Enhancing Visual Perception: A Guide for Parents and Therapists
Visual perception is an essential aspect of a child's development that influences how they interpret and interact with the world around them. As occupational therapists, we understand the significance of visual perception in daily activities and learning. In this blog post, we will explore the key areas of visual perception and introduce resources available in our occupational therapy store to support and enhance this crucial skillset.
Understanding Visual Perception
Visual perception encompasses various skills that enable individuals to make sense of visual information. These skills can be broadly categorised into several key areas:
1. Visual Discrimination
- Definition: The ability to recognise similarities and differences between objects or symbols. For example, sorting a deck of cards into red and black.
- Importance: Visual discrimination is fundamental for tasks such as identifying letters, numbers, and shapes.
- Resource: Emotion Dominos - A classic matching game, but it features images of different emotions. Match the emotions of an emoji image and a child’s face! Try and be the first player to get rid of their dominos to win the game.
2. Visual Memory
- Definition: The capacity to recall and recognise visual information. For example, recalling items in a lunch box after viewing then closing the lid.
- Importance: Visual memory is crucial for activities like spelling, reading, and solving puzzles.
- Resource: Kids Scavenger Hunt Card Game - Players need to frantically search for the objects pictured on their cards. Encourage children to remember their object while they go hunt to challenge their visual memory.
3. Visual-Spatial Relations
- Definition: The ability to perceive and understand spatial relationships between objects.
- Importance: Visual-spatial skills are essential for tasks like drawing, assembling puzzles, and following maps.
- Resource: Tangram Puzzle - Children manipulate the 7 brightly coloured tangram puzzle pieces to copy an image presented on a picture card. A great challenge to decipher orientation of pieces and how they fit together to create an image.
4. Visual Figure-Ground
- Definition: The skill to distinguish an object or image from its background.
- Importance: Visual figure-ground perception helps with activities such as finding a specific item in a cluttered environment.
- Resource: Sensory Matters Exploratory Bag - Each bag comes with an attached card detailing the objects hidden within. Each bag will challenge little eyes to look for the nominated objects amongst tiny beads.
5. Visual Closure
- Definition: The ability to identify a whole object when only parts or fragments are visible.
- Importance: Visual closure is vital for recognising partially obscured words or objects. It plays a crucial role in fluent reading.
- Resource: Eric Carle Alphabet Puzzle 2-Sided Floor Puzzle - Puzzles are a fabulous challenge to develop visual closure. Matching pieces requires children to visualise a whole image when the pieces are put together.
6. Visual Form Constancy
- Definition: The ability to recognise a form when its size or orientation is altered. For example, identifying different objects that are the same shape (such as circular; ball, clock, door knob, opening of a cup).
- Importance: Visual tracking is essential for reading, sports, and activities that involve following a moving target.
- Resource: Spot It! Spot it Card Game is an addictive, fun game for all ages. Every card in the deck has a single matching item with another card. The matching items may be a different orientation or size so it will certainly challenge visual form constancy skills. Be the first player to Spot It! (the matching object) to win.
7. Visual Sequential Memory
- Definition: The ability to hold a mental picture of a sequence of visual images e.g. letters, numbers, words, objects, shapes or movements. It is involved in the recall of sequences of letters in words and words in sentences,
- Importance: Visual sequential memory is an integral part of visual decoding in reading and encoding in spelling.
- Resource: Sherlock Card Game - Every player tries to remember the objects hidden in a facedown circle of cards, and as Sherlock travels from one card to the other, players have to remember the picture on that card. A great challenge for children to recall a sequence of visuals!
8. Visual Motor Integration
- Definition: The coordination of visual perception and motor skills, such as hand-eye coordination.
- Importance: Visual motor integration plays a role in handwriting, drawing, and other fine motor tasks.
- Resource: Tricky Fingers - Use the cards provided to recreate the patterns by moving the beads around the grid. Challenge vision and fine motor skills simultaneously!
Supporting Visual Perception with Our Resources
At The OT Store, we offer a range of carefully selected resources designed to enhance visual perception skills in children. Each product is chosen with the aim of making therapy enjoyable and effective. Despite suggested games in each of the above categories, many resources to support visual perception will target multiple areas. For example, Spot it Card Game targets visual discrimination (to identify matching forms), visual memory (to recall forms already viewed on a card), visual figure ground (to locate similar forms amongst multiple images on a card), and visual form constancy (locate objects despite different orientations on a card).
Empower your child or students to strengthen their visual perception skills while having fun with these valuable resources.