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Visual Processing Disorders: By Age Group

Visual Processing Disorder - Visual Perception Disorder

Basics You Should Know About Visual Processing Disorders

  • Visual processing disorders are also known as visual perceptual processing disorders
  • They affect how the brain perceives and processes what the eye sees.
  • These disorders can occur without impaired vision of any kind.
  • Like all learning disabilities, visual processing disorders can be a lifelong challenge.
  • People with visual processing disorders have problems with the way they interpret information, but what others will notice in people with these disorders is the behavior that happens after the difficulties occur.
  • There are several types of visual processing disorders, each affecting different aspects of visual information processing—see “Visual Processing Disorders” for more information.

Visual Processing Disorders at Different Ages

Many people experience problems with learning and behavior occasionally, but if a person consistently displays difficulties with these tasks over time, testing for visual processing disorders by trained professionals should be considered.


Early Childhood

Common difficulties

  • Misunderstanding or confusing written symbols (example: +, x, /, &)
  • Easily distracted, especially by competing visual information
  • Writing within margins or on lines or aligning numbers in math problems.
  • Judging distances (example: bumping into things, placing objects too close to an edge)
  • Fluidity of movement (example: getting out of the way of a moving ball, knocking things over)
  • Differentiating colors or similarly shaped letters and numbers (example: b, d; p, q; 6,9; 2,5)

Accommodation and modification strategies

  • Use books, worksheets and other materials with enlarged print.
  • Read written directions aloud. Varying teaching methods (written and spoken words; images and sounds) can help promote understanding.
  • Be aware of the weakness but don’t overemphasize it. While helping a child work on the weakness is important; it is just as important to build other skills and function in any setting.
  • Break assignments and chores into clear, concise steps. Often multiple steps can be difficult to visualize and complete.
  • Give examples and point out the important details of visual information (the part of a picture that contains information for a particular question).
  • Provide information about a task before starting to focus attention on the activity.
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