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Visual Processing Disorder

What is a Visual Processing Disorder?

Visual Processing Disorder, or VPD, is a condition which affects the way someone sees the details of a subject. It is seen commonly in persons with learning disabilities which cause information to be received out of order, such as dysgraphia and dyslexia. Like APD, it originates in the way the brain interprets information. This can affect a child's drawing and copying abilities, and a sense of organization in adults.

What causes it?

The exact causes of this disorder are still not known. There are 8 types of VPD, with varying subjects which people are not able to interpret accurately. Research suggests that a low birth weight and having been born prematurely may play a part in causing this disorder. 

What is it not?

It must be made clear that VPD is not based on a failure of a child's eyes. The issue comes when the message is passed from the eyes to the brain. When the brain receives the signal, it can't completely understand what is being sent to it.

VPDs are not something that children can outgrow. This condition is a lifelong ailment and will always cause some level of difficulty while processing visual cues. This is a trait that it shares with Dyslexia, but it's important to note that these two conditions are not the same. Persons with Dyslexia have trouble distinguishing the sounds associated with letters and words, whereas VPDs cover issues understanding visual subjects in general.

Signs & Symptoms

Common indicators of VPD include.

  • Reversals and inversions of letters like b, d, u & n.

  • Issues cutting out and glueing during arts and craft.

  • Complaints of itchy eyes during reading.

  • Turns head when reading across a page.

  • Holds paper at odd angles.

  • Messy handwriting.

  • Finding a specific piece of information on a crowded page of information.

  • May also suffer from Dysgraphia, has issues with mathematical symbols.

  • Issues identifying colour differences.

  • Closes one eye while working, may close eye while reading.

  • Issues with visual memory.

Because Visual Processing Disorders can happen in persons with excellent eyesight, many persons are quick to dismiss them as imaginary issues. However, similarly to other learning disabilities and disorders, it must be both recognized and treated seriously.

Part of our mission at Spark is to teach new strategies for children who have VPD. Incorporating experimentation and visual cues for teaching increases the effectiveness of teaching a child with this disorder. 

If you or someone you know shows many of the symptoms above, then take our Preliminary Diagnosis below.

Contact An Expert


Natasha Gray

Natasha Gray, Founder of Spark Learning, is an Educational Consultant who specializes in Learning Disabilities (LD).

Schedule An Appointment

Full-Comprehensive Assessment. Ages : 7 to 16.
Full-Comprehensive Assessment
2 hr

Similar Disabilities

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APD causes a disconnect between the brain interprets sounds heard.

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Dyslexia makes it hard for persons to read, because they can't correctly interpret words.

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