What is Visual Perception?
Visual perception is a sensory and cognitive process that organizes perceived visual information and interprets and uses what is seen. There are five main subcategories of visual perception: visual discrimination, spatial relationships, visual memory, figure-ground, and visual closure.
What are symptoms of decreased visual perception?
A child who demonstrates decreased visual perception may exhibit difficulty cutting, coloring, constructing with blocks, tying shoes, doing puzzles, getting dressed, using buttons and fasteners, hesitancy going up and down stairs or curbs, and difficulty with classroom activities such as reading, spelling, handwriting, math, and finding items in his desk.
Difficulties may also include an inability to distinguish small visual details, difficulty discriminating contrast and color, difficulty reading or writing, difficulty recognizing familiar faces, difficulty seeing objects such as steps and walls, decreased fine motor coordination, and decreased safety resulting from inability to see obstacles in path of travel. While these difficulties may be indicative of decreased visual perception, there may also be other factors contributing to any of the difficulties listed above. It is important to assess your child’s visual perception in relation to other developmental skills, such as motor planning and fine motor control, in order to truly determine the origin of their difficulty.
If I see symptoms of decreased visual perception, what do I do?
If you observe your child having difficulty with the tasks and activities listed above, it is important to seek out an ophthalmologist or optometrist to determine if any corrective procedures or tools may be warranted (i.e. glasses). An occupational therapy evaluation may also be warranted to evaluate how your child’s decreased visual perception is impacting their performance. Following an evaluation, the occupational therapist will create goals and set up a treatment plan to help to develop the appropriate learning environments in which your child can best participate in all different kinds of activities, thus strengthening their confidence in their own abilities and fostering his sense of independence.
Our approach at North Shore Pediatric Therapy
At North Shore Pediatric Therapy, our therapists work with children who experience decreased visual perception by using a multisensory approach. We provide your child additional sensory experiences when visual skills are decreased. Our therapists engage your child in various activities that incorporate movement, tactile, visual, and auditory sensations to enhance visual perception. In addition, our therapists are trained to alter your child’s environment and/or his activities in order to better utilize his existing visual perception, which in turn helps to improve those skills.