The last time you went to the eye doctor, you probably looked at a standard eye chart. If you're a person with special needs, it may be a waste of time.
"The eye doctor says read the third line down. Okay, well one, if you're not verbal that's going to be a challenge," explained Special Olympics Washington President Dave Lenox. "If you don't know ordinals, maybe you don't know what first, second, and third is. And if you don't know your letters. You know, there is no way you're going to answer that question right."
During the USA Games in Seattle earlier this month, they did a full screening on 1,700 of the 3,000 athletes; including checks on vision, dental, hearing, mental health and podiatry.
46 percent of the athletes screened needed new glasses to update a prescription. 51 percent had the wrong size shoes. 64 athletes needed emergency dental care. Keep in mind this group is among the healthiest of those with special needs because they're athletes and just to get to the USA Games they had already been screened.
"I think we need more training on the foundational level. starting at the schools, getting people interested," said Dr. Katie Hash.
While studying optometry in college Dr. Hash began working with athletes at Special Olympics Games. At her Lynnwood office, she now sees special needs patients routinely.
"Today even, I had a patient with Autism where I was on the floor most of the exam with the lights off," she said.
Part of providing better care is building trust and being creative.
"I've done exams in the reception area. I've done exams in the parking lot even. In someone's car partially because of those fears," said Dr. Hash.
"The protocols are just not designed for people who think, act, talk differently," said Lenox.
That's why he's pushing for a lot more screening beyond major athletic events, hoping to help provide more access for those with special needs and more training for those in the medical field who can help them.