Vision & Learning Month is coming up in August! COVD Past President Dr. Gary Williams, FCOVD shares some insights about reading as a perceptual skill. Are your child’s visual skills up to the task of the upcoming school year? Locate a Doctor near you for a comprehensive vision exam at!


The difference between spoken language and written language is vision. Most of us learn to speak, develop adequate auditory processing, and learn the rules of our language implicitly. Spoken language is symbolic, but most children easily and rapidly absorb the symbolism because it is immediately useful and it is part of our genetic endowment. Reading is not part of our genetic endowment. It requires explicit instruction to learn letters and letter/sound relationships which do not have immediate utility. Reading requires years of practice and places extraordinary perceptual demands on the visual system. As the symbolism of algebra overwhelms some children, especially if it is presented too early, the symbolism of letters, their subtle differences, their orientation specificity, and their sequencing within words can be overwhelming. This is also exacerbated when children are pushed to read before they are perceptually ready.

Tests of visual perception which require a child to copy…

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