My daughter does this too and it did not occur to me to ask her OT about it (but now I will!). I think this would be an issue OT could definitely help...here is what I found online about visual stimming:
Question: My son is a very verbal six year old with autism. Recently we have noticed an increase in "stimming" behaviors. Especially visually stimming on objects, pictures, his hands, anything in close proximity to his face that interests him. How do we handle this? Is it best to ignore it? What, if anything, helps to reduce the behavior? Any input would be greatly apprciated.
Answer: First, don't ignore "stim" behaviors. They are a means of communicating that something is "not right". I have found that visual "stim" behaviors serve one of several purposes. First, they are often very calming and organizing when children are overstimulated, second they may be a means of stimulation when a child is underaroused, or they may be a means of visual input when a child has poor oculo motor contol and does not get meaningful information from their environment. I would first look at his overall level of arousal. It is the end of the school year in most places and the increase you see may be a response to this time of increased arousal level. If this behavior is relatively new or suddenly increasing this may be the case. I would look at how stimulating things have been, has he had enough "down" time, have ther been alot of changes in routines? If so you may need to increase his sensory diet activities with lots of heavy work or movement as works best for him. I would also recommend an eval by a good behavioral optometrist who can look at his functional oculo-motor skills, eye teaming, convergence skills, tracking, etc. If these things are hard he is likely using only one eye at a time and not getting good visual from his environment. I also always recommend that people actually try out the "stims" the child is doing and really look at it in terms of what the child is getting out of the stim. Is he blocking out input, providing calming input, getting movement sensation? Good luck!
Also, please look at this link, there is a lot of helpful information here (too much to post here):
Good INFO. My son does this alot as well. He will look at the fan..however, he loves to look at reflections of the fan or even lights. We were wondering why he always looked right into the fireplace and we found out why it has a great reflection!
Speaking as a therapist here visual stims are the hardest thing to get rid of.
You can try trials of total engagement with a DRO for attending behaviors vrs visual stims but this is really hard to do as a parent and damn near impossible to do for long periods of time and still have any kind of life.
The best thing I have found is track it and look for the anticedent and eliminate it. WHen he does stim redirect with something more appropiate.
My son has a lot of visual stim. Running beside horizontal edges (table, hedge,...) and looking from corner of his eyes. I am wondering if OT can help him to get rid of this? Any comment is appreciated.
My so has a lot of visual stim. Running beside horizontal edges (table, hedge,...) and looking from corner of his eyes. I am wondering if OT can help him to get rid of this? Any comment is appreciated.
Ages 2 - 3, my son used to lay his head down on the coffee table to look at items on the table from that angle. He would also hold toys up to his eyes and look at them through peripheral vision. He used to lay his head next to the train tracks so he could see Thomas coming right by his face. He loved to stare at fans and bright lights.
By age 4, all of these behaviors went away. He had speech and OT since age 2. It's hard to tell whether the OT really helped this or whether he just grew out of it.