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Visual Processing Disorder

Rogers Bridge » Visual Processing Disorder

Visual Processing Disorder, also called visual motor deficit or visual perception deficit, refers to a person’s ability to make sense of information that is taken through the eyes. Deficits in this area can impact how visual information is processed by the brain. Difficulties with visual motor skills may include slow reading, difficulty copying shapes, poor handwriting skills, difficulty finding information on a page, or being unable to complete puzzles.

This disorder is commonly mistaken for other disorders including dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyspraxia, and ADHD.

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Signs of Visual Processing Disorder

  1. Visual Discrimination
    Visual discrimination issues impact a person’s ability to determine the difference between similar looking letters, words, shapes, or objects. This may cause delays in reading fluency which can impact a person’s ability to comprehend what they have read.

  2. Visual Figure-Ground Discrimination
    Visual figure-ground discrimination describes a person’s ability to locate an object, form, or word within a busy field. This may describe a picture scene or a text with small print. They may have difficulty concentrating and be easily distracted during these activities.

  3. Visual Sequencing
    Visual sequencing impacts a person’s ability to recall the order of letters, symbols, words, or pictures. A person may have difficulty reading words in order, misreading letters or numbers, remembering sight words or skipping lines during text when reading. They may also have difficulty organizing, solving and aligning numbers in math problems.

  4. Visual-Motor Processing
    Individuals with visual-motor processing may have deficits using what they see with the eyes to coordinate with the way they move with other body parts. For example, knowing when to swing the bat after a pitcher throws the ball. These deficits can lead to difficulty copying information from the white board onto paper or a person may bump into objects while walking.

  5. Long or Short Term Visual Memory
    Long or short term visual memory is the ability to remember shapes, symbols, or objects a person has seen previously. Short term visual memory is the ability to recall something seen within a very short period of time and with little distraction or interference. Long term visual memory is the ability to recall something seen some time ago. This includes a person’s ability to copy information involving reading and spelling. A person may have difficulty with reading comprehension or performing well on tests.

  6. Visual Spatial 
    Visual Spatial is the ability to understand where objects are in space such as “near” and “far.” A person may have issues knowing how close an object is to one another. This leads to difficulty identifying position in space, both of oneself as well as other objects. An individual may have difficulty writing or coloring inside the lines, spacing letters and words on a page when writing, judging time, or reading maps.

  7. Visual Closure
    Visual closure is the ability to identify objects when only parts of it are showing. Individuals with this deficit may have difficulty identifying “part” versus “whole.” This can have a tremendous impact on spelling as it is difficult to recognize a word if a letter is missing.

  8. Letter and Number Reversals
    Letter and number reversals are when individuals switch numbers or letters when writing. This leads to difficulty in reading and math such as identifying different patterns and perceiving differences between similar letters or words. They may make many mistakes often such as “b” for “d” or “w” for “m”.


Does your child demonstrate any of these signs?
We're happy to provide more insights. Reach out to us to learn more.


We would love to talk with you about how fine motor delays may be impacting your child. Our occupational therapists can help children improve their sensory processing. Call or email/contact us to discuss your child and how occupational therapy could benefit them.

The first step is an easy conversation about your child's needs.

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