Visual Processing Disorders and Occupational Therapy ?

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Visual Processing Disorders and Occupational Therapy ?

When you go to the eye doctor, the optometrist examines the health of the eye and its surrounding structures and assesses visual acuity, or how sharp your vision is. Neurodevelopmental optometrists and occupational therapists are trained to evaluate and treat visual processing disorders in order to identify the functional impairment (i.e., what is the visual processing disorder harming your ability to do?).

Visual processing is the term used for the way your brain receives and interprets the information seen by your eyes.  There are many facets of visual processing that are taken into consideration during the evaluation process.

  • Oculomotor Control:
    • Visual acuity
    • The ability to track an object
    • The way the eyes move in coordination with one another
    • The position of the eyes at rest and during head movements
    • Peripheral visual fields
  • Visual Discrimination: how well you can distinguish one object from a set of similar objects
    • Example: Finding a pen in a box of pencils
  • Visual Memory: how well you can quickly recall features of an object
    • Example: remembering the difference between “R” and “P” when learning handwriting
  • Spatial Relationships: the ability to distinguish positions of objects in relation to one another
    • Example: may have difficulty navigating new environments; may be clumsy or fall often
  • Form Constancy: the ability to recognize an object, regardless of its context
    • Example: understanding that metal spoons and plastic spoons are both spoons used for eating
  • Visual Sequential Memory: the ability to recognize a set of objects in a sequence
    • Example: remembering a phone number or grocery list
  • Figure Ground: how well you can distinguish an object from its background
    • Example: the ability to find your car in a parking lot filled with other cars
  • Visual Closure: the ability to complete a visual picture when part of the object is hidden
    • Example: recognizing a baseball bat when only the handle is shown

A child with a visual processing disorder may have difficulty in his or her daily routine. Because vision is used in conjunction with our movements, the eye-hand coordination may be impacted by a problem with visual processing. This can affect a child’s handwriting, ability to kick or catch a ball, and possibly dress him or herself. If you suspect your child may benefit from occupational therapy services to address these skills, please call Innovative Speech and Language Pathology at (310) 933-1265 or send us an email at for a free consultation at our Beverly Hills clinic.


Katherine Walczuk, MA, OTR/L

Occupational Therapist 

Source: Our Blog