Visual perception involves the brain correctly interpreting what the eyes see. Perception skills are necessary in order to accomplish many different daily tasks along with enabling learning in school. Children diagnosed as having problems with visual perception eventually suffer self-esteem issues and perform poorly academically. There are a variety of techniques that occupational therapists use to assist children with improving the communication between the brain and the eyes.
Discrimination skills enable a child to tell the difference between forms or objects. Discrimination is often used for identifying and choosing the appropriate coins when paying for purchases, or needing to match or separate items. Problems in this area causes difficulties with everything from dressing to letter formation. A simple exercise to train the brain involves drawing a combination of correctly and incorrectly letters on paper. Ask the child to find the letters that are too small or too large and circle them. Next, have them find the letters that are not formed correctly. You can also make flash cards with letters formed right on one side and wrong on the other, and allow the child to practice determining the difference.
This skill entails the ability to recognize a familiar form regardless of size, position or if combined with other forms. Problems in this area often involve not being able to tell the difference between the letters “g, p and q” or “b and d.” A child might also have difficulty when making the transition between printing and writing cursive, comprehending volume or recognizing objects when changes occur. Using any type of construction toy, encourages children to build items according to image instructions. Practice recognizing letters when placed at different angles, created using different colors or fonts.
Visual Memory and Recall
If not stored and remembered correctly, information is often skewed, which prevents children from correctly recognizing or reproducing letters, numbers or symbols. Indications of poor memory and recall include poor sight word memory and poor reading comprehension. Failure to notice, remember and recognize environmental landmarks also increases the likelihood that a child might become lost. Have children draw letters or shapes from memory with their eyes closed. Give them pipe cleaners and ask that they form particular letters or shapes. Help them create memory cheat sheets to take store in their backpacks.
This abstract problem-solving skill allows a child to look at an incomplete letter, shape or object and fill-in the missing parts by recognizing what the image represents. A child not having this ability may have difficulty writing, spelling, calculating math equations or solving puzzles. Working with conventional multi-piece, word or letter puzzles of any kind improves a child's ability to determine differences and similarities. Maze puzzles are also a good option.