New research suggests that autism has a significant effect on the senses. It seems that autism causes small details to divert attention from the big picture. This has led some scientists in Italy to study children with autism to see whether they are distracted by shadows in recognition of objects.
"The researchers showed 20 high-functioning children with autism and 20 typical children computerized versions of familiar objects with recognizable shapes, such as apples, bananas, forks or knives. During these experiments, the presence, shape and position of the shadows the objects cast were systematically manipulated — for instance, a vase might cast the expected shadow, the shadow of a cone, or no shadow at all."
For children with autism, shadows obscured recognition of objects, so that the children were really not able to attend to the objects but were instead distracted by shadows. It may be most effective then, in teaching children with autism, to choose a space with careful lighting and therefore the children will be less distracted by shadows.