Five visual processing problems and holiday crowd anxiety

5 Visual Processing Problems and Holiday Crowd Anxiety with autism

Because of visual processing problems, crowded public places can easily overload individuals with autism, making them feel stressed and anxious, which often results in a meltdown.

You might think immediately about the discomfort of noise and flashing lights and people bumping into each other, but there are plenty of unseen reasons why your child is having a hard time.

Five visual processing problems you may not know about:

  1. Children with autism perceive some movements faster than their typically developing peers.5 This could be cars on a freeway or lights on a tree. Sensory overload happens when you see more than you can process.
  2. Individuals with autism have deficits in facial recognition.3 Their brains have to work a lot harder to recognize the people around them, which contributes to their social anxiety.
  3. It’s harder for people with autism to recognize how others feel. In a 2014 study, adults with autism were less accurate in recognizing emotional states than their peers1.
  4. Children with autism can’t process complex movements, such as people in a crowd2, as well as their peers, which contributes to their anxiety symptoms in large public places like malls.
  5. The brains of autistic children are hyperconnected (i.e. they have many more connections). There is a direct link between the severity of autism symptoms and the number of connections in the brain4. The more hyperconnected the brain, the more autistic the person is.

Sensory Enrichment Therapy has exercises that are specifically designed to help you to improve visual processing. For more information about our full online autism therapy, visit:


  1. Alaerts K, Woolley DG, Steyaert J, Di Martino A, Swinnen SP, Wenderoth N. Underconnectivity of the superior temporal sulcus predicts emotion recognition deficits in autism. 2014;9(10):1589–1600.
  2. Blake R, Turner LM, Smoski MJ, Pozdol SL, Stone WL. Visual recognition of biological motion is impaired in children with autism. 2003;14(2):151–157.
  3. Schultz RT, Gauthier I, Klin A, Fulbright RK, Anderson AW, Volkmar F, Skudlarski P, Lacadie C, Cohen DJ, Gore JC. Abnormal ventral temporal cortical activity during face discrimination among individuals with autism and Asperger syndrome. 2000;57(4):331–340.
  4. Supekar K, Uddin LQ, Khouzam A, Phillips J, Gaillard WD, Kenworthy LE, Yerys BE, Vaidya CJ, Menon V. Brain hyperconnectivity in children with autism and its links to social deficits. 2013;5(3):738–747.
  5. Wallisch P, Bornstein AM. Enhanced motion perception as a psychophysical marker for autism? 2013;33(37):14631–14632.

About Sensory Enrichment Therapy

Clinical Studies Validate Sensory Enrichment Therapy as an Effective Autism Treatment

Results showed that after 6 months of therapy the children with autism in the sensory enrichment therapy group saw their sensory responsiveness improve by 11 points on their Short Sensory Profile, compared to only 3 points for the children who did standard care only.

  1. Woo, C., & Leon, M. (2013). Environmental enrichment as an effective treatment for autism: A randomized controlled trial. Behavioral Neuroscience, 487-497.
  2. Woo, C., Donnelly, J., Steinberg-Epstein, R., & Leon, M. (2015). Environmental enrichment as a therapy for autism: A clinical trial replication and extension. Behavioral Neuroscience, 412-422.

Click here for more information about the clinical trials

  • Brain Plasticity

    Studies have shown that the brain has the ability to change and develop.

  • Sensory Enrichment Therapy

    Sensory Enrichment Therapy includes specific protocols proven to enhance brain plasticity. It is a scientifically driven treatment that uses sensory experiences to enable the brain to reduce the symptoms of autism.

  • Mendability

    Mendability provides this autism therapy over the Internet at a low cost, giving a structured treatment protocol that you can administer at home for 10-15 minutes daily.

    This is an autism therapy with clinically proven results, personalized to fit within your schedule – officially accredited by The Joint Commission.

The results are:

  • A child who initiates more natural conversations
  • A child who is more comfortable in his own skin and the world around him
  • A child who can learn more confidently
  • More calm, more focus, more engagement
  • Deeper, less interrupted sleep
  • More interest in varied foods
  • Easier to cope with change and to transition

Mendability - Sensory Enrichment Therapy for Autism - Accredited by the Joint Commission

Is Sensory Enrichment Therapy a good match for your family?

Effective Autism Therapy Chart

See how other individuals similar to you progressed on the Mendability Sensory Enrichment program.

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2 replies
  1. ANNA
    ANNA says:

    Hi Kim
    As always very interesting.
    I though that the less connection in a brain the more severe autism.
    Obviously was wrong !!!!
    Have a great Christmas
    Thank you for all contacts.
    Anna ( London )

    • Mendability
      Mendability says:

      HI, Anna.

      You are actually right too. :-) In some areas of the brain, under-connectivity is a predictor of social deficits and in others, hyper-connectivity is the predictor.

      Merry Christmas!


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