Trachtman, J.N.
Learning Problems: Theoretical and Practical Considerations of Information Processing

Some 15 to 23 million people in the United States are diagnosed as having Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Over a half-century ago, Dr. A.M. Skeffington described the essential elements of the vision process that have great relevance to the topic of learning problems. In the early 1990s, researchers demonstrated that vision and learning problems are related to information processing. This research indicated that some children with learning problems process visual information primarily with their magnocellular (magno) system. However, this paper proposes that there is a functional deficit of the magno system of these children. Thus, they are not able to effectively process the visual information that is available to them from this system. It is further proposed that accommodation can be utilized to link the magno and parvocellular (parvo) systems in the interest of optimal visual information processing. Current theoretical and practical considerations of information processing are discussed to better understand and ameliorate learning problems. It is recommended that the optometrist's role with these children is to improve magno system function, and then develop optimal interaction between the parvo and magno systems. Specific optometric techniques of diagnosis and treatment, with emphasis on accommodation, are described for children with learning problems in the interest of optimizing the interactions of the magno and parvo systems. Finally, a brief case history is presented detailing the practical application of parallel processing the parvo and magno systems.