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Visual Perception


Visual Perception refers the brain’s ability to make sense of what the eyes see. Good visual perceptual skills are needed for reading, writing, cutting, drawing, completing math problems, as well as many other skills. Visual perception is an important skill for young children and adults and forms the basis for life skills such as structuring and organization, and judging speed and distance. With so many of our basic tasks dependant in some way on visual perception, being able to correctly use visual perception skills is an important part of day to day life for any individual.

Typical children can easily recognize that a square has four sharp corners or understand the relationship between a square and a diamond. Visual perception difficulty is not just about bad drawing or artwork and children with deficits in this skill area may have trouble finding information on a page, have difficulty remembering shapes, or may miss words as they read. If a child finds tasks dependant on these skills difficult and unproductive, it can impact on many areas of the child’s life and result in a severe loss of confidence.

Visual perception can be separated into several skill areas, these include:

  • Visual discrimination - the ability to match two forms that are identical
  • Visual memory - the ability to remember visual information
  • Visual-spatial relationships - recognition of a picture
  • Visual form constancy - the ability to tell that something is the same even if it is a different size
  • Visual sequential-memory – the ability to recall a sequence of visual images after a brief period of time
  • Visual figure ground - the ability to find an identical match when it is hidden
  • Visual closure - the ability to match two shapes as identical even if part of one of the shapes is missing

We have also provided several useful links to external websites that may give you additional information. You can access them from our Resources page.

If you believe your child has visual perception weaknesses that may affect his education or wellbeing, evaluation by an Occupational Therapist can determine how severe the problem is and provide therapy designed to help children compensate for visual perceptual deficits. You can contact us to discuss what you should do and we can work together to find the best way of helping your child. Follow Contact from the menu above.


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