Visual Dyslexia is a condition in which visual processing interferes with reading. Data shows that the majority of those with other forms of dyslexia may also have weaknesses in the visual processing skills. Because many of the visual processing skills are easier to strengthen it is often better to start any remediation program with visual processing remediation.
Note: To clear some possible confusion. When we are talking about the visual skills we are not talking about vision. We are talking about visual processing. That is completely different from how well we see.
Visual skills come in two flavors.
- Those that have to do with how the eyes function
- Those that have to do with how the brain processes or remembers visual information
For reading, one of the functional visual skills that is most important is visual tracking. This skill gives us the ability to track a line on the page. Obviously this is important for reading. It’s actually important for math too.
Without it letters may seem to jump. Or there will be a lot of effort needed to stabilize things. This puts a load on the brain. Taking valuable processing power away from other necessary skills.
But before getting into visual tracking exercises I always recommend starting with just stabilizing the head and eyes in relation to the body. There are exercises derived from Kung Fu for this. It’s necessary for the awareness needed. They are quite basic but It’s still amazing how many people have difficulty with this. What’s also amazing is that after that stabilization occurs, focus almost always improves. This is because without this stabilization the signals from the eyes to the brain are difficult to process. They are just to scattered.
In some cases just getting eye stabilization and visual tracking is enough. That’s what happened with Kim Scott’s boys. You can find her on our testimonials page
Visual Processing Skills
There are other components to the functional part of visual micro-skills. All of them are fairly easy to correct. We provide step by step instructions for each in the Learning Success System.
Visual processing would include two categories. The way we interpret visual signals and the way we remember and manipulate them in our mind. Each is important.
The interpretation skills are visual discrimination and visual closure. Each of these speeds up mental processing when reading. They are shortcuts that the mind uses.
Visual Discrimination - Our skills at quickly knowing the difference between similar things. Such as similar letters. When this skill is strong we don’t have to struggle with processing each word. It becomes automatic.
Visual Closure - This is the ability to know what something is even if the whole thing is not there. We fill in the missing parts. This is also an efficiency tool of the brain. It increases reading speed because we don’t spend as much time identifying letters or words.
The other visual skills have more to do with imagination and working memory. Essentially these are our skills to think in pictures. These are necessary for reading comprehension.
They are visual memory and visual memory manipulation.
Visual memory - The ability to bring to memory things we have seen or imagined. There can be no reading comprehension without this because it is too difficult to associate the words with meaning.
Visual memory manipulation - The ability to manipulate things in the mind. Also necessary for reading comprehension because this is the skill of putting things together in our mind.
The Five Visual Processing Skills
Together these make up the five visual micro-skills. Each is essential for reading and all learning.
And here’s something very telling. Our research shows that the majority of children that are having difficulty reading will have a problem in this area. Even those that have been diagnosed with an auditory processing problem as the root of the problem.
So even if auditory processing is the main problem its still best to start with the visual micro-skills. They can be the fastest to see a change with. And because you know how important an early win is you know how important that is.
Plus, if you improve the visual processing skills you take the load off and leave more brain power for the auditory skills. This will help improve those faster. So definitely a win win.
If you want a step by step way of doing this its all laid out in the Learning Success System
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