How Do I Recognize Visual Processing Disorder? (with pictures)

C.B. Fox
C.B. Fox
Someone who suffers from a visual processing disorder may be unable to identify letters.
Someone who suffers from a visual processing disorder may be unable to identify letters.

Diagnosis of a visual processing disorder is often a complicated process. Though there are many symptoms of these disorders, these symptoms are often difficult to connect to the disorder itself. Additionally, many people who are diagnosed with these disorders are quite young and may have trouble explaining what their symptoms are. In most cases, recognizing one of these disorders involves examining the eyes and testing the patient's ability to process different types of visual information.

A visual processing disorder impairs a student's ability to read and learn from visual information.
A visual processing disorder impairs a student's ability to read and learn from visual information.

The easiest type of visual processing disorder to detect is one that is caused by a problem with the eyes themselves. Schools and pediatricians often check for deficiencies in sight periodically. In adults, blurry vision may prompt a visit to the optometrist who can diagnose one of these disorders.

A visual processing disorder caused by a problem with the brain or the connection between the brain and the eyes can be much harder to detect. There are many types of these disorders, and each displays different symptoms. Though many of these conditions can appear similar to general learning disabilities, examining the specific problems a student has can help lead to a correct diagnosis and proper treatment.

Adults who suffer from blurred vision may be wise to visit an eye specialist.
Adults who suffer from blurred vision may be wise to visit an eye specialist.

One common visual processing disorder is one of discrimination. People with this disorder may have difficulty telling the difference between letters, numbers, shapes, or colors that are similar to one another. Other people may have trouble correctly identifying the order of letters or numbers, which can manifest as difficulty keeping one's place while reading or misreading words or numbers. This disorder is one of visual sequencing.

Problems with visual processing may cause difficulty with fine motor skills.
Problems with visual processing may cause difficulty with fine motor skills.

It is also possible for a visual processing disorder to interfere with a person's ability to interact with the environment. Problems with visual motor processing can cause difficulty with both fine and gross motor skills. A problem understanding the spacial relationships between objects and between objects and the observer can also lead to problems with coordination and motor skills.

Someone with visual processing disorder may have trouble keeping one's place while reading.
Someone with visual processing disorder may have trouble keeping one's place while reading.

Some people may have trouble knowing what an object is when it is partially hidden. This type of visual processing disorder is one of visual closure. A problem in telling the difference between a figure and the background it appears on can also indicate a problem with a person's visual processing.

Visual memory can also be affected by disorders of visual processing. These disorders can affect the short term or long term memory. People with these disorders may have trouble remembering phone numbers, how to spell common words, or what they have just read.

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    • Someone who suffers from a visual processing disorder may be unable to identify letters.
      Someone who suffers from a visual processing disorder may be unable to identify letters.
    • A visual processing disorder impairs a student's ability to read and learn from visual information.
      A visual processing disorder impairs a student's ability to read and learn from visual information.
    • Adults who suffer from blurred vision may be wise to visit an eye specialist.
      Adults who suffer from blurred vision may be wise to visit an eye specialist.
    • Problems with visual processing may cause difficulty with fine motor skills.
      Problems with visual processing may cause difficulty with fine motor skills.
    • Someone with visual processing disorder may have trouble keeping one's place while reading.
      Someone with visual processing disorder may have trouble keeping one's place while reading.
    • A visual processing disorder is often diagnosed after an eye exam and testing by an optometrist.
      A visual processing disorder is often diagnosed after an eye exam and testing by an optometrist.
    • Toddlers with a visual processing disorder may struggle with toys that require fine motor skills.
      Toddlers with a visual processing disorder may struggle with toys that require fine motor skills.