What is Visual Processing Disorder?
Visual processing disorder has nothing to do with eyesight or vision; it has to do with the brain not processing the information which the eyes take in. Children with visual processing disorder have difficulties learning visual information due to the deficits in the visual control system in their brains.
Children with visual processing disorder struggle in these 3 areas in reading and writing:
Visual Word Memory Problems
Children with visual processing disorder will often show abnormal behaviors during reading, such as:
- Frequent word or line skips
- Tendency to move their whole head to read instead of just their eyes
- Difficulties with automatic sight-word recognition
- Double vision, squinting or closing or rubbing one eye
- Complaints of visual blurring or letters moving around, popping in and out of the paper
- The letters in words are not in sequence
Letter and Symbol Reversal Problems
It is common for children under the age of 7 to reverse letters or numbers when writing or to make letter substitutions when reading. Children with visual processing disorder will still make reversals and substitutions beyond the age of 7. These children will also show problems with letter formation that extends far beyond simple difficulties with reversals.
Connect with a PRIDE Reading Program Specialist to learn more.
Contrast Sensitivity Problems
Children with visual processing disorder often have difficulties with poor visual contrast sensitivity. These children may experience:
- Glare from the paper
- Difficulties making out the letters
Symptoms may be worse in some lights than others. Fluorescent lights frequently produce the most problems.
The best learning environment for a child with visual processing disorder is a multisensory setting. Multisensory teaching utilizes all the senses to relay information to the students. The teacher accesses the visual, auditory, and kinesthetic pathways in order to enhance memory and learning.
For example, when learning the vowel combination “oa” the student might first look at it and then have to trace the letters in the air while speaking out loud. This combination of listening, looking, and moving around creates a lasting impression for the student as things will connect to each other and become memorable.
If a child struggling with visual processing disorder is given a task that uses just vision, without drawing upon other senses, the child will be at a disadvantage. When taught with a multisensory approach, children will learn alphabetic patterns and words by utilizing all pathways – hearing (auditory), seeing (visual), touching (tactile) and moving (kinesthetic).
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"“PRIDE Learning Center has made such a huge impact on my family, I feel forever indebted and incredibly blessed to have experienced it. My daughter exhibited all the signs of a learning difference, but her schoolteachers were clueless, labeling her as lazy and inattentive. PRIDE helped to identify my daughter’s specific learning issues. Working with PRIDE’s team of gifted Reading Specialists allowed her to regain confidence in her ability to perform schoolwork. She enjoys every minute of PRIDE and always looked forward to her lessons.”
PRIDE Parent, Manhattan Beach, Ca
“Our daughter Brianna came to PRIDE when she was struggling with reading during 1st grade at our local public school in West Los Angles. At that point, she was near the bottom of her class and hated to read. After working with PRIDE’s excellent Reading Specialists and staff, Brianna is now ahead of her peers and, more importantly, enjoys reading. Brianna also looks forward to attending her PRIDE sessions and is proud of her accomplishments. We are lucky to have found PRIDE when we did, and I would highly recommend its program.”
– PRIDE Parent, Los Angeles, Ca
“Excellent Program. I do Psychoeducational and Neuropsychological Assessments. I have seen a lot of progress with the children that have gone through PRIDE’s program. It is a great resource that specifically addresses reading difficulties with a multi-sensory approach. It is also important that the people giving the services are well-trained. I highly recommend PRIDE.”
– Dr. Abbe Barron, DMD PhD, Los Angeles, Ca