Visual Perception

What is Visual Perception? Visual perception refers to the brain’s ability to make sense of what the eyes see. Some children have 20/20 vision but they can still have problems with visual perception processing. It has nothing to do with their vision.   Why is it important? Good visual perceptual skills are important for many every day skills such as reading, writing, completing puzzles, cutting, drawing, completing math problems, dressing, finding your sock on the bedroom floor as well as many other skills. Without the ability to complete these everyday tasks, a child’s self-esteem can suffer and their academic and play skills can also be compromised.   If a child has difficulties with visual perception they may have problems with the following activities:
  • Completing puzzles or dot-to-dot pictures.
  • Spatial concepts such as “in, out, on, under, next to, up, down and in front
  • Differentiating between “b, d, p, q”.
  • Reversing numbers or letters when writing.
  • Losing their place on a page when reading or writing.
  • Remembering left and right.
  • Remembering the alphabet in sequence.
  • Coping from one place to another (e.g. from board, from a book, from one side of the paper to the other).
  • Dressing (i.e. matching shoes or socks).
  • Discriminating between the size of letters and objects.
  • Filtering out visual distractions such as colourful bulletin boards or movement in the room in order to attend to the task at hand.
  • Sorting and organising personal belongings (i.e. may appear disorganised or careless in work).
  • Hidden picture activities or finding a specific item on a cluttered desk.
  Here are some activities to help children with visual perception difficulties:
  • Hidden pictures games in books such as “Where’s Wally” and “I spy”.
  • Picture drawing: Practice completing partially-drawn pictures.
  • Dot-to-dot
  • Memory games: Playing games such as Memory.
  • Sensory activities: Use bendable things such as pipe cleaners to form letters and shapes (because feeling a shape can help them visualise the shape). The letters can then be glued onto index cards, and later the child can touch them to “feel” the shape of the letter.
  • Construction-type activities such as Duplo, Lego or other building blocks.
  • Flash cards with a correct letter on one side and an incorrectly formed letter on the other side. Have your child try to draw the letter correctly, then turn over the card to see if it is right. (Have them write in sand or with finger paint to make it more fun).
  • Word search puzzles that require your child to look for a series of letters.
  • Copy 3-D block designs using building blocks, Lego or Duplo.
  • Identify objects by touch: Place plastic letters into a bag, and have your child identify the letter by “feeling it”.
  • Bingo: which requires your child to look for a specific number.
If you feel your child is having difficulties with their visual perception processing, you can contact an Occupational Therapist for an in-depth assessment.