Visual Processing Issues

Visual Processing Disorder (VPD) or perceptual disorder is when an individual struggles to process and make sense of information taken in through the eyes. VPD covers a variety of issues and has nothing to do with nearsightedness or farsightedness. Visual Processing Disorder is when the brain has trouble processing signals that come from information seen by the eyes. The issue is with processing visual information.

Visual Processing Disorder is not considered a learning disability however, it is not correctable and may present lifelong challenges. The good news is, there are ways to help individuals learn to compensate for these weaknesses in the brain functions.

Visual Processing Disorder and Dyslexia are very different issues. Visual processing issues occur when a person has trouble processing information the eyes see, and it may cause a person to struggle with processing the words they see on a page.

  1. Dyslexia affects the way the brain processes language and is not a vision problem. A person with dyslexia struggles to process language and it causes difficulty with reading, writing, spelling and even speaking. Children with dyslexia often struggle with sounding out words, recognizing common sight words, and matching sounds to letters or blending sounds into words.

  2. Visual Processing Disorder causes kids to have trouble making sense of information seen by the eyes. Like dyslexia, VPD is not a vision problem it is a processing issue. Children with VPD may struggle telling the difference between the size, shape and color of an object. They may also be confused about written symbols in math, have difficulty judging distance or have poor spatial awareness.

Eight Types of Visual Processing Issues

  1. Visual discrimination issues: Difficulty seeing the difference between two similar letters, shapes or objects.

  2. Visual figure-ground discrimination issues: To struggle with pulling a shape or character from its background or finding a specific piece of information on a page or within a paragraph.

  3. Visual sequencing issues: Difficulty telling the order of symbols, words or images.

  4. Visual-motor processing issues: Difficulty using feedback from the eyes to coordinate the movement of other body parts.

  5. Long or short-term visual memory issues: Difficulty recalling what has been seen. This may cause a child to struggle with reading, spelling and using a calculator or keyboard.

  6. Visual-spatial issues: Difficulty telling where objects are in space and how far objects are from each other. It also includes objects and characters described on paper or in a spoken narrative. Kids may also struggle with reading maps and judging time.

  7. Visual closure issues: Difficulty identifying an object when only some parts are visible. They may not recognize a bycicle if the handlebars are missing or the photo of a person’s face if the eyes are covered with sunglasses or a hat. They will also struggle recognizing a word if a letter is missing.

  8. Letter and symbol reversal issues: This causes kids to reverse letters and numbers when writing and they may have trouble with letter formation that affects, reading, writing and math.

About the author

Vikki Carrel

Vikki Carrel

Academic Language Therapist, Multi-book Author, National Speaker

Vikki empowers people! She is an Academic Language Therapist, multi-book author and a national speaker. Vikki grew up in Salt Lake City, met her husband at the University of Utah, and has owned several companies across the United States. In 2010, Vikki and her husband moved back to Utah from Doylestown, Pennsylvania and she founded Vikki Carrel & Company, a speaking and training organization. Read more about the Author

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