Article Text

  1. M Vilayphonh1,
  2. L Watier3,
  3. M DeAgostini3,
  4. C Cavezian1,
  5. L Laloum4,
  6. S Chokron1,2
  1. 1CNRS UMR 5105 and ERT Treat Vision, Paris, France
  2. 2Service de Neurologie, Fondation Rothschild, Paris, France
  3. 3INSERM U780 IFR 69, Villejuif, France
  4. 4Service d’Ophtalmologie, Centre Hospitalier National des Quinze Vingts CHNO, Paris, France


Objective The current study explored visuo-attentional and spatial skills (eg, visual scanning strategies, visual memory, and visual processing) in pre-school children. According to the literature, 5% of these children present a learning disorder, which could have an underlying visuo-attentional disability. We developed a quick, visuo-attentional assessment tool (VAT) to identify children at risk of visual disabilities before formal reading education (grade 1).

Method 111 children, aged 4–6 years, with normal or corrected-to-normal vision, performed six visuospatial tasks including visual pursuit, two cancellation tasks (Teddy Bear and the Corkum tests A), visuospatial working memory tasks, shape-matching tasks and a visual discrimination task (the embedded figures test).

Results For each test, we determined a cut-off failing score corresponding to the lowest 5% of the population. Using this cut-off score, 4.5% of the population failed on two tests. The most sensitive tests were the random visual pursuit and the embedded figures test. Children detected benefited from an additional complete assessment, which revealed a neurovisual deficit. The VAT differentiated between an overall attentional disability (all tests failed) and a specific neurovisual deficit (few specific tests failed).

Conclusion As the majority of the population (80%) succeeded in all tests of the VAT, two failed tests can serve as an alert for visuo-attentional disability. Detected children should be referred for complete neuropsychological assessment. Used as part of a routine medical assessment in schools, this battery could prevent the deleterious effects of cognitive visual defects in everyday life or in learning abilities of children.

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