How can an OT help with Visual Perception Difficulties

19 Jul, 2023

Visual perception is the brain’s ability to process what we see. We need to use this ability every day when we interpret the world around us. People can experience Visual Perception Difficulties when the brain has difficulty interpreting what has been seen. Individuals with developmental delays, learning disabilities, brain injuries, eye problems and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) can experience these challenges.

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What is Visual perception?

It includes the following complex set of skills:

Visual Discrimination: The ability to observe differences or similarities between objects based on size, shape, pattern

Visual Motor Integration: Ability for the brain, eyes and body to communicate and coordinate an action based on visual information such as copying, writing and drawing.

Visual Spatial Relationships: Being aware of objects in the environment and how relates to you and other people or objects in the space.

Figure-ground: Ability to search/scan through visually busy environments to find required objects or information

Visual closure: Able to know what a shape or object is without seeing the full thing

Visual attention: Ability to focus on visually relevant information

Visual Memory: The ability to recall visual traits from an object/person

Form Constancy: To know a shape/object is still the same even if different size, orientation etc.

How can an OT assist with Visual Perception Difficulties

Occupational therapists (OTs) can help people with visual perception difficulties by evaluating their skills, developing a treatment plan, and providing them with activities that help improve their visual perception skills. An OT can also provide strategies to compensate for their visual perception difficulties.

Below are some activities that can help improve visual perception:

Dot-to-dot puzzles: These activities can involve matching the dots from numbers in chronological order to make a certain shape or image. This is a great way to improve visual tracking skills. They can also help improve eye-hand coordination and fine motor skills.

Visual search activities: These activities involve looking for an object within a worksheet with a busy background, which requires visual discrimination skills to find the object.

  • Word searches
  • Where’s Wally?
  • I spy/Spot what books
  • Spot the difference

Puzzles: Puzzles are a great way to develop visual discrimination skills, as the person considers the shape of the piece and whether the colour matches. Spatial awareness is also required, as the puzzle pieces will be shifted and located.

In addition to these activities, there are ways to manage visual perception difficulties:

Maintaining a clean and uncluttered workspace and reducing visual clutter/information

  • Will help with locating items
  • Placing most used items close by
  • Maximise productive time

Use large print materials

  • Support visual tracking difficulties

Encourage them to take breaks when they are feeling overwhelmed

Be patient and understanding

Book a Mobile Occupational Therapy appointment

If you are concerned that you or a loved one may be experiencing visual perception difficulties, our Occupational Therapists can help. With the right support, people with visual perception difficulties can develop the necessary skills to overcome their challenges and succeed in school, work, and life.

Contact our friendly Client Experience team on 1300 122 884 to schedule an initial appointment.

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