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Visual Perceptual Skills

Visual perceptual skills help us to make sense of what we are seeing. Visual perceptual skills give us the ability to perceive a form correctly in order to copy it. Writing down work from the board, completing puzzles and finding hidden pictures all involve visual perceptual skills.

There are several categories of visual perceptual skills such as:

Visual discrimination: the ability to detect similarities and differences between objects. Can your child see differences in shapes, forms, patterns, color, and size? Is your child able to detect the difference between symbols, pictures, numbers, letters or words? 

Form constancy: being able to see or sort an object even if they are different in size, position or color. The form of the object remains the same but its orientation changes. Does your child have difficulty with distinguishing similar shapes (square/rectangle) or similar letters (o/a)?


Figure-ground: the ability to attend to a form in the foreground while ignoring irrelevant information from the background. Figure-ground gives us the ability to look for hidden pictures and Waldo! Sometimes worksheets or pages in a book have too much information on it. The child with figure -ground challenges may need less written work on a page.


Visual closure: the ability to complete a picture when a part of it is missing. This skill involves abstract problem-solving. Slow reading fluency can be a sign of visual closure delays. Puzzles, dot-to-dot, and stencils are challenging for children with visual closure deficits.


Visual memory & Visual sequential memory

Visual memory is the ability to recall visual information.

Visual sequential memory is the ability to recall visual information in order according to time and space. Delays in this area could lead to spelling. Remembering the sequence of the alphabet is difficult as well as remembering the order of events after reading. 


Visual-spatial relations: the ability to recognize that one form or part of form is turned in a different direction that the others. Differentiating between letters like b, d,p or q, losing a place on the page and remembering directionals such as left and right can all be signs of poor visual-spatial relations.

Classroom strategies

  • Tracing activities highlighted and not dotted

  • Use of modified paper (Hi- write paper, raised lined paper)

  • Add bold lines to the paper

  • Use a spacer to help with spacing words apart

  • Less written work on worksheets

  • Letter charts and number charts as a visual cue

  • Wear something on one arm to indicate the direction



  • Tangrams

  • Puzzles

  • Mazes

  • Word searches

  • Hidden pictures

  • Copying 3D block designs

  • Legos

  • Bingo

If this is a topic of interest I am available to present to parents, educators, and other professionals who work with this population.  

Occupational therapy services are also available. If interested please contact me.  

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