Have you ever wondered how some kids can easily complete jigsaw puzzles while some requires more time to finish? Or have you ever wondered how some kids can easily identify left and right side of the shoes while others still needed full assistance? These are some of the difficulties of parents and teachers of children with some visual perception difficulties.
As adults, we often oversee the importance of our senses. We can easily interpret the world around is through our eyes, ears, nose and hands naturally. However, this isn’t the same way for everyone. From smelling freshly brewed coffee, to the sight of the gradient colours of sunset – it is so natural that we can’t stop appreciating these. Many of the sensations we experience daily are so innate that they simply go unnoticed. However for younger children, it is an unusual experience which requires them more time to process these new stimulation around them.
What is visual perception?
To put it in simple words, it is the ability to absorb and process visual information. It is when our brain makes meaning to the things we see around. Good visual perceptual skills are important for many daily life skills such as reading, writing, completing puzzles, building blocks, cutting, drawing, dressing, finding missing items in the classroom or at home and many more. Children with poor visual perception skills often suffer in terms of their confidence in doing tasks. Also, their academic and play performance will be affected.
How can I tell if a child has problems with visual perception?
If a child has difficulties with visual perception they might have difficulty:
- Completing puzzles, dot-to-dot worksheets, copying lines, shapes and letters
- Spatial concepts / prepositional phrases such as “in, out, on, under, next to, up, down, in front of.”
- Differentiating letters such as “b, d, p, q” and exhibits letter and number reversals
- Losing place on a page when reading or writing, or forgetting where to start reading.
- Remembering left and right.
- Sequencing letters or numbers in words or math problems.
- Dressing up (i.e. matching shoes or socks, left and right side of shoes)
- Discriminating between size of letters and objects, and remembering sight word
- Remembering sight words.
- Filtering out visual distractions such as colorful bulletin boards or movement in the room in order to attend to the task at hand.
- Sorting and organizing personal belongings
- With hidden picture activities or finding a specific item in a cluttered desk.
What are the components of Visual Perceptual Skills and sample activities?
- The ability to tell the difference between objects or the details of objects. It involves recognizing what’s the same and what’s different. This helps with matching and categorizing.
- Activities: sorting, matching, dice games, find the difference, sorting money, etc.
- This is remembering an object and the characteristics of an object after it’s out of sight. Kids need to retain visual information for immediate recall, or for later retrieval. This skill is used for learning shapes, letters, numbers, sight words, fact families, maps, patterns, etc.
- Activities: Memory game, what’s missing, identifying absurdities, word search
Visual Spatial Relationships
- The ability to recognize and understand the physical relationships between objects. It’s knowing the position of an object in space. This is an important skill in understanding directional concepts (left, right, between, under, down, etc)
- Activities: patterns, copying designs, obstacle course, proprioceptive activities
- This skill helps in knowing that an object or form is the same no matter its size or what position it’s in. This helps kids understand consistency of objects.
- Activity: jigsaw puzzles, tangrams, building blocks
Visual sequential memory
- This is remembering the correct order, series, or sequence of items. This is extremely important for spelling, reading, and copying short text. It’s useful when remembering the sequence of a visual story.
- Activities: crossword puzzles, word search, threading beads in pattern
- Visual figure-ground is the ability to visually locate an object in a busy background. It’s differentiating foreground from background.
- Activities: sensory play with letters, jigsaw puzzles, I spy games, find the hidden objects
- Visual closure is the ability to know what an object or picture is, when only presented with parts of it.
- Activities: completing picture, shadow matching game, find the missing half