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The WHAT vs WHERE visual system. ASD and ADHD

Updated: Oct 14, 2022



Understanding what conscious or unconscious brain process is running the visual system can be extremely complex for laypersons and parents. I will try to simplify this topic to give parents some insight. The concepts here will help parents understand what we are working on in a neuro-recovery Sensory TkD treatment plan.

The visual nervous system has two prominent nerve pathways in the brain. They are known as the what is it, temporal lobe system and they where is it, parietal lobe system. Both right and left brain has a what and where processing system. If you see a child who is a right dominant they are can become sensory bound. A good example of Sensory bound is observed while talking to an adhd child who is sensory bound when a bug or squirrel is subconsciously seen in the peripheral vision and is easily distracts by it. Their eyes get pulled towards the stimulus easier than typical. I observe this as a overactive peripheral vision right brain function. Peripheral vision is more processed by the right brain while the central focal vision is left. The hemispheres in the brain are observed to compete for dominance. In this case it appears we have a right brain dominance. A hint to keep in mind is that the frontal lobes have a lead role in what stimulus is attended to. The frontal lobes are where executive functions are generated. More specifically., the frontal lobes are responsible for goal directed behavior. Goal directed behavior is a conscious act while sensory bound sight is unconscious and impulsive. It is important to understand that sensory bound impulsive is normally functioning right hemisphere but with less conscious control keeping it in check.

We have learned through research that there are a number of structures involved in visual processing. These structures are found to be normally developed. Due to individual restricted interests these structures may be under developed from lack of use. A list of structures are the cerebellum coordinating movements, the macula of the retina for central vision, peripheral retina for peripherals vision, brainstem housing the eye muscle nerves, occipital lobe for primary visual processing, temporal lobe for processing what it is, perinatal lobe for where it is. Lastly, the prefrontal cortex for goal directed behavior. All of these structures have a right and a left brain perspective need to be assessed for clarity. Since these tissue and structural are dysfunctional and not diseased activation with targeted exercises strengthens these structures for more healthy function. There are some structures that I have intentionally left out to not confuse the reader.

If you're the researcher parent, take some time to learn more about the structures that I have listed above.


Dr. Kerry Escamilla

Founder of Sensory Taekwondo


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