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Visual perception

Visual perception is our ability to make sense of what we see by recognising and recalling colours, shapes, sizes and forms. It’s also how we understand the relationship between multiple objects and ourselves.

If your child is struggling with visual perception, you might notice that they:

  • Might not recognise which way round their clothes go and put things on back to front
  • Struggle with handwriting
  • Find it hard to copy from the board in class
  • Are disorganised with their classroom equipment

There are a number of techniques you and your child’s teachers can use to help your child develop visual perception, including:

  • Presenting smaller amounts of work at a time for them to read or copy
  • Using pens in colours that stand out and make clear lines, e.g. black on white
  • Keep worksheets clear and simple by removing any unnecessary information and making good quality copies
  • Encouraging your child to keep their workspace or room clear of clutter, tidying away each item they're finished with before moving onto the next
  • Making sure that your child has a desk at school that’s close to the front of the room with a clear view of the board
  • Using a green margin on left side of their writing page and red margin on the right side to help them position their writing
  • Using hand-outs (as well as asking them to copy from the board) to reduce the need for them to copy from the board
  • Playing Scrabble and other word-based board games
  • Occasionally covering part of a picture or a sentence in a book and asking them to predict what it would be
  • Playing prediction measurement games, e.g. “Is the window or the door further away from you?” or “Who is taller, John or Sally?”
  • Practicing using maps, mazes and simple orientation games
  • Showing your child a shape (e.g. a circle) and asking them to find every item in the room or outside that is also the same shape
  • Playing Simon Says: give instructions such as "Simon says touch your head" for the child to copy
  • Playing Imaginary Mirror. For this game, children work in pairs and pretend there is a mirror between them. One makes a pose and the other copies as if they’re the reflection
  • Playing memory games: ask them to look at a table of objects, then cover it and ask them to tell you what was there
  • Identifying certain letters in a sentence or paragraph and mark them with a highlighter pen

If you’ve tried all of these techniques and you’re still not seeing any improvement after four months, please speak to a health professional for advice.