top of page

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:

  1. Visual discrimination

  2. Visual figure ground

  3. Visual closure

  4. Visual Spatial Relations

  5. Visual memory

  6. Visual Sequential Memory

  7. 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:

  1. Development of hand-eye co-ordination

  2. Form/shape constancy

  3. Figure ground discrimination (finding something in a crowded background)

  4. Awareness of position in space (directionality)

  5. Remembering what was seen

  6. Spatial relationships

  7. 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.


Thanks! Message sent.

Whats to do next? Contact us!
bottom of page