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Visual Processing Disorders


The National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD) defines Visual Processing Disorders as follows: 

“A visual processing, or perceptual, disorder refers to a hindered ability to make sense of information taken in through the eyes. This is different from problems involving sight or sharpness of vision. Difficulties with visual processing affect how visual information is interpreted or processed by the brain.”

The following resources related to visual processing disorders may be helpful to professionals, families, and students.

National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD)
NCLD’s mission is to ensure success for all individuals with learning disabilities in school, at work and in life. The organization strives to
-  Connect parents and others with resources, guidance and support so they can advocate effectively for their children.
-  Deliver evidence-based tools, resources and professional development to educators to improve student outcomes.
-  Develop policies and engage advocates to strengthen educational rights and opportunities.

The NCLD’s website has the following web pages regarding visual processing disorders:

Visual Processing Disorders by Age Group
This web page includes a bulleted list of Basics you should know about visual processing disorders and a description of the common difficulties, accommodations, and modification strategies for three age groups (early childhood, school-age children, and teenagers and adults).

Visual Processing Disorders in Detail
This web page includes descriptions, difficulties observed, and helpful strategies for the visual processing disorders of Visual Discrimination, Visual Figure-Ground Discrimination, Visual Sequencing, Visual Motor Processing, Visual Memory, Visual Closure, and Spatial Relationships.

LD OnLine
LD OnLine seeks to help children and adults reach their full potential by providing accurate and up-to-date information and advice about learning disabilities and ADHD. The website features informational articles, multimedia, monthly columns by noted experts, first person essays, children’s writing and artwork, a comprehensive resource guide, active forums, and a Yellow Pages referral directory of professionals, schools, and products. One of the articles posted on the website is written by the National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD is listed above) and provides information regarding Visual and Auditory Processing Disorders: provides information to parents to help support their children from kindergarten readiness through college preparation. It offers educational activities (some can be printed); access to a wide-range of articles; videos on a variety of topics (e.g. parenting, and step-by-step activity instruction); opportunities for parents to connect with each other and experts in the field; information on preschools, K-12 schools, and institutes of higher education; and an A-Z library. The website also has a page which lists a variety of resources related to visual processing disorders: Two of the resources are excerpts from books: Visual-Processing Difficulties: Typical Reading and Spelling Patterns; and Visual-Based Deficits.

Visual Motor Integration
The Sensory Systems Clinic provides the following definitions of Visual Motor Integration:
Visual motor integration is the ability to smoothly coordinate the movement of the eyes with each other, the head, neck, hands and body.
Eyes: Difficulty coordinating the eyes is observed while the individual is following a slowly moving object. An infant may have eyes that just do not move well together; jerking or avoidance may be seen. If this happens for an older child while reading, the words may appear to jump around the page. Fatigue and concentration problems often result. A sign of avoidance may be someone who is irritated or shows an increased amount of activity around blinking or bright lights.
Eye, Neck and Head Integration: If the head, neck and eyes don’t move together well, this contributes to an unsteady head. This has much to do with forming our idea about where we are in space and can also contribute to reading problems. This will also cause complaints of being tired while reading.
Eye and Hand Coordination: Sometimes the eyes have a difficult time directing the hands where to go. This may result in poor eye hand coordination. Coloring, handwriting or other tasks requiring the eyes to direct the hands may be affected.
Eye and Body Movement: How our body moves in space is directed by our eyes. A visual motor problem may be suspected in the individual who bumps into things frequently when walking.

TheApple—“Where Teachers Meet and Learn”
TheApple website brings members of the education community together to support and advance the profession. One of the articles posted on TheApple is 10 Strategies for Visual-Motor Integration Problems by Dr. Rebecca Bell: The article provides basic information for teachers and parents to support children who struggle with visual-motor integration.

Chappaqua Central School District Occupational Therapy Website
The purpose of this website is to provide answers to frequently asked questions regarding occupational therapy, definitions of important terms, and student activity suggestions for home and school.  The following section of the website offers suggestions for various visual-motor activities:

See also, “Visual Impairments” in the A-Z Library.



The development of this website was funded by the University of South Florida St. Petersburg
through a grant by the Bureau of Exceptional Education and Student Services,
Florida Department of Education (2010 - 2011, 291-2621A-1C008).

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