Visual Memory Problems
Eighty percent of what we learn is visual; so being able to visually picture and remember what we see is a necessary skill.
Visual memory is the ability to look at an object, create a mental image for that object, and hold that picture in your mind for later recall and use. If your visual processing system is functioning as it should, this process happens automatically and without extra effort. However, some people have a visual processing disorder or deficiency that effects their visual memory and can interfere with their ability to read and learn.
When a child learns to read,they are taught to look at a word, recognise letters and individual strings of letters as words, and then create mental images for the letters and words – each with its own unique shape to which they assign sounds and associate meaning. Then they hold those images in their mind to recall and retrieve for later use. This process happens continuously as a child learns.
When we read, we put words and phrases together with visual images to conceptualise meaning. Once the visual information is taken in through the eyes, the process of comprehension has only just begun. Next, the brain runs the information through the process of visual perception to extract the information and use it.
If we see pictures in our mind and form a clear mental image of what’s taking place in the text as we’re reading, it enables us to comprehend. Once the visual information is taken through the eyes, the process of comprehension has only just begun. Next, the brain runs information through the process of visual perception to extract the information and use it.
Visual memory is what enables a child to recognise and remember letters, words, and their meaning. Recognising, remembering, and applying information quickly and easily is critical for performance in reading comprehension, and the student must have a healthy visual memory for ease of comprehension.
Poor visual memory is also a common cause for letter reversals. A student with a visual memory problem will be more likely than his peers to continue reversing letters, such as b and d or p and q, because they may recall the shape but not the correct laterality or directionality.
Without well-developed visual memory skills children will struggle to learn. The good news is an individualised vision therapy programme can improve visual memory skills significantly. In vision therapy, children complete activities created to enhance their memory so they can recall the visual information they take in readily.
Do any of these sound familiar?
* Your child has studied for their spelling test. You drilled and quizzed them the night before, and they seemed to know their words; but their grade was much lower than you expected. They are generally a bright child, but their poor spelling is an ongoing challenge.
* Your child learned to read a new word on page 5 of their book; but by page 25, they do not even recognise the same word and struggles to read it all over again.
* Your child can’t seem to remember their own phone number or address. They forget details they have read and can’t recall the order of events. You’re frustrated that they keep forgetting things, and you’re starting to wonder if they are ignoring important information out of carelessness.
Each of these behaviours could possibly indicate that your child has a visual processing problem – specifically, a visual memory disorder.