Interdisciplinary School for Sciences, Health and Society |
Optometry and Vision Sciences (M.Optom)

Optometric Care of Patients on the Autism Spectrum

To be offered in Spring 2023
2 credits (3 ECTS Credits)

Optometric Care Of Patients On The Autism Spectrum


Optometrists can work together with other disciplines for the benefit of their patients on the autism spectrum. This course provides background about the diagnosis and daily lives of patients on the spectrum from a variety of guest lecturers: a developmental psychologist, speech pathologist, special education teacher and mother of a child on the autism spectrum. This course covers visual assessment and treatment of patients on the autism spectrum, when to refer the patients to other disciplines, and the relative timing of the interventions.

Course Structure

  • 13 hours of recorded online lectures
  • Four live sessions on zoom
  • Lecturers from the fields of psychology and communication disorders provide an interdisciplinary approach
  • Firsthand account by the mother of a child on the autism spectrum.

Learning Outcomes

After successfully completing the course, participants will be able to:

  1. Adapt optometric exams for patients on the autism spectrum
  2. Explain the value of synergistic diagnosis and treatments of varying disciplines working together in treating patients on the autism spectrum
  3. Identify when to refer patients to other disciplines, specifically with regard to the relative timing of different interventions in an overall coordinated approach to helping those on the autism spectrum
  4. Describe how the common pathway hypothesis links together very different phenomena associated with the autism spectrum and gain insight into how treatment in one domain directly impacts others

Topics Covered

  • Optometric assessment and management of patients with ASD.
  • Tools and modifications of vision therapy protocols for patients with ASD.
  • Prescription of optical aids to patients with ASD


  • Final exam for students seeking academic credit


Dr. Paul Allen Harris is an optometrist (SUNY, 1979), a Fellow of the College of Optometrists in Vision Development (1984), the Australian College of Behavioral Optometry (1993), and the American Academy of Optometry (1999), and a Professor at Southern College of Optometry. Dr. Harris published several books in the topic of optometric visual development, binocular vision disorders and vision therapy. Dr. Harris was the chief investigator of a vision therapy program in Baltimore city public schools, a founder and instructor in the optometric extension program training hundreds of optometrists world-wide in vision therapy, sports vision, and optometric management of acquired and traumatic brain injury.

To register

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For more information
Please contact:
Program Director: Dr. Liat Gantz
Program Administrator: Ms. Alisa Gania
Department Chairperson: Prof. Ariela Gordon-Shaag