Children with visual disorders : cognitive development, developmental disorders and consequences for treatment and counselling
Abstract: The causes of visual impairment and blindness has changed over the years, in Sweden and in other industrialised countries, giving rise to a new population of visually impaired children. Damages to the posterior visual pathway and the brain are now common causes of visual impairment. In contrast, purely ocular diseases or conditions are increasingly rare. In this thesis this changed panorama was explored and cognitive and behavioural outcome in children with ocular vs. cerebral visual impairment was examined in various studies. More cognitive deficits and developmental disorders, such as autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorders and complex visual perceptual and visual cognitive disorders were found in children with cerebral visual impairment or combinations of ocular and cerebral causes of visual impairment. Children born preterm, now form a considerable part of the population of visually impaired children and are at risk for such disorders. In contrast, children born at term with visual impairment due to causes in the anterior parts of the visual system have an entirely different developmental outcome. Psychological assessment methods, early intervention, counselling of parents and teachers and the education of visually impaired children in mainstream classes should be adapted to correspond with this changing population of visually impaired children.
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