Processing Disabilities

All learning disabilities are neurobiological processing problems. These processing issues can interfere with learning basic skills, such as reading, spelling, writing, and/or math. Processing problems can also impact higher-level cognitive skills, such as organization, time management, abstract reasoning, and memory. These are life-long conditions, so it is important to understand that they too can impact an individual’s self-esteem and social and emotional development.


Processing areas that are often assessed include:


Visual Processing (how we use information from the eyes). Various types:

  • Visual-motor integration (affects writing in lines; handwriting; copying)
  • Visual discrimination (affects seeing the difference between similar letters, numbers, and shapes, like b/d, p/q)
  • Visual form constancy (words have a specific form; if a student does not have visual form constancy, then every time sees a word, it is a NEW word that must be processed)
  • Visual sequencing (i.e., trouble distinguishing order of symbols or words; often seen in students with dysgraphia, leading to mixing up letters when spelling; may also cause skipping lines when reading)
  • Visual memory (i.e., trouble recalling what letters or words look like; trouble with sight word reading and spelling)
  • Visual spatial processing (i.e., often seen in dysgraphia, affects spacing words and maintaining correct letter formation)


Auditory Processing (ability of brain to translate auditory information into meaningful language)

  • Phonological processing: the ability to hear the individual sounds in words. This is at the heart of reading. It requires many different skills including:
    • Segmenting (breaking down the sounds and syllables in words);
    • Blending (individual phonemes ‘c’, ‘a’, and ‘t’ are blended to form “cat”)
    • Discriminating (recognizing differences in sounds)
    • Sequencing (remembering the order of items in a list or the order of sounds in a word)


If you think your child may have a processing or learning disability, do not wait! Schedule a consultation to discuss your concerns and determine if testing is warranted.

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