Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Visual Processing Problems in 'Clumsy' Children

We hope this will be the decade that finally recognizes perceptual processing disorders in children. Perceptual processes underlie dyslexia (auditory and visual processing), auditory processing disorders (a major ADD Look-Alike), and now 'clumsy child'. In this Norwegian study, researchers discovered that 'clumsy' 8 year old children were not clumsy due to motor coordination problems, but due to undiagnosed visual closure difficulties. These are the kids who seem 'spacey' (visually disoriented) and disorganized, bump into things and trip.

The truth is, visual perceptual disorders are rarely specifically diagnosed in children. Why? Because it's just thought to be something they were 'born with'. Partial injury to the long visual pathway fibers that reach back to the back of the brain is usually what's responsible for these impairments. The kids at risk are those with some birth injury (though may be mild), prematurity, and maternal infection. Many children seem to misdiagnosed as 'mild autism' or Aspergers because of their poor eye contact and impaired social skills. It's hard to be social if you can't see properly and a little off-kilter.

Treatment for visual closure may involve a therapist and cognitive training to recognize salient visual features (for instance, edges, shape, color) to improve visual orientation and identification.

Visual Perceptual Problems in 'Clumsy' Children


  1. Anonymous10:22 PM

    Could visual processing problems be hereditary? I have 5 children, two of them with severe visual processing problems and 2 with very mild problems

  2. Visual processing problems often run in the family.