Visual Perception Skills

Visual perception is the process of organizing information and giving meaning to what our eyes see. It is required to perform everyday functional tasks such as fine motor skills, gross motor skills, and self-care skills.

How does this relate to occupational therapy? Here is a summary of each of the components to make them more relatable to real life function in the realm of OT:

  1. Eye-hand coordination: drawing straight or curved lines within a visual boundary.
  2. Figure ground: being able to locate something in a cluttered or busy background.
  3. Visual discrimination: being able to determine the differences or similarities in objects or forms based on size, color, or shape.
  4. Position in space: understanding the relationships of objects within the environment. In fine motor terms, visual spatial relations are important for appropriate letter orientation and avoiding reversals.
  5. Visual memory: the ability to recall visual traits of a form or object. This is a very important skill for copying an assignment from the board.  
  6. Visual sequential memory: the ability to recall a sequence of objects or forms in a correct order.
  7. Visual closure: the ability to recognize a form or object even when the whole picture isn't available.
  8. Form constancy: the ability to know that a form or shape is the same , even when it has been rotated, made smaller or larger, or observed from up close or far away.

Our eyes send large amounts of information to our brains to process every single second. They need to send us proper information so the brain can process it and use it in a way that makes sense. Here is a list of task or things to look for during an Occupational Therapy treatment session to focus on visual perceptual skills:

  1. Coping from a far point distance 
  2. Letter reversing with similar letters, such as "p" and "q" or "m" and "w"
  3. Difficulty navigating around school 
  4. Complaining about eyes hurting and itching, often rubs them
  5. Turning head while reading hold paper at odd angles
  6. Often losing place while writing
  7. Holding writing utensils very tightly, often breaks pencil points
  8. Struggling with cut and paste
  9. Poorly organizing the page, messy words, irregular spacing, and misaligned letters

"Eye" hope you learned something new today!

-Michelle Lowe, COTA