Monday, February 15, 2010

Interventions for Visual Processing Disorder

Interventions for visual processing disorders need to be aimed at the specific needs of the child. No two children share the same set of strengths or areas of weakness. Interventions need to be tried until by trial and error you find what works. Intervention is a dynamic and ever changing process.

Although this may sound overwhelming initially, it is important to remember that the process of finding successful interventions becomes easier with time and as the child's learning approach, style, and abilities are more carefully observed.


The very best strategies are those that the child chooses for himself. Take note of where the child places his book to read, if it is not straight in front of him or is tilted at an angle, take this as a sign that he is having difficulty, and leave the book where he places it.

Very often teachers and parents fret over what to do next. It is heartily recommended that you consult with the child. The child knows best what he is experiencing, and can figure ways to modify the situation for himself. Offer him work with two sizes of print. Ask him which he prefers.

Sometimes color plays a role in vision, ask him if he likes his work on light blue or cream colored paper. He may need help finding the things that he thinks might work. That is where the adult comes in. Helping him to modify his world so that he can deal effectively with it until you are able to get a thorough visual examination will pay big benefits immediately. When you find out exactly what the problem is you will be better able to find an intervention that works.

The Golden Rule

The golden rule for children with visual processing disorders is to give them lots of breaks. Never allow them to become overly fatigued from visual tasks. Fatigue will bring about an immediate change in behavior, and can do further damage to an already immature visual system.

In some cases, the ability to stay visually focused can be as short as two minutes in younger children, and up to ten minutes or fifteen minutes in older children. Carefully observe the time the child is able to stay focused and break things down into little chucks that they can complete in that amount of time (do two math problems instead of five). This is also a good idea when assigning or doing homework.

During breaks see that they do something physical like walking around the room or going to the pencil sharpener. Ever wonder why kids sharpen their pencils so much? They are giving themselves a time out!

Plan meaningful activities for them to do during these very necessary breaks. If they have artistic talent, plan a mural. Every child has something that they do well. Find that strength and keep them busy doing it. Keep visual tasks to a minimum. Put their books on tape and let them listen to a book.

The objective is to make learning pleasant and prevent damage to the child’s self-concept. The damage to the psyche of learning handicapped children is immeasurable and can last a life time. Protect the child from failure.

Extensive insights and strategies for the development of an appropriate individualized education plan (IEP)) for children with visual processing difficulties are outlined in Chapter XIV of Learning Disabilities Understanding The Problem Managing the Challenges.


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