Visual Perception Difficulties

Visual perception can be defined as an awareness or representation of something via the senses. All the information received during visual perception is what is needed to successfully plan movements, for example to hit a ball, visual perception is needed to determine the speed of a ball, its direction in space and how this relates to the position of the child's arm and the applied force needed to move hands through space to successfully catch the ball. Visual perception can be distorted in children who are not receiving accurate information through their sensory or physical system. In this case errors will be seen across the scope of visual perception.

An occupational therapist can provide assessment and treatment for visual perception difficulties, the therapist would analyse your child completing a variety of tasks in order to gain a better understanding of the specific difficulties your child may be facing and how these difficulties are impacting on occupations. Following the assessment, the occupational therapist would be able to offer and provide effective treatment through the use of various activities and tasks aimed at improving visual perception skills. One approach is to address the underlying components of visual perception.

Components of Visual Perception:

  • Development of hand-eye co-ordination
  • Form/shape constancy
  • Figure ground discrimination
  • Awareness of position in space
  • Spatial relationships
  • Visual closure.
How these components relate to a specific task, for example, the complex task of handwriting utilises hand-eye co-ordination to control the pencil on the page, figure-ground discrimination to determine where on the page the pencil should be placed, spatial relationships between words and the letters and visual closure when finishing the patterns of letters/numbers or finishing a sentence/paragraph.

Importance of Visual Perception

An occupational therapist would use their knowledge and skills to determine how the deficit of certain visual perception skills is impacting upon occupations both at home and in school. As good visual perception skills are needed throughout most occupations, and is a vital building block for development, it is important to address any skill deficits as early as possible.

Affected areas of home and school life affected by poor VP skills
  • Difficulty Identifying an object on a crowded page
  • Difficulty catching a ball
  • Unable to identify missing letters or parts of letters
  • Poor handwriting
  • Difficulty negotiating obstacle courses
  • Behind in P.E at school
  • Clumsy or bumping into things often

How Occupational Therapy can help

An occupational therapist would not only be able to assess how visual perception difficulties are impacting upon the home and school life, but also specifically analyse which components of visual perception are most affecting the successful completion of occupations. Following this, the occupational therapist would be able to offer a range of treatment options to address the underlying issues surrounding visual perception; this could include adapting or modifying the environment or providing active restorative therapy through partaking in games and activities that engage visual perception skills. As with all of our therapies, the therapist would work closely with yourself and your child in finding the most suitable assessment and treatment for your unique situation.

If you think that your child has visual perception difficulties, or you are concerned about the development of a child in your care then please do not hesitate to contact our team. The occupational therapist would be able to come out to your home, the child's school or offer a session at the nearest clinic for your convenience. For further information or for a referral please email or call us on 0330 223 0888

Child sat comparing two cards and looking for the matching shapes
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Please contact one of our experienced occupational therapists today and we will gladly discuss how we can help and what services we can offer you.