Autism & Learning Disabilities

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Autism 355x230“Douglas and Cobane Opticians provide a specialist optometry service for people with autism and learning disabilities, and aim to provide a positive and relaxed experience (in a controlled environment) for both the customer and carer.”

As a family run independent Opticians we strive to meet the needs of all our customers – including those for whom a visit to an Optician might seem quite daunting or perhaps even impossible. This could be the case for some individuals with Autism and learning disabilities. For example, there will be those who are unable to communicate any visual problems they may be experiencing. This could lead to frustration giving way to increased challenging behaviour which in turn may impede service access.

We know only too well the challenges some individuals and their families can face when accessing health care services. As Douglas & Cobane is family owned, our approach can be tailored to meet the needs of those requiring a more personalised approach. Our practice understands and aims to accommodate the needs of such individuals by:

  1. carrying out an initial consultation to determine the needs of the customer and discuss how best these may be met so that an eye test can be carried out
  2. offering individuals and their families/carers the opportunity to visit the practice and staff in advance as a means of desensitizing them to the sight test experience
  3. out of hours appointment slots
  4. adjustment of the environment if necessary
  5. conducting thorough eye tests with minimum stress
  6. advising on how best to increase the wearing of any glasses prescribed
  7. providing home visits where a practice visit may not be possible/advisable so that the test may be conducted in more familiar surroundings

The practice is managed by Emma Douglas who is a Board Certified Behaviour Analyst (BCBA-D) with extensive experience and knowledge of Autism and learning disabilities. The Optometrist, Damien Douglas, has extensive experience of performing eye tests on individuals with Autism and other special educational needs.

An eye exam should always be viewed as part of a general health check. Everyone should have a test at least every two years (annually in the case of children) even if they do not require corrective eyewear. Changes to the eyes can often be gradual and may go unnoticed. It is always best when problems are discovered early so that appropriate action can be taken.

Enabling someone to have their eyes tested in a primary care setting reduces the need for more costly hospital eye service referrals. The benefits are not only to the health service, but the patient’s needs can be met more quickly thus alleviating any potential stress resulting from referrals into a more clinical setting where there may be less control over the environment. A successful visit may also open the door to accessing similar services in future such as the GP or dentist.

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Further information regarding this service can be found in the following video:

To request an appointment contact us.

Association of OptometristsCollege of OptometristsGeneral Optical CouncilVSP Vision Care
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