Visual processing disorders occur when the brain has trouble making sense of the visual input it receives. They are distinct from visual impairment in that there is no blindness or issue with the functioning of the eyes. A child may have 20/20 vision and pass a sight test with flying colours but still be unable to distinguish between two objects or make sense of the symbols on a page.
Difficulties can manifest in a number of ways and no two children will face the same challenges. Some may have trouble judging distances, whereas others will struggle with the ability to assess colour, size and orientation.
Spatial processing and coordination can be problematic and a child might easily become lost and disorientated or struggle with fine and gross motor skills. While not classed as learning difficulties, visual processing disorders can be mistaken for dyspraxia, dysgraphia, ADHD and dyslexia.
They can also co-present with a specific learning difficulty and have a negative impact on a child’s self-esteem, confidence and performance at school.