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Visual Processing

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Visual Processing Disorder

When we look at an object our eyes receive that information and send it to our brain to be interpreted and processed. When a child has difficulty making sense of what the eyes “see” it is termed a visual processing disorder. It is possible to have 20/20 vision and still have difficulty processing what is seen, for while we “look” with our eyes, we truly “see” with our brain.

There are many different types of processing disorder and many different symptoms, which can include trouble drawing or copying, inability to detect differences in shapes or letters, and letter reversals.

Types of Visual Processing Dysfunction

VISUAL DISCRIMINATION ISSUES:
Trouble seeing the difference between similar letters, shapes, or objects

VISUAL SEQUENTIAL MEMORY ISSUES:
Find it difficult to see shapes, letters, or words in the correct order; may skip lines or read the same line over and over

LONG- OR SHORT-TERM VISUAL MEMORY ISSUES:
Struggle to remember shapes, symbols, or objects they’ve seen, causing issues with reading and spelling

VISUAL CLOSURE ISSUES:
Difficulty identifying an object when only parts of it are showing

VISUAL FIGURE-GROUND ISSUES:
Struggle to distinguish a shape or letter from its background

VISUAL-MOTOR PROCESSING ISSUES:
Trouble using what they see to coordinate with the way they move; may struggle to write within lines or bump into objects while walking

VISUAL-SPATIAL ISSUES:
Trouble understanding where objects are in space; unsure how close objects are to one another

VISUAL-AUDITORY PROCESSING ISSUES:

Visual and auditory processing are the processes of recognizing and interpreting information taken in through the senses of sight and sound. Although there are many types of perception, the two most common areas of difficulty involved with a learning disability are visual and auditory perception. Since so much information in the classroom and at home is presented visually and/or verbally, the child with an auditory or visual perceptual disorder can be at a disadvantage in certain situations.

Symptoms of Visual Processing Problems

  • Loss of attention and concentration, easily distractible
  • Day dreaming
  • Poor handwriting, difficulty writing on lines or keeping margins
  • Clumsiness, bumping into things, inability to catch a ball, etc.
  • Difficulty copying information from the board or a book
  • Loses place or skips words when reading
  • Difficulty with similar patterns or shapes and/or similar letters or numbers (e.g., q/p, d/b, 9/6)
  • Blurring of vision during and/or after reading
  • Lack of retention of written material, or visual teaching aids
  • Problem solving difficulties
  • Headaches

Common Visual Processing Disorder Myths

Myth:

Children can outgrow visual processing difficulties.

Fact:

Visual processing disorders are lifelong conditions. While a student will not simply outgrow a visual processing difficulty, he or she can develop strategies to navigate life in the classroom and beyond.

Myth:

Vision problems and visual processing disorder are the same thing.

Fact:

A person with visual processing difficulties may have 20/20 vision.

Myth:

Dyslexia and visual processing disorder have the same symptoms.

Fact:

Individuals with dyslexia struggle to connect letters to sounds; those with visual processing disorder struggle to understand visual information, whether letters, shapes, or objects.

Myth:

Smart students don’t have visual processing disorder.

Fact:

Many people with visual processing difficulties do well in school and in their careers. With the right strategies, students with visual processing issues can thrive.

A comprehensive assessment of a child’s vision and visual processing skills will be needed to evaluate their visual skills.

Treatment may involve glasses, therapeutic activities to do at home, vision therapy, prism glasses, etc. For more information concerning the evaluation and remediation of visual processing problems, please contact us at 626-999-3177.


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