CVI & Autism: Exploratory study of dorsal visual stream dysfunction in autism: A case series

Research report on case studies of individuals with dorsal visual stream dysfunction and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

By Carmen Zarate

A recent report by I. Hay, G.N. Dutton, S. Biggar, H. Ibrahim, D. Assheton appears in the January 2020 issue of Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders.


“Robust neuroscientific evidence supports the existence of an association between autism and a visual motion processing deficit, arising from dysfunction of the dorsal visual stream… The neuro-ophthalmic consequences of dorsal visual stream dysfunction (DVSD) are well-described but seldom reported”:

  • Simultanagnosia (impaired capacity to perceive visual elements surrounding the item of interest)
  • Optic ataxia (impaired visual guidance of movement of the arms, legs, and/or body)
  • Gaze apraxia (dysfunction of visual-search eye movements)

Article Highlights

  • Profiles of visuomotor impairment consistent with dorsal visual stream dysfunction (DVSD) in 13 normally sighted children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) described
  • Video evidence for optic ataxia given and a relationship between optic ataxia and motor impairment in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) proposed
  • Linear relationship between configural disruption of line drawings in the Beery-VMI and severity of functional visual impairment reported
  • Proposal that “piecemeal visual processing’”drives configural disruption in ASD and is consistent with the Central Coherence Theory for ASD
  • Suggested that children with ASD with severe visuomotor impairment due to DVSD may benefit from specialist visual impairment support.

Read the full article.