What is a Visual Processing Disorder and What are the Signs?

Visual processing disorder (VPD) is a condition that can cause problems with how your child's brain processes visual information. Your child might pass their vision test since their eyes are fine. But, the issue is actually the way their brain handles the visual information. Your child won't "outgrow" VPD, but there are things you can do to help them cope with the struggles of having the condition.

It isn't clear exactly how many children have visual processing problems. But the symptoms tend to occur among children with learning problems, including dyslexia, a common learning problem.

Signs of a Visual Processing Disorder

There are a number of different types of VPD with various symptoms. Signs you might notice are your child may:

  • Have challenges with reading.
  • Have difficulties memorizing sight words and sounding out written words.
  • Avoid reading aloud.
  • Not understand what they read.
  • Have difficulties with spelling, possibly reversing letters, leaving out letters or confusing the order of letters.
  • Have difficulty following a sequence of directions.
  • Lack of interest in TV or movies.
  • Have difficulty with grammar.
  • Understand text you read to them better than text they read to themselves.
  • Not always understand the meaning of spoken language.
  • Often ignore function signs in math.
  • Not know their left from their right.
  • Become distracted over a lot of visual information.
  • Frequently bump into things.
  • Frequently get lost.
  • Often ignore function signs in math.
  • Have trouble writing within margins or lines and spacing words.
  • Write letters backwards or reverse letters.
  • Perform sloppy visual task jobs like sorting socks or sweeping the floor.

If you think your child may have a visual processing disorder and lack visual perception skills, there are many ways you can help. Helping them cope will take a lot of work and patience though. You can talk with a pediatric occupational therapist about how to work with your child.

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