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What Is Visual Processing

Visual processing is the process used to make sense of what we see. It is a process in our brain that interprets visual information.  Occupational therapy is a treatment that supports a kiddo and their family when they experience difficulties with visual processing. If your child has difficulty with any one of these things, they very well  may have difficulty with visual processing:

-Difficulty with the spacing and sizes of letters

-Difficulty with recognizing letters

-Difficulty with copying shapes or letters

-Difficulty with visual tracking and crossing midline

-Difficulty finding objects among other objects

-Difficulty with copying from the board or another paper

-Difficulty with the concept of right and left

-Your child may lose his or her place when reading or copying from the board or may have poor eye contact

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.

However, we can help! A comprehensive assessment of a child’s vision which may include evaluation of eye tracking, eye teaming, fusion, depth perception, near and distant visual acuity, visual motor skills, visual closure, visual contrast, visual discrimination, etc. can be performed and yield informative results. Contact us today and let us start helping your kiddo to truly see and understand!

Visual processing disorders aren’t considered learning disabilities, but as you might suspect, they are common in children with learning issues. Just as dyslexia or dyscalculia have to do with a difference or weakness in brain function, so do visual processing disorders. When the brain is weak in one area, it is often weak in more than one area. This is why someone with VPD will often have other learning disorders. When someone has two disorders or disabilities at the same time, the conditions are said to be comorbid.

VPD can affect the way a child learns. But a visual processing disorder can also affect everyday tasks like putting away the forks and knives into their correct slots in the silverware drawer, or sinking a ball into a basketball hoop. Visual processing disorders can even affect the way a child feels about himself. To his classmates, a child with VPD may be the kid who can never get that ball into the hoop. And so the child may withdraw into himself, to avoid the frustration and pain that come with being different.

What Should a Parent Do?

If you suspect your child has one or more visual processing disorders, there are many things you can do to help. Keep in mind that helping your child learn to cope will take patience and lots of work. Here are some of the things you can do at home that may be helpful:

  • Read up on visual processing disorder. Knowledge is your best tool for helping your child with VPD.
  • Watch your child as they do different tasks and take notes on what you see. Do they do tasks differently than most children? Writing down what you observe will help everyone in your child’s life understand their particular challenges and tell them how to respond.
  • Always be clear when writing out schedules or instructions. Break up instructions into numbered steps. Write things out in large letters and use colors, too.  When assigning household chores, you might use a different color for each sibling. If “sweep the steps” is written in purple, for instance, that means it’s Tommy’s task
  • Use your child’s free time for activities improve visual processing, but turn things into a game. Do a puzzle together. Read. Play catch.
  • Offer lots of praise for real achievements. If your child worked hard on studying for his spelling test and improved their grade, let them know you’re pleased. They need your support and recognition to keep on going, because it’s such a struggle! Let them know you know that!