Considerations for the identification of autism spectrum disorder in children with vision or hearing impairment: A critical review of the literature and recommendations for practice

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: There is higher risk for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) across many pediatric neurological conditions characterized by vision impairment or hearing loss. Early and accurate identification of ASD is imperative in promoting access to appropriate and early evidenced-based intervention; however, differential diagnosis can be particularly challenging in children with sensory impairment given the heterogeneity of ASD combined with the impact of vision impairment or hearing loss/deafness on development and behavior. A neuropsychologist’s unique expertise and appreciation of the interplay between sensory and behavioral manifestations can be valuable for making an early and accurate ASD diagnosis in children who are blind/visually impaired or deaf/hard-of-hearing. This article highlights clinical considerations when identifying ASD within the context of vision impairment or hearing loss/deafness. Method: We discuss clinical considerations for the early identification of ASD in children who are blind/visually impaired and deaf/hard-of-hearing. Information presented in the article is based on a critical review of the literature and the expertise of the author group. Conclusion: Ongoing development of clinical expertise and evidence-based assessment methods are important when informing the early differential diagnosis of ASD in individuals with sensory impairment. Accurate identification is also vital for the development of targeted interventions across the lifespan.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalClinical Neuropsychologist
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • blind
  • deaf
  • hearing loss
  • visual impairment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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