
After wearing individualized, “non-traditional brain glasses,” the patient began speaking in a meaningful way for the first time, later indicating that the lenses helped dampen “loudness” and overwhelming sound and significantly enhanced the patient’s awareness of self in the surrounding environment.
Neuroplasticity in Action
Dr Zelinsky’s 3-Part Recording from a Seminar Addressing Parents of Children with Autism
At the Mind-Eye Institute
We understand that interactions between the electrical and biochemical pathways in the brain affect physical, physiological and psychological systems. Visual interventions that alter retinal signaling pathways impact both the electrical and biochemical systems.
Our patients undergo thorough examination with advanced technology and testing techniques to measure their reactions and responses to light entering the retina. With this information, experts at the Mind-Eye Institute determine whether a patient’s visual and auditory systems are synchronized. They consider how light might be manipulated to positively impact brain function and body chemistry. The goal is to find optimal ways of mitigating symptoms that are not improved or resolved through standard approaches.
Specifically, our team offers patients prescriptive eyeglasses, contact lenses or other optometric interventions to selectively stimulate light dispersed on the retina. Individualized lenses can:
- Maximize patients’ visual performance and visual processing capabilities and create a stable balance between hearing and visual localization.
- Improve patient perception of the surrounding environment in order to modify behavior and enhance communication skills.
- Help rebuild brain pathways or develop new pathways that enhance a patient’s ability to learn, understand and interact normally with others.
Getting In Touch With Us
To find out the next steps of registering as a patient or registering a child as a patient, please call the Mind•Eye Institute office at 847.501.2020 or you can fill out our online New Patient Inquiry Form on the right.
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We love Dr Z and the staff at Mind Eye Connection! My daughter started seeing Dr Z in 2nd grade and was diagnosed with a learning disability and given and IEP. She is now in 8th grade, with a 4.0 GPS and no longer needs her IEP! Dr Z was a game changer for us! We can’t thank you enough!
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'Dr. Zelinsky Is Renowned'
~ Norman Doidge, M.D. & Clark Elliott, Ph.D., Dr. Patrick Quaid and Patricia S. Lemer praise her accomplishments:
"Zelinsky fit Elliott with a series of eyeglasses designed to improve the perceptual damage that made his life so difficult... Getting fitted for Zelinsky's eyeglasses is like no eye appointment you've ever had... Now, Elliott says, he is almost entirely symptom-free, able to problem-solve, multi-task and find his way easily — all abilities he lost in the auto accident in 1999. When he put on his Phase VI glasses he felt something that he hadn't felt for years: "I felt normal."
Review: 'The Ghost in My Brain'
- The Chicago Tribune
"One brilliant Chicago-area optometrist I know, Deborah Zelinsky OD, FNORA, FCOVD, has developed a unique, patented, easy-to-administer evaluation called the Z-Bell Test. This test measures the efficiency of integration between visual processing and listening....A 2014 study at Vanderbilt University found that children with autism do not synchronize their seeing and hearing...I have watched Dr. Zelinsky administer this test to disbelieving colleagues, who were astounded by its accuracy and results...Over the past two decades, the Z-Bell Test has become internationally recognized by the scientific community.”
- Patricia S. Lemer, Licensed Profesional Counselor (LPC)
"I visited Dr. Zelinsky, and she showed me how she can use optical lenses to alter sensory filtering, by directing light to different retinal cells and brain circuits. This can influence activity in the brain and the hypothalamus to better regulate body chemistry, sensory integration, and even some auditory processing. [Dr. Zelinsky] works frequently with patients working with learning and cognitive disorders as well as TBIs."
- Norman Doidge, M.D.
"I was delighted to have Dr. Zelinsky personally contribute to the book. Her wealth of knowledge in the area of visual development and visual processing is widely known, not just through her contribution of eye-care to the author of “The Ghost in My Brain”, but also via her Mind-Eye Institute and the lectures and training their provide. Dr. Zelinsky is not just college and a friend, but also a valued member of the neuro-optometric community and an invaluable bridge to other allied professions treating brain injuries. Her contribution to the book is deeply appreciated."
- Dr. Patrick Quaid, MCOptom, FCOVD, PhD
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