VISUAL PERCEPTION PROBLEMS IN CHILDREN WITH AD/HD, AUTISM, AND OTHER LEARNING DISABILITIES

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In this book, Lisa Kurtz, an occupational therapist, guides the reader through an understanding of visual perception difficulties in children and gives an account of the different professionals best able to evaluate and diagnose perception difficulties. Although she describes a multidisciplinary approach, her natural bias is towards occupational therapy. I found this to be a most useful book. I work with children who have autism and other learning disabilities and I would think this book would be a good guide for all disciplines.

The introduction gives an account on the importance of vision to learning and development. Chapter One gives an easily followed anatomy and structure of the visual system. It is written in a way that makes it enjoyable to read and gives a good basic revision of this system. The book goes on to describe early development and this account allows one to recognise how important the visual skills are for the entire child’s cognitive and social learning. It highlights the many different problems that can occur in children. It reminds caregivers that we must be aware of the need to organise the environment and equipment to assist the young person’s learning. It encourages us to have an open mind around behaviour and how to pay special attention to the appearance of the eyes. It provides insight into who may be the best person to diagnose what difficulties the young person may be experiencing and the best way forward around developing the eye muscles.

Chapter Five offers many activities that could be used to support and help children to improve visual skills and which are fun to do. It gives the reader the reasons for such activities and the importance of setting time aside each day for the activities that help develop hand-eye co-ordination and eye muscles. The importance is stressed of not overloading, to give lots of space between activities and to allow the eyes to rest. As a nurse I am aware of the importance of the eyes and their appearance and this can often be a good indication of how a child is feeling. Finally, there is a list of recommended readings, helpful agencies and websites for further information. I would recommend this book for staff who work with children with disabilities and a must for any small service library.

VISUAL PERCEPTION PROBLEMS IN CHILDREN WITH AD/HD, AUTISM, AND OTHER LEARNING DISABILITIES: A GUIDE FOR PARENTS AND PROFESSIONALS, by Lisa A. Kurtz (2006) Jessica Kingsley Publications. ISBN 1843108267 Price £12.99

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