Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Learning Skills 101 – Visual Processing

Learning Skills 101 – Visual Processing

To Review:
So far, we have been discussing what learning skills are and how they impact a student on a daily basis. If you recall, we stated that learning skills are the underlying mental skills formally known as attention, visual/auditory processing, memory, processing, word attack and auditory analysis. Most of our children experience these skills through reading, writing, spelling, paying attention, remembering, recalling and how quick we can respond to a request.

Over the last few weeks, we have been discussing our learning skills. Selective, Sustained and Divided Attention, and Working Memory, Processing Speed and included Visual and Auditory Processing. Without these cognitive skills as strengths, the student has great difficulty within the classroom and in his life. Last week we tried an exercise from Unlock the Einstein Inside: Applying New Brain Science to Wake Up the Smart In Your Child. Dr. Gibson is the creator of Processing and Cognitive Enhancement (PACE) and Master the Code (MTC).


This week we will discuss visual processing in a bit more detail. Visual processing relates to the brain’s processing to make sense of information taken in through the eyes. This is different from the mechanics of the eye that would lead to glasses. Visual Processing issues usually impact a child so they will find anything requiring spatial relations (keep in the lines, ordering the math problems on a paper within the space, not bumping into objects when they walk, etc.) a big challenge.

Reading and math are two subjects where accurate perception and understanding of visual processing is important. For example, spatial relationships are very important. Both Math and Reading rely heavily on the use of symbols I Most students I work with have this area impacted to a point. Some students are more severe than others. Visual processing issues will impact the child’s reading ability and thus academics. Math and Reading are the two subjects that are directly impacted.

Examples of how difficulty with visual processing could pose a challenge would be discerning between the many symbols within both subjects. Within reading, words must be perceived as separate units, directionality in reading left to right, similarly shaped letters of “b”, “d”, “q” and “p”. The importance of being able to perceive objects in relation to other objects is often seen in math problems. To be successful, the person must be able to associate that certain digits go together to make a single number (14), that others are single digit numbers, that the operational signs (+,x,=) are distinct from the numbers, but demonstrate a relationship between them. The only cues to such math problems are the spacing and order between the symbols (LD Online, 2008). Additionally, just being able to space and shape the flow of the equations to the space on the paper can be a challenge for students where they require graph paper to complete the work.

When you have visual processing difficulties, visual motor integration is often a spillover effect. This is the ability to use visual cues (sight) to guide the child's movements (LD Online, 2008). This refers to both gross motor and fine motor tasks. Often children with difficulty in this area have a tough time orienting themselves in space, especially in relation to other people and objects. These are the children who are often called "clumsy" because they bump into things, place things on the edges of tables or counters where they fall off, "miss" their seats when they sit down, etc. This can interfere with virtually all areas of the child's life: social, academic, athletic, pragmatic. Difficulty with fine motor integration effects a child's writing, organization on paper, and ability to transition between a worksheet or keyboard and other necessary information which is in a book, on a number line, graph, chart, or computer screen.

A funny story with visual processing weaknesses goes back to when I became certified and licensed in Processing and Cognitive Enhancement (PACE). First, I have to give you the background to the story. When I arrived in Colorado Springs for my week of training, I admit that I was probably the biggest doubting Thomas in the room. I came to Colorado because I wanted help for my children, especially Shannon who sustained cognitive injury from her autoimmune disorder. The Gibson Family, creators of PACE and MTC, picked up on my doubts. Perhaps it was because all I kept asking was “where’s the data?”, “Where’s the Research?” Read More

Parents: If your child is having difficulty with reading and comprehension or learning in general, there is a solution. ELSK provides research based programs that provide measurable results in as little as 12-24 weeks. Studies on the incredible results are available for your viewing. I provide services for children with learning challenges and specialize in students with reading and comprehension challenges. Your child will enjoy learning with much less effort. Go to my website today for more information.

Colleen Bain has been awarded Professional of Year 2009 by Cambridge Who's Who for her work within Special Education. She has a Masters in Special Education. She is licensed in the state of New Jersey in both elementary and children with disabilities. Colleen has been married for 16 years and has been blessed with two children with special needs. She has over eleven years of experience with special needs and over 20 years business experience. As the owner of Enhanced Learning Skills for Kids, Colleen provides intensive one-on-one cognitive training to individuals ages 8 and older to strengthen all of their learning skills. She specializing in children with reading and comprehension challenges.

No comments: