How to Help Students with Visual Processing Problems

Posted by Erica Warren on

Visual processing is one of many complex cognitive tasks that allows us to make sense of images we perceive through our eyes. Although it appears to be an effortless process, it requires a number of different skills that work in tandem. 

visual processing problems

How is Vision and Visual Processing Different?

Many people think that vision and visual processing are one in the same thing.   However, they are two distinct skills that take place in different parts of the brain.  
  • Vision, or the ability to see, happens with light passing through the cornea and the lens of the eye producing an image of the visual world on the retina.  That information then travels into the brain through the optic nerve for processing.
  • Visual processing or the ability to make sense of what we see, travels through the lateral geniculate nucleus of the thalamus to the primary visual cortex. Although we don't know for sure, studies suggest that visual information goes through at least three processing systems that detect the shape, color, movement, location, and spatial orientation.

How Can I Learn more about Visual Processing and Its Impact on Learning?

I offer a workshop that is available HERE. You can find this and all my other presentations, HERE.  To go directly to the Visual Processing Workshop click on the image below.
visual processing work

What are the Different Visual Processing Skills that Can be Strengthened?

All of the following visual processing skills will be reviewed in the workshop, but I wanted to share a quick list for your reference.
  • Visual Discrimination - the ability to tell the difference between images that are similar but not the same.
  • Visual Directionality - the ability to discriminate between left and right and objects or images that are facing left or right.
  • Visual Memory - the ability to remember what one has seen.
  • Visual Sequencing - the ability to remember the order of a series of visual stimuli.
  • Visual Closure - the ability to understand images when some parts of the image are missing.
  • Visual Reasoning - the ability to analyze visual information and find meaning.
  • Visual Synthesis - the ability to assemble visual parts or pieces into a whole.
  • Visual-Spatial - the ability to make sense of visual information in space and the orientation of the objects in that space.
  • Visual Figure-Ground - the ability to find or detect an image when there are many overlapping images within the visual field.
  • Visual-Motor - the ability to make fine and accurate motor responses such as tying one's shoe or one's handwriting skills.

How Can I Strengthen Weak Visual Processing Skills?

  • Many educational therapists, occupational therapists as well as some vision therapists offer exercises to improve these vital skills.  
  • You can also find some free ideas at
  • I just finished a series of visual processing online activities. !! Click HERE or on the image below to learn more.
  • Try my workbooks: CLICK HERE
visual processing pubs
As you can see, making sense of the world around us is a complex visual processing task.  I hope you found the blog helpful.

Cheers, Dr. Erica Warren

Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator, and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning. She is also the director of Learning to LearnLearning Specialist Courses, and My Memory Mentor.
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