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Kinetic Imbalances due to Suboccipital Strain

Die bunte Reihe

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    © 2018 Dr. Graumann-Brunt

Eingangstür geschlossen Dr. Sigrid Graumann-Brunt

Lacking upright vision

Eingangstür geöffnet

"Die Umkehrbrille und das aufrechte Sehen" (inverting spectacles and upright vision), a film by Theodor Erismann.

Author: Dr. Sigrid Graumann-Brunt

The film can be found here:

Mark this link and copy it into your browser window.

This film by Erismann is one that everyone concerned with therapy of any kind should see even though it stems from a time in which much of what is generally known today (e.g. the results of investigations into the different functions of the two hemispheres of the brain) was as yet still undiscovered.

It does, however, illustrate very clearly what the world may look like to someone if merely just a few of the cortical/subcortical feedback control systems active in processing visual impressions are no longer or not yet functioning "properly". Erismann makes us aware of the fact that we can never be sure that we are seeing what another person is seeing.

It is time we began taking greater account of disorders in the visual processing of stimuli in the treatment not only of dementia, but also of autism as well, than has generally been the case up to now (much can be gained from reading articles written by optometrist Dr. Zelinsky, Elliottīs book "The Ghost in my Brain" or reports published by members of the NORA organization; Langīs book "Sehen: Wie sich das Gehirn ein Bild macht" (Seeing: how the brain produces a picture) is also highly recommendable.

Besides the events and occurrences artificially generated in the film by the wearing of inverting spectacles, there are many other less spectacular phenomena of a functional neurological nature in which visual influences play a part which even in the case of seemingly trivial dysfunctions may considerably impair the experience of everyday life.

Impaired eye contact very often has one prematurely contemplating autism. And, indeed, impaired visual contact and the resultant failure to communicate adequately with others is one of the abnormalities attributed to (the construct!) autism.

To find out more about the role played by sight and visual perception in such cases would be something worth investigating. One could try including optometristic findings in scientific investigations of autism; this would provide more valid evidence than that normally obtained in testing methods where evidence is confined to internal consistency (of the construct).

This line of investigation would not run contrary to research conducted more recently that points to the possibility that "autism could be due to a misalignment in the "switching circuits" inside the brain".The switching circuits involved in processing what we see are particularly significant, not only in respect of the effect they have, but also in view of their breadth and range. One peculiarity is that they rely on being wired up to experiences gained from the activity of other sensory receptors without which it is not only impossible to interpret the image seen, but also leads to considerable confusion and destabilization.

As a student (initially one of Einsteinīs physics students) Erismann soon turned his attention to the subject of gravity. His observations show how important he considered the fact that oneīs sense of sight is dependent on the experiences of other senses in respect of gravitation. This becomes very clear in the film: the plummet and the use of the groping cane help to turn the image the right way up.

It is the perception of gravity alone that enables us to orientate in the realm of space. To put it more precisely, it enables us to imagine a three-dimensional space (if we disregard movement for the time being for the sake of simplicity). This "inner" perception of space must be as compatible as possible with the outer one. This compatibility is an essential requirement of any action undertaken and also for the development of logic, causality and probability-based deduction.

The world of an individual who is unable to generate this inner image of space due to dysfunctions in feedback control systems that serve to process visual information is one of chaos, one in which it is impossible to establish any form of logic, and one in which valuations are of no relevance. Not only are the visual images constantly swaying to and fro as we see in the film; it is also the fact that things are not where you see them and expect them to be. But where are they then?

The person who has put on the spectacles in the film is fully aware of the fact that the confusion caused is the confusion intended. It is not a child setting out on a journey of discovery, gathering experience of the outside world. Children assume that everyone else sees the world like they do. A child will not deem it worthy of comment. The fact is, however, that its development may be impaired in all sorts of ways when when the functional neurological feedback control systems that process the visual image are not functioning properly.

That this particularly inhibits imitation is readily understandable because imitation of course cannot succeed if one cannot focus oneīs vision on the model. This applies above all to the (all too important) act of deferred imitation that later finds its way into symbolic play, a phenomenon found wanting in autistic children. But long before this happens, the child has already acquired by imitation the socially engaging smile and speech motor modules. This is what we assume. And that is why it is important that the child is able to see and visually process the movement of the mouth in order to be able to imitate it, and that the information it has thus obtained can proceed unhindered to the relevant feedback control systems.

There is certainly much scope for further research here: when wearing the spectacles, for example, it seems to matter whether one is lying down or in an upright posture. This aspect was not pursued in the film, but there are indications that different conditions apply when in the lying position.

But what can be done in practical therapeutic terms while we wait for scientific research to shed more light on the issue?

This question is not so easy to answer because we have to assume that there are fractures in the image we see, i.e. in certain areas of our field of vision everything is seen "normally", in others not. The problems arising will be on a varying scale.

A further problem is that stemming from the confusion of the two sides of the field of vision. This is not dealt with in the film. If the means of processing what is seen on each side separately is somehow impaired, situations will occur in which this will initially cause individuals to make false decisions and later to underperform and lead to various other problems.

What can be done: no harm can be done by using a little bell on a piece of string or a plummet to see if the child touches the bell accurately, or whether it aims in a deviant direction. This test can be carried out in each quadrant of the childīs field of vision.

It is also recommendable to follow Erismannīs example and use a plumb line. Furthermore, making out objects in space by touching them is of great importance. This should first be done with the eyes closed to rule out any possibility of confusion. Instead of using the kind of stick shown in the film, it would be preferable to use a folding rule; it is not heavy, is pliable and cannot cause as much damage.

One can also try to induce the storing of a combined auditory and visual impression. Hearing is different from the electromagnetic waves that enable us to see in that it is bears a relation to gravitation. The course of our evolution has taught us to turn our head in the direction from which the sound comes. This can be put to good advantage by ringing the previously mentioned bell, directing the light from a torch upon it and moving the bell in different directions as it rings and shines.

Please let me know, what you think about this matter. Every mail is welcome:

© Dr. Sigrid Graumann-Brunt

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