Visual Information Processing refers to how we make use of available visual information. Good visual information processing means being able to quickly and accurately process and analyse what is being seen, and store it in visual memory for later recall.
Traditional eye tests cannot detect problems with visual skills, as they focus on the physical structure and the optics of the eyes (physiology), rather than looking at how the child is using and interpreting visual information. Our brain receives more than two thirds of its input from the eyes and these must also be combined with other senses and inputs to obtain a more holistic and thorough understanding.
An evaluation of these skills can identify relative strengths and weaknesses which support or interfere with the learning process.
The ability to see a clear, detailed image.
The ability to adjust the lens (inside the eye) in order to obtain or sustain a clear image.
The ability to maintain accurate eye coordination and single vision at different distances (near/far) and different directions of gaze (left/right/up/down).
The ability to accurately follow a moving target, and the ability to keep one’s place when reading.
The ability to understand and recognise visual information. These are the most basic visual abilities required for learning and reading.
Visual motor integration, often referred to as eye-hand coordination, is the general ability to coordinate visual information processing skills with motor skills. Early visually directed motor skills develop into the fine eye-hand coordination skills required to catch a ball, tie shoelaces, build with blocks, and hold a pencil to colour and write.Visual motor dysfunction can cause children to have difficulty copying written work accurately and efficiently, cutting, and drawing.
The ability to remember or form pictures in the mind. This is critical for sight word recognition when reading, and for abstract thinking and planning.
Spatial awareness is an ability to make judgments about the world in relation to ‘me’. It is learned from infancy and depends on past experience. Children develop an understanding of themselves as a point of reference for developing spatial concepts and making judgments of direction. This includes organizing one’s own space and “seeing the big picture.” These skills are critical in conceptual development, perceiving relationships between objects, and securing one’s personal relationship with the world around them.
Visual analysis skills are a group of abilities used to recognize, recall, and manipulate visual information. The ability to make accurate visual discriminations gradually emerges. What is the child’s ability at making judgments of size, shape, position, and distance? Can he or she remember what is seen and visualise objects in different spatial orientations? The ability to visually inspect detail and then to reproduce (copy) the form involves the use of visual analysi skills to plan the copy movements.
Visual analysis skills include: