Visual processing doesn’t have to do with how well a child sees . . . it’s all about how their brain makes sense of what they see. For instance, some children with visual processing disorders have trouble recognizing an object when part of it is hidden. Or they might be unable to see how objects are grouped in relation to each other—which makes reading words (letters grouped together) very difficult. (By the way, it’s important to be sure to correct any physical vision issues, so they don’t further complicate a child’s visual processing challenges.)If your child exhibits many of the symptoms in the checklist below, it may indicate a visual processing struggle. If that’s the case, you can bring learning within your child’s reach by getting a more formal evaluation and by using the many empowering educational resources that are available!
Do any of these sound like my child?
- Reverses words when reading (was for saw, on for no, big for dig, etc.) after having already been taught the words
- Skips short words when reading
- Needs to use finger to track after age 7
- When reading orally, reads smoothly at the beginning of a page but becomes more labored the longer they read
- Experiences eye fatigue shortly after reading begins (watery eyes, rubbing eyes)
- Starts to yawn shortly after reading begins
- Continues to struggle even after being prescribed eyeglasses
If you think your child might have a visual processing challenge, check out the following resources suggested by HSLDA’s educational consultants! We also encourage you to move on to the next checklist in this series to see if your child might have a challenge in the area of writing, aka visual-motor processing.
Resources to help your child with visual processing struggles
- Eye exam and prescription eyeglasses if needed. By first addressing any physical vision issues, you’ll help reduce the number of obstacles your child faces in overcoming visual processing challenges.
- Vision evaluation and therapy from a developmental optometrist. This can be expensive, but it could be a life-changing investment in your child’s learning! Although one in 10 kids may have a vision problem serious enough to impact learning,
routine pediatrician checks, school screenings, and standard eye exams may miss visual processing problems. You can learn more about visual therapy and find a doctor near you here.
- At-home eye exercises, like these from Eye Can Learn or eyeQ
- Colored transparencies—learn how they work here.
- Colored lenses for glasses, available from Irlen
- The very popular Processing and Cognitive Enhancement (PACE) program supports students with a number of learning challenges. Designed for children, it is used
in both public and private arenas, usually administered by professionals. PACE targets and trains cognitive skills including attention and concentration, memory, processing speed, problem solving, visual processing, phonetic awareness,
- Dianne Craft’s Brain Integration Therapy Program equips parents to use daily exercises along with once-a-week brain training sessions to make permanent connections between the two sides of the brain and correct processing issues (home based and parent administered).
Would you like specific guidance in helping your child with a learning struggle? The Educational Consultants are here for you! HSLDA members can call or email us, and we will respond personally. (Not a member? You can join today!)