Visual Processing disorder, Visual Perception and Dyslexia

Visual processing refers to the ability to synthesise and analyse visually presented information accurately.

Visual processing refers to two different skills. Visual perception is how we interpret what we see which looks at the skills of visual spatial relations, visual closure, figure ground, and form constancy. Visual processing also includes the speed at how quickly the brain processes visual information.

Deficits in visual perception refers to a reduced 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 perception affect how visual information is interpreted or processed. A person with visual perception problems may have 20/20 vision but may have difficulties discriminating foreground from background, forms, size, and position in space.

The eyes look and the brain sees.

Visual perceptual difficulties, which are NOT related to the ability to see clearly, involve difficulties understanding visual information such as movement, spatial relationships, form, or direction. Visual processing difficulties, together with Central Auditory Processing Disorders, frequently result in dyslexia or poor academic performance.

School based occupational therapists use standardized assessments that can determine areas of visual perceptual difficulties.

Irlen Method Uses colored overlays and filters to help those with dyslexia and/or eye strain. Has research posted on their site. Centers have testing available.

NRSI colored overlays Learn how colored overlays may help those with dyslexia. This site explains how overlays may reduce eye strain and improve reading ability. This is a site that sells various colored overlays.

To learn more about the impact of visual processing disorder on learning visit:

Research and scholarly journal abstracts

Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario Information on processing speed and strategies for the classroom

ERIC Educational Resources Information Center
Bibliographic records of education literature, plus a growing collection of full text. Some examples of scholarly abstracts and articles available at ERIC are listed below.

Visual and Language Processing Deficits Are Concurrent in Dyslexia.
Slaghuis, Walter L.; Lovegrove, W. J.; Davidson, J. A.
Cortex: A Journal Devoted to the Study of the Nervous System and Behavior, Vol 29(4), Dec 1993, 601-615.
Explored the concurrence of visual and language processing deficits and their role in the genesis of dyslexia.

The Use of Coloured Overlays to Improve Visual Processing ‐ A Preliminary Survey
The Exceptional Child Volume 34, Issue 1, 1987
Gregory L. Robinson & James Miles
For subjects with high scotopic sensitivity, the use of optimal coloured overlays yielded significantly better results on some visual tasks than the other two overlays. Implications of these findings are discussed

Clever kids: A metacognitive and reciprocal teaching program to improve both word identification and comprehension for upper primary readers experiencing difficulty
Paper presented at the Annual European Conference on Reading (12th, Dublin, Ireland, July 1-4, 2001).
Gregory L. Robinson & Merle Bruce
Results indicated that a combination of metacognitive word identification strategies and reciprocal teaching of comprehension was clearly more effective than normal classroom word study and comprehension activities or reciprocal teaching of comprehension with traditional methods of word identification.