There are several diverging opinions on the relationship between visual perception and dyslexia. In some aspects, they seem to go hand in hand. However, they are diverse problems.
Visual perception involves your ability to decipher what is around you. The brain can analyze information that comes through the eyes.
Figure-ground: This perception is your capability to visually perceive and identify a form from other shapes or items.
Visual closure: This is the ability to envision a complete whole when you have incomplete information.
Visual discrimination: This is how you differentiate the dominant features in multiple similar forms.
Visual sequential memory - This is your ability to remember an arrangement in the order you saw them immediately.
Visual form constancy: This is the potential to recognize similar things even when they are in different places or sizes.
Visual-spatial relation: This is how you identify things based on where you are. It is how you can tell that one section of something is in a divergent direction from the rest.
These involve problems with processing the information you see. Among these is the inability to process the words you see when reading. With children, issues present as trouble making sense of the information coming through their eyes. Some visual perception issues include:
Poor spatial cognizance.
Confusing written symbols.
Inability to tell the difference between the shape, color, and size of forms.
Difficulty in judging distance.
A person suffering from visual perception issues may often bump into things. They have trouble writing within lines or spaces, lack interest in TV, confuse their left and right, and skip lines or words when reading. Because of sight problems, they may get lost frequently, reverse letters when writing, or be sloppy when performing tasks that require good vision.
Dyslexia is a learning problem that relates to reading. It affects the way your brain processes language. However, dyslexia is not a problem with sight. Children with this disorder struggle with sounding words and recognizing words they see. They may have difficulty isolating sounds, blending sounds into words, or matching sounds to letters. Apart from reading, dyslexia can also affect spelling, writing, and sometimes even speaking.
Someone with dyslexia will understand what you read to them better than what they read themselves. Such individuals may also have difficulty spelling, following directions, understanding what they are reading, and may not understand spoken language.
The ability to read entirely depends on your sight. However, visual impairments are not the only source of reading difficulties. To read, you need to view the material through the eyes and decode it in your brain. Various sections of your brain do specific tasks like programming eye movements, spatial attention, and processing language.
From the perspective of neuroscience, reading requires communication between parts of the brain that specialize in processing auditory, visual, and language information. A breakdown in any of these processes can result in reading problems. However, you can have dyslexia but have good visual perception.
For more on visual perception and dyslexia, visit Bernstein Center for Visual Performance at our office in White Plains, New York. You can also call (914) 682-8886 to book an appointment today.