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AFBAmerican Foundation®
for the Blind

Expanding possibilities for people with vision loss

Blindness and Autism

I have a 4 year old Granddaughter who is blind and now the doctors say she might have autism? Because she is blind cant it be the reason that she is fearfull [ of loud noises, she cant see where it coming from or what it is? She rather be in her room her comfort? Zone She covers her hears because of the loud sound don't all little kids do that? sh has favorite toys and doesn't know how to share cause she really didn't have anyone to share till lately? would appreciate any information thank you Grandma Mary

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Re:Blindness and Autism

Hi Mary:
I read your posting regarding your 4 year old Granddaughter. There is often confusion and misdiagnosis surrounding Autism and Blindness and it takes a trained and experienced professional to separate the two. If, in fact, your Granddaughter is found to be on the Autism Spectrum, in addition to her blindness, there is a telephone group run by my agency that brings parents together from all over the country to support one another and learn about available resources. If, at some point in the future, you, or the child's parents, would like to join that group please feel free to contact me at 800-915-0306.
Dan Callahan
Children's Vision Health Initiative
Jewish Guild for the Blind

Re:Blindness and Autism

I understand that you are deeply concerned over what the Dr. has said about the potential for autism. You are correct that young children who are blind may be sensitive to loud sounds and may prefer the quiet of their bedroom. Lack of experience with other children also limits the chance to share toys back and forth. I recommend you follow the advice of the professionals who are working with her and provide all the appropriate stimulation and developmental activities. She is communicating when there is too much stimulation and it is important to recognize that and respond to it. Professionals can help you know when to push through an activity or let go of it. I recommend you read Emily's blog that you will find on the home page of It is called "raising a child who is blind and...."

Time will tell if the Doctor is correct. Meanwhile you can provide all the love and support that she needs. Please explore the various sections of the FamilyConnect website as it gives lots of information for pre-school age children.

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