The main aim of this review is to evaluate the proposal that several developmental disorders affecting vision share an impairment of the dorsal visual stream. First, the current definitions and common measurement approaches used to assess differences in both local and global functioning within the visual system are considered. Next, studies assessing local and global processing in the dorsal and ventral visual pathways are reviewed for five developmental conditions for which early to mid level visual abilities have been assessed: developmental dyslexia, autism spectrum disorders, developmental dyspraxia, Williams syndrome and Fragile X syndrome. The reviewed evidence is broadly consistent with the idea that the dorsal visual stream is affected in developmental disorders. However, the potential for a unique profile of visual abilities that distinguish some of the conditions is posited, given that for some of these disorders ventral stream deficits have also been found. We conclude with ideas regarding future directions for the study of visual perception in children with developmental disorders using psychophysical measures.
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