Visual Perception Skills
Visual perception is the ability of the brain to interpret what our eyes see. It relies on our ability to focus our attention selectively and to screen out irrelevant information, to match and distinguish between objects, to recognise that despite changes in size, or orientation, objects are the same and the ability to remember visually presented information including the order in which it was presented.
Children with difficulties in this area may have:
A poor sense of direction
Difficulties with organisational skills
A tendency to reverse words in both reading and spelling (eg. saw for was)
Difficulty understanding abstract maths concepts, particularly in the areas of shape, space and measure
Problems with comparative language (eg. taller than, shorter than) Difficulty completing jigsaw puzzles
Problems with copying from the board
Problems with interpreting and organising diagrams, charts, graphs, maps and other visual methods of recording
Difficulties judging speed and distance
Difficulty with letter and number orientation
Difficulty with structuring and organising written work
They may also have:
Strengths in logic, verbal and non-verbal reasoning
Enjoyment in using multisensory strategies when learning
A preference for a phonic approach to learning to read
A preference to use audio methods of recording information.
Visual perception skills can be broken down into 7 sub skills as follows:
Visual figure ground
Visual Spatial Relations
Visual Sequential Memory
Visual Form Constancy
An occupational therapist can provide assessment and treatment for visual perception difficulties, the therapist would analyse your child completing a variety of tasks in order to gain a better understanding of the specific difficulties your child may be facing and how these difficulties are impacting on occupations. Following the assessment, the occupational therapist would be able to offer and provide effective treatment through the use of various activities and tasks aimed at improving visual perception skills. One approach is to address the underlying components of visual perception.
Components of Visual Perception:
Development of hand-eye co-ordination
Figure ground discrimination (finding something in a crowded background)
Awareness of position in space (directionality)
Remembering what was seen
Visual closure (closing off a half finished item)
How these components relate to a specific task, for example, the complex task of handwriting utilises hand-eye co-ordination to control the pencil on the page, figure-ground discrimination to determine where on the page the pencil should be placed, spatial relationships between words and the letters and visual closure when finishing the patterns of letters/numbers or finishing a sentence/paragraph.
At OT Therapy we would love to help your child improve their visual perception skills.