Thanks to our colleague Dr. Dan Fortenbacher for pointing me in the direction of an intriguing article published 27 October 2015 in the Educational Psychology section of the journal Frontiers in Psychology. The article is part of the research topic Phonological and visual processing, reading and writing skills in children with dyslexia and ADHD. This original research article by Kibby and colleagues at the Department of Psychology and Center for Integrated Research in Cognitive and Neural Sciences of Southern Illinois University, titled Visual processing in reading disorders and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and its contribution to basic reading ability, was funded in part through grants from the NIH (National Institutes of Health) and NICHD (National Institute of Child Health and Human Development).
The visual processing test used in this study was the TVPS-R (Test of Visual Perceptual Skills – Revised), and the three sections utilized were Visual Discrimination, Visual Memory, and Visual Sequential Memory. Here is a key figure from the paper:
This bar graph shows the TVPS-R marginal means for each group adjusted for the covariate, Verbal Comprehension Index (VCI) results of the WISC III/IV. Error bars were derived using Standard Deviation (SD). A single asterisk (*) demonstrates results that are significantly different from the control group. A double asterisk (**) demonstrates results that are significantly different from both the ADHD and control groups. You’ll notice that Visual Sequential Memory was significantly poorer in the Reading Disability group (RD) but neither Visual Discrimination nor Visual Memory was. Notice as well that the poorer VSM was even more pronounced in the Cobmorbid group having both ADHD and RD.
The raw data presented in a table in the paper shows that the results for all three TVPS-R subtests were poorer in children with RD than in the controls, but the statistical power was most impressive for VSM. The p value for VD was 0.026; for VM was 0.005; and for VSM was <0.001. The take home message here is that Visual Sequential Memory as a visual processing skill appears to be particularly significant for children with RD, and even more so if they have comorbid RD and ADHD.
What optometric vision therapy procedures do you employ to engage and cultivate VSM?