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What Is Visual Processing Disorder?

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  • Written By: Britt Archer
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 05 April 2014
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People are bombarded with information in a variety of different ways on a daily basis. The information comes to us visually through written words, pictures and other media, and also through auditory means such as the spoken word. Sometimes the body cannot process one or more of these types of information correctly. This can be due to a visual processing disorder, an auditory processing disorder or both.

There are different types of visual processing disorders, and they are most commonly recognized in childhood. This is because so much information given in schools is provided in a visual manner, including notes written on a chalkboard, test papers and textbooks. The symptoms of this disorder vary depending upon the specific type of the disorder a person has, and in children may manifest as bad or disruptive behavior. The only way to be sure that a person is suffering from some form of visual processing disorder is to visit a licensed medical professional.

One type of visual processing disorder is the inability to recognize familiar objects. A person may only see or recognize part of an object, or not recognize the object at all. For children, this may mean being unable to recall a number learned one day and shown to them the next.

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Visual spatial processing disorder is when a person cannot distinguish spacing between two or more objects, or their relationship to one another. A person with this type of disorder may find it hard to distinguish between the letters "p" and "q," for example, as they both take up the same space, but are reversed. They also may find it hard to distinguish if part or all of an object or word is missing. A doorknob may be missing from a door, but a person with this disorder might not notice and keep trying to open the door as if it had a knob.

Visual motor processing disorder, which can be accompanied by any of the other varieties, is the inability of a person to orient himself in space around objects and navigate them accordingly. Such a person may be labeled “clumsy” or “klutzy” because he bumped into or knocked over objects that he did not recognize were there. This can affect all areas of a person's life, and is one of the biggest safety hazards for those with visual processing disorders. A person with a visual motor processing disorder might, for example, put their hand on the hot burner of a stovetop when instead they thought they were setting their hand on a countertop.

When working with children who have visual processing disorder, a number of steps can be taken in the classroom to accommodate this learning disability. Large print books and media used to block out unnecessary visual information may be utilized. Paper with raised lines may help them write. Removing unnecessary information from worksheets and handouts, as well as altering an instructor's teaching style so that it is more auditory-based, also helps a child with this disorder succeed.

If a visual processing disorder is suspected, it is best to consult a doctor or licensed medical practitioner, who may then refer the person to a specialist for testing. This condition is considered a learning disability, as well as a sensory impairment, and accommodations in school or on the job should be made accordingly. Working with a specialist is usually the recommended course of action.

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Discuss this Article

anon309702
Post 5

To assume that Einstein was just in deep thought all the time is wrong. I have many of the same behaviors Einstein manifested in his life. I was not and am not in deep thought all the time, especially in class. My brain just shuts down when there's too much noise.

Being smart has nothing to do with those types of behaviors, in my opinion. However, it is very challenging to have these issues in an academic setting, thus accumulating low test scores. The IQ is not projected or recessed with disabilities such as auditory processing disorder to note.

It is my thought that Einstein had something very similar and I can relate to his biography that states his difficulty with speaking at a young age, difficulty with formal academia and social surroundings, especially in places where volume of noise would be greater.

Proxy414
Post 4

@SilentBlue

It is interesting to note that many autistic children possess incredible abilities of memory and calculation, while lacking social and outward-focused skills. This also can be the case with many geniuses, who are able to make impossible calculations but have trouble functioning around people and behaving properly according to social norms.

SilentBlue
Post 3

Difficulty in learning can be caused by a lack of proper visual processing in children. Sometimes these aspects of brain skill and power are due to the fact that there is too much power being directed to another part of the brain, which may cause the child to be a genius in that area and possess unusual skill in that particular aspect of the brain, while suffering from a lack of usage of the visual area.

BostonIrish
Post 2

Children with learning and visual disabilities are often stymied and made fun of in school. These children normally have immense potential, but have larger than normal barriers to overcome before they attain to their full throttle capacity. Albert Einstein was considered dumb in grammar school, because he was often very deep in thought.

BioNerd
Post 1

Sight and sound impairment can be caused by a lack of good visual memory due to problems in development. Learning to exercise every aspect of the mind and to implement them all in an effective manner can help to eliminate these difficulties. Even for very smart people, exercising the mind daily is an important exercise. Every brain has immense potential that is rarely fully realized.

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