There are some specific required visual skills that one must have in order to have effective reading and learning abilities. With proper diagnostics, a visual learning obstacle, in most cases, can easily be transformed by working on a specific task to improve the specific functionality that the brain employs to perform a task. This article is the first in a two-part series that talks about the visual process that occurs while one is learning and identifies some physical symptoms that can pinpoint where there may be some learning obstacles.

Visual Focusing is our ability to keep clarity when reading material at a close distance and then, shifting and reading material from a distance. For example, reading a document that is being held, then looking up and copying information from a distance to a piece of paper on a desk, a situation a student or worker could find themselves in quite frequently. If there are visual focusing difficulties, a student or worker can find it difficult to keep up while writing down pertinent information that may be necessary for future studies or projects. Some possible physical symptoms of a Visual Focusing problem would be; headaches; eye discomfort and pain; squinting; blurry vision; difficulty in having clear vision when changing from close work to distance work.

Binocular Work or Eye Teaming is the ability to aim both eyes at an object or written material. If someone has difficulty focusing both eyes on an object, the processing speed slows down and they can miss important information. Serious eye conditions, such as Amblyopia (Lazy Eye) or Strabismus (Eye Turn) can, in some cases, be the result of poor eye teaming skills. In the case of poor eye teaming skills, techniques can be used to strengthen them and help alleviate these conditions. Some possible physical symptoms of an Eye Teaming problem are; double vision; closing or covering one eye while reading or viewing an object; tilting or turning the head while reading or viewing an object; headaches; eye pain and discomfort; an eye that wanders or an eye that turns in or out; poor depth perception; accidentally knocking objects over and bumping into things frequently.

Visual Perception is how our brain processes visual information received by the eyes. There are a variety of areas that affect our visual perception. Visual Figure-Ground is when a person identifies a visual form and locates it amid a distracting background. Visual Form Constancy is the ability to see an object that has been rotated in space. Visual Matching is where we can choose one object that is the same as another. Visual Memory is remembering what you have visually seen. Visual Sequencing is the ability to recall the order of what you have visually seen. Visual Spatial Relationships is seeing how two or more objects relate to each other. If there are difficulties in any of these areas, the learning process is slowed down and important information can be missed. Possible physical symptoms of a Visual Perception problem are: left-right confusion; difficulty in describing similarities and differences; poor judgment of distances, sizes, and spacing.

- Claudette Anderson of Prescription for Success - Learning Center (02/23/2009)

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