How to Support Visual Discrimination Disorder

Visual discrimination disorder affects one’s ability to process visual information, such as brightness, distance, shape, or size. It is one of the eight subtypes of Sensory Discrimination Disorder (SDD) and one of many manifestations of Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). Learn more about SPD and its subtypes here.

See below for some ways to identify and support discrimination challenges.

Those with Visual Discrimination Disorder May:

  • Have difficulty distinguishing between letters, numbers, and symbols.
  • Be slow to recognize characteristics of objects, such as size, shape, or color.
  • Be unable to judge the distance between people and other objects.
  • Have difficulty reading the facial expressions and emotional cues of others.

How to Support Visual Discrimination Disorder:

  • Label or color-code similar objects, such as books or study materials, and keep them in a designated place.
  • Play outdoor games, such as catch or soccer, to practice coordination and gauging the distance between people and objects.
  • Play games to practice grouping like items together. (“Can you find everything in the room that is a circle? Every picture in the book that is related to sports or food?”)
  • Play games to practice distinguishing between numbers, letters, and symbols. (“d and b, 5 and S, S and $—are these the same or different?”)
  • Assign chores that have a large visual component, such as matching socks, putting away silverware, or sweeping the floor.

Keep in mind that no two children are exactly alike, and most people exhibit both seeking and avoiding behaviors from time to time. If you think your child might be suffering from sensory processing issues, you should seek a professional assessment. The STAR Institute’s Treatment Directory is a great resource that can help you find therapists, doctors, and community resources in your area.

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