This post describes visual processing and visual efficiency problems that might not be obvious vision problems in kids.
A child struggles with handwriting. They work hard in school and can verbalize answers to spelling tests or spout off vocabulary meanings and math facts. But when it comes to reading assignments, creative writing tasks, or writing a list of words on a spelling test, you notice it.
This child seems distracted in the classroom. They resist homework. In-class assignments are not completed on time and when he needs to silently read a passage and recall the details, he seems distrait.
Sometimes, these learning problems are an indication of a vision problem. Sometimes, the child is not complaining of trouble seeing and they have passed vision tests, yet there might be a hidden vision problem.
Visual processing and visual efficiency are hidden eye problems that might not seem obvious when a child goes about his day. A child who needs glasses for acuity will squint his eyes of complain about headaches or blurry words on the page. A child with visual processing or visual efficiency difficulties may slip through the fuzzy visual cracks.
Visual perceptual skills are needed for so many functional skills. You’ll find easy and fun ways to work on visual perceptual skills through play here.
What are Visual Processing and Visual Efficiency and why can’t you “see” these vision problems?
Visual processing is a large way to describe many visual skills. When a child has a problems with visual processing, they have difficulty taking in information and processing that visual information in order to make sense of it. Visual processing includes visual tasks such as laterality, directionality, form perception, visual memory, visual closure, and visual motor integration. These are the kids who have trouble with letter reversals, difficulty learning the letters of the alphabet, has poor comprehension skills, has poor recall of visual information, has trouble with writing spelling words and vocabulary, or has sloppy handwriting.
Visual scanning can be one of these processing skills impacting the retrieval of visual information.
Visual efficiency refers to the ability to effectively view visual information. While visual efficiency refers to nearsightedness and farsightedness, it also includes problems with focusing, tracking, and eye teaming. These are the types of problem areas that present later in the elementary school years or when students are required to read a significant amount of information. Visual efficiency problems may present as squinting, complaints of blurred vision, inattention, looses place when reading, poor reading comprehension, moving head when reading, or skipping lines when reading.
What should be done to help kids with problems with visual processing or visual efficiency?
If a child is suspected of having problems in these areas, it is important to have them tested by an optometrist who is qualified to treat learning related vision problems. Kids can overcome problems with visual processing and visual efficiency through help, tutoring, adaptations, modifications, and corrected vision problems.
Here is more information about strategies to address visual perceptual skills and handwriting.
Here are some fun ways to help with visual processing concerns:
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