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Paediatric visual perception information

Visual perception refers to the ability to use visual information to make sense of what we see. Visual perception relates strongly to the guidance of movement, for example walking, writing, using scissors, and completing puzzles. Visual motor integration (VMI) is the co-ordination of visual perceptual skills together with motor skills. It is the ability to integrate visual information and reproduce this as a motor output (for example, copying a picture).

A child who has problems with visual perception may:

  • have difficulty recognising differences in numbers, letters, shapes, words, and objects
  • use reversals and inversions when writing letters and numbers
  • use capital letters mid-sentence, and have poor or odd punctuation
  • often appear inattentive and disorganized
  • have difficulty finding objects in a busy environment, for example, a specific pencil in a pencil case
  • Ask the child to try to find shapes and forms, such as circles and squares, in a picture (for example, a rectangular door)
  • Use hidden picture books, like Where’s Wally
  • Ask the child to pick out a certain coloured crayon from the crayon box
  • Encourage the child to complete activities which involve cutting, colouring, pasting, tearing and matching
  • Use jigsaw puzzles
  • Slowly draw part of a picture until the child can guess what it is
  • Draw a design and then ask the child to draw it again from memory
  • Play card games, such as snap and pairs
  • Play 'I Spy’
  • Play spot the difference and ask which picture is the odd one out
  • Encourage the child to describe in words the differences and similarities between objects, and the characteristics of each object e.g. long/short, thick/thin, rough/smooth, etc.
  • Sorting and matching games and worksheets, e.g. matching shapes in coloured paper or material / sorting objects according to size, colour and shape / picture and shape dominoes.
  • Create pictures by drawing around simple shapes, i.e. square, circle and triangle. Ask the child to identify the different shapes and colour the same shapes in the same colour i.e. all the circles will be red etc.
  • Use of visual cues e.g. 'S' looks like snake
  • Use of verbal cues to assist the child with letter formation e.g. 'b' is down, up and around
  • Colour code confusing characters e.g. Uppercase and lowercase letters, clockwise and anticlockwise
  • Use tactile strategies e.g. sand-paper letters, plasticine / clay modelling of letters
  • Use movement cues e.g.  Draw with eyes closed, in air, on partners back
  • Encourage self-monitoring of errors
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