Visual Perception and Handwriting

August 31, 2018

Over the last several weeks we have talked a lot about strength and how the stability strength provides allows for proper coordination to improve handwriting skills.  Today we are going to bring back a post from April and talk about visual perception.  Visual perception is how your sense of sight sees something and then how the brain interprets it.  There are several components to visual perception we will explore today as well as provide ideas to improve visual perception.  They are not all specifically handwriting based but improving the skill will help to improve handwriting.  Please enjoy the below article from our archives and the important information it contains to improve handwriting!

The next developmental skill we will explore is visual perception.Visual perception is another skill that is imperative to development of normal daily activities we all think of kids doing as they grow.  These activities include coloring, assembling puzzles, learning to write, picking clothing up from the bedroom floor, playing sports, playing on playground equipment, and learning to catch/throw a ball as well as much more.  It is important to make sure visual perception is developed because if not, none of these skills can be at their strongest.

Visual perception is how the brain makes sense of what the eyes are seeing in the world.  It is important to understand that visual acuity, how clearly a person sees is visual acuity.  This is what someone is referring to when they say someone has 20/20 vision.  A person can have 20/20 vision and still have visual perception deficits.

Another key piece to understanding visual perception is that it is comprised of lots of tasks.  There can be dysfunction in one area or multiple areas.  The areas include sensory processing of visual stimuli, visual attention, visual discrimination, visual memory, visual spatial relationships, visual sequential memory, visual figure ground, visual form constancy, and  visual closure.

Sensory Processing of Visual Stimuli-This refers to how the body perceives, interprets, and responds to visual input in the environment and in the child’s own body.

Visual Attention-The ability to focus on the important visual information and filter out the unimportant visual information.

Visual Discrimination-The ability to tell the difference between objects by size, color, similarity and difference. This includes being able to tell position in space, when an object is in the exact same position as another.

Visual Memory– The ability to recall visual traits about an object or form from the memory of seeing it.

Visual Spatial Relationships-Understand the relationships between objects in an environment.  This includes being able to recognize and draw a line between 2 points.

Visual Sequential Memory-The ability to recall the sequence of objects in the correct order after seeing them.

Visual Figure Ground-The ability to locate something in a busy background.

Visual Form Constancy- The ability to know a form or a shape is the same even if it has been made smaller, larger, a different color, or turned on its side.

Visual Closure- The ability to recognize the form of an object when it is partially missing or covered.

Deficits in any of these areas can manifest in many ways and cause your child to struggle with daily activities.  This can include but is not limited to the following:

  • Completing puzzles or dot to dots.
  • Planning actions in relation to objects around them.
  • With spatial concepts such as “in, out, on, under, next to, up, down, in front of.”
  • Differentiating between “b, d, p, q”
  • Reversing numbers or letters when writing.
  • Losing place on a page when reading or writing.
  • Remembering left and right.
  • Forgetting where to start reading.
  • Sequencing letters or numbers in words or math problems.
  • Remembering the alphabet in sequence,
  • Coping from one place to another (e.g. from board, from book, from one side of the paper to the other).
  • Dressing (i.e. matching shoes or socks).
  • Discriminating between size of letters and objects.
  • Remembering sight words.
  • Completing partially drawn pictures or stencils.
  • Attending to a word on a printed page due to his/her inability to block out other words around it.
  • Filtering out visual distractions such as colorful bulletin boards or movement in the room in order to attend to the task at hand.
  • Sorting and organizing personal belongings (e.g. may appear disorganised or careless in work).
  • With hidden picture activities or finding a specific item in a cluttered desk

You may also see problems in the following areas:

  • Academic performance: The ease and skill with which they can complete academic tasks specifically in areas including writing, reading, art, and math.
  • Attention and concentration: Sustained effort, doing activities without distraction and being able to hold that effort long enough to get the task done specifically maintaining attention when unable to process the visual information provided in the situation.
  • Self regulation: The ability to obtain, maintain and change one’s emotion, behavior, attention and activity level appropriate for a task or situation in a socially acceptable manner when processing visual information.
  • Behaviour: They may avoid or refuse to participate in activities that require visual perceptual skills.
  • Frustration: With precise eye and hand coordination tasks or in depth visual tasks.
  • Avoidance: They may prefer to get others to perform tasks for them under their direction, rather than actually doing themselves (e.g. “Daddy, draw me a house”, or “build me a rocket”, with refusal to do it themselves).
  • Organization: They may have difficulty keeping track of and organizing belongings in their rooms, their desks, their backpacks and their environment.







Activities to help improve visual perceptual skills

We hope this information helps you! Please feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns! Have a great Labor Day!



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