The good news about visual-processing difficulties is that with intensive vision therapy, treatment can improve visual processing skills and even cure visual processing deficiencies. According to Churchill Center and School, there are eight types of visual processing issues. Because visual processing issues are complex, these eight different classifications can mean that individuals can have more than one. These visual difficulties often go undetected because they don’t show up on vision tests:

Visual discrimination issues:

Kids with this type have difficulty seeing the difference between two similar letters, shapes, or objects. They may mix up letters, confusing d and b, or p and q.

Visual figure-ground discrimination issues:

Kids with this type may not be able to pull out a shape or character from its background. They may have trouble finding a specific piece of information on a page. Here is a blog for therapy ideas for Figure-Ground Discrimination

Visual sequencing issues:

Kids with these issues have difficulty telling the order of symbols, words, or images. They may struggle to write answers on a separate sheet or skip lines when reading. They also may reverse or misread letters, numbers, and words.

Visual-motor processing issues:

Kids with these issues have difficulty using feedback from the eyes to coordinate the movement of other parts of the body. Writing within the lines or margins can be difficult. Kids also may bump into things and have trouble copying from a book.

Long- or short-term visual memory issues:

Kids with either type have difficulty recalling what they’ve seen. Because of that, they may struggle with reading and spelling. They may also have trouble remembering what they’ve read and using a calculator or keyboard.

Visual-spatial issues:

Kids with these issues have difficulty telling where objects are in space. That includes how far things are from them and from each other. It also includes objects and characters described on paper or in a spoken narrative. Kids may also have a tough time reading maps and judging time.

Visual closure issues:

Kids with these issues have difficulty identifying an object when only parts are visible. They may not recognize a truck if it’s missing wheels. Or a person in a drawing that is missing a facial feature. Kids may also have great difficulty with spelling because they can’t recognize a word if a letter is missing.

Letter and symbol reversal issues:

Kids with these issues switch letters or numbers when writing, or make letter substitutions when reading after age 7. They also have trouble with letter formation that affects reading, writing, and math skills.

Other Types of Visual Processing Difficulties:

Visual Convergence Disorder

Convergence Insufficiency is a common binocular (two-eyed) vision disorder in which the eyes do not work up-close easily. This is an eye teaming problem in which the eyes have a strong tendency to drift outward when reading or doing close work (also known as exophoria at near).

Visual Processing Disorder

A visual, or perceptual, disorder refers to a hindered ability to make sense of information taken in through the eyes. This is different from problems involving sight or sharpness of vision. Difficulties with visual processing affect how visual information is interpreted or processed by the brain.

Irlen Syndrome

Also known as Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome and visual stress, Irlen Syndrome is a perceptual processing disorder and not necessarily an optical problem. It is a problem with the brain’s ability to process visual information. It tends to run in families and is not currently identified by other standardized educational or medical tests. There is hope for those struggling with Irlen Syndrome. Some people find that the symptoms of Meares-Irlen decrease as they get older. For others, the condition is with them for life. While there is no cure at present, the symptoms can often be reduced and sometimes eliminated by using a colored overlay or colored lenses.

Therapy Centers: Irlen – Where Science and Color Transforms Lives

The Irlen Method provides a unique service for some children and adults identified with reading and learning difficulties, low motivation, attention deficit disorder (ADHD), discipline problems, headaches and migraines, autism, and traumatic brain injury. The symptoms of Irlen Syndrome are wide-ranging, but our technology focuses on one core problem: the brain’s inability to process visual information.

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