Guide Visual Perception Problems in Children With AD/HD, Autism, And Other Learning Disabilities

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Visual Perception Problems in Children with AD/HD, Autism, and Other Learning Disabilities by Lisa A. Kurtz, , available at Book Depository.
Table of contents

This volume is compact in size, but abundant in resources. August 7, Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The author of this book provided free copies of the book to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer.

Is It Sensory Processing Disorder or ADHD?

No fee was paid by the author for this review. Foreword Reviews only recommends books that we love. Foreword Magazine, Inc. Each of the approaches used have individually been shown to be effective in significantly improving symptoms of dyslexia and learning difficulties in a number of well-designed controlled studies.

Neurotherapy and nutritional supplementation are discussed elsewhere on this web site. On this page of the web site we concentrate on the visual difficulties associated with dyslexia and Learning Difficulties. There are also associated Phonetic or Auditory Processing Difficulties which are discussed on the Central Auditory Processing Disorder page of this web site. The nerve endings rods and cones at the back of the retina relay visual information to the lateral geniculate body of the Thalamus. These visual signals are processed by two specialised types of cells:.

Considerable research indicates that in Dyslexia these cell bodies may not differentiate their functions adequately.

Visual perception problems in children with AD/HD, autism,

Consequently Dyslexics may have a range of visual dysfunctions and overlapping of functions between these two pathways. There is growing evidence that dysfunction in parvocellular and Magnocellular pathways are responsible for Visual Motion Detection Difficulties in Dyslexics and some forms of Learning Difficulties. Visual processing disorders, 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 disorders, together with Central Auditory Processing Disorders, frequently result in dyslexia or poor academic performance.

A number of other visual processing difficulties can also cause the child to experience Learning Difficulties, which must be appropriately investigated and identified. Unless redressed, the child is likely to appear bored with school and may even refuse to even try to tackle school or homework, an fall further and further behind on the school curriculum.

Difficulties in visual closure can be seen in such school activities as when the young child is asked to identify, or complete a drawing of a human face. This difficulty can be so extreme that even a single missing facial feature a nose, eye, mouth could render the face unrecognisable by the child.

The ability to perceive the location of objects in relationship to other objects is a critical skill in reading, math and handwriting, where a child must be able to recognise the different symbols, perceive their direction, tell the difference between similar shapes and determine where these are located in relationship to each other. Individuals who have difficulty with spatial relationships may seem unusually clumsy or accident prone may have difficulty reading or may refuse to read, or may have poor handwriting dysgraphia.

Whether it is the differentiation of the shape of a circle from a square or the letter b from d, the ability to perceive the shapes of objects and pictures is an important skill for the developing child to acquire. There is hardly an academic activity that does not require the child to engage in form discrimination. The most obvious classroom activity requiring the child to discriminate forms is that of reading.

The learning of the letters of the alphabet, syllables, and words will undoubtedly be impeded if there is difficulty in perceiving the form of the letters, syllables, and words. Visual discrimination allows us to tell the difference between similar objects, tell where one object ends and another begins, and to recognise objects and symbols when only part of it can be seen or when it is fuzzy.

Individuals who have visual discrimination disorders often mix up letters or numbers and have difficulty reading or scanning pictures for information. In creating artwork or looking at pictures, the "part perceivers" often pay great attention to details, but lack the ability to see the relationship between the details. As with all abilities and disabilities, there is a wide range in the functioning of different children. A common area of difficulty is visual motor integration. This is the ability to use visual cues sight to guide the child's movements.

This refers to both gross motor and fine motor tasks. Often children with difficulty in this area have a tough time orienting themselves in space, especially in relation to other people and objects. These are the children who are often called "clumsy" because they bump into things, place things on the edges of tables or counters where they fall off, "miss" their seats when they sit down, etc.

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This can interfere with virtually all areas of the child's life: social, academic, athletic, pragmatic. Difficulty with fine motor integration effects a child's writing, organization on paper, and ability to transition between a worksheet or keyboard and other necessary information which is in a book, on a number line, graph, chart, or computer screen. First, a few words about interventions in general.

Interventions need to be aimed at the specific needs of the child. No two children share the same set of strengths or areas of weaknesses. An effective intervention is one that utilizes a child's strengths in order to build on the specific areas in need of development. As such, interventions need to be viewed as a dynamic and ever changing process. Although this may sound overwhelming initially, it is important to remember that the process of finding successful interventions becomes easier with time and as the child's learning approach, style, and abilities become more easily seen.

The following examples provide some ideas regarding a specific disability.

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It is only a beginning which is meant to encourage further thinking and development of specific interventions and intervention strategies. The following represent a number of common interventions and accommodations used with children in their regular classroom:. Enlarged print for books, papers, worksheets or other materials which the child is expected to use can often make tasks much more manageable.


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Some books and other materials are commercially available; other materials will need to be enlarged using a photocopier or computer, when possible. There are a number of ways to help a child keep focused and not become overwhelmed when using painted information. For many children, a "window" made from cutting a rectangle in an index card helps keep the relevant numbers, words, sentences, etc. As the child's tracking improves, the prompt can be reduced.

For example, after a period of time, one might replace the "window" with a ruler or other straightedge, thus increasing the task demands while still providing additional structure. This can be done in a number of ways. For example, lines can be made darker and more distinct.

Paper with raised lines to provide kinesthetic feedback is available. Worksheets can be simplified in their structure and the amount of material which is contained per worksheet can be controlled. Using paper which is divided into large and distinct sections can often help with math problems.

In addition, the teacher can help by ensuring the child is never relying solely on an area of weakness, unless that is the specific purpose of the activity. An auditory processing disorder interferes with an individual's ability to analyze or make sense of information taken in through the ears. This is different from problems involving hearing per se, such as deafness or being hard of hearing.

Difficulties with auditory processing do not affect what is heard by the ear, but do affect how this information is interpreted, or processed by the brain. An auditory processing deficit can interfere directly with speech and language, but can affect all areas of learning, especially reading and spelling.

Visual Perception Problems in Children with ADHD, Autism, etc.

When instruction in school relies primarily on spoken language, the individual with an auditory processing disorder may have serious difficulty understanding the lesson or the directions. Phonological awareness is the understanding that language is made up of individual sounds phonemes which are put together to form the words we write and speak.


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  • This is a fundamental precursor to reading. Children who have difficulty with phonological awareness will often be unable to recognize or isolate the individual sounds in a word, recognize similarities between words as in rhyming words , or be able to identify the number of sounds in a word. These deficits can affect all areas of language including reading, writing, and understanding of spoken language. Though phonological awareness develops naturally in most children, the necessary knowledge and skills can be taught through direct instruction for those who have difficulty in this area.

    Auditory discrimination is the ability to recognize differences in phonemes sounds. This includes the ability to identify words and sounds that are similar and those which are different. Auditory memory is the ability to store and recall information which was given verbally. An individual with difficulties in this area may not be able to follow instructions given verbally or may have trouble recalling information from a story read aloud.