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How visual perceptual skills may affect learning


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How Visual Perceptual Skills May Affect Learning

Body Image/General Movement Control
This refers to the concept of one’s physical apparatus and is important in developing one’s self-concept.  General movement control involves large muscle function and the person’s awareness of one’s body parts and their operations.  For example, one knows that his right hand is dominant and that his left hand plays a supportive role in many activities.
The frustration resulting from a poorly developed body image or inadequate movement control may precipitate a wide range of problem behaviors, such as:

Visual Discrimination/Form Perception

A person with visual discrimination weakness is not able to match and/or distinguish similarities and differences in letters, words, objects, pictures, etc.  Difficulties may be in reading, writing and spelling.

Visual Figure Ground

A person with visual figure-ground weakness will have difficulty picking out and focusing attention on a specific object or detail from surrounding visual information: for example, fixating a specific word in a paragraph.  Person may seem inattentive and unable to keep place in reading and number work, easily distracted, with difficulties in drawing a straight line between boundaries, in finishing a letter when writing, and finding a specific object, such as a screwdriver in a toolbox.

Spatial Relationships

Spatial Relationships is the perception of the position of two or more objects in relation to oneself as well as in relation to each other.  For example, a child stringing beads has to perceive the position of the bead and string in relation to himself as well as the position of the bead and string in relation to each other.
The person with these difficulties could have trouble with sequential tasks.  He may find it impossible to put letters in the proper sequence while reading or spelling.  He may have problems remembering the steps in solving problems, appearing inattentive.  He may have trouble with concepts of up, down, front, back, left and right.

Visual Closure

A person with poor visual closure has difficulty mentally “filling in” partially complete visual information.  For example, he may have difficulty visualizing the missing parts of a poorly photocopy page of print or pictures, or recognizing an object when it is partially hidden by other objects in front.

Visual Memory

A person with a visual memory problem may have difficulty remembering the alphabet, learning basic math facts, reading and spelling words that are unable to be spelled phonetically, ie. would, boar, laugh.

Visual Form Constancy

Form constancy may be defined as the accurate interpretation of an object as being the same in spite of its various orientations (rotated, partially concealed, etc.)  A person with adequate perceptual constancy will recognize an object, word letter or number, no matter how it is presented, in different typeface, all capital letters, or in a different context.
A person with poorly developed visual form constancy is likely to feel anxious about the general unreliability of his visual world, and may also experience difficulties in academic learning.  Although he may learn to recognize a number or word when he sees it in a particular script or context, he may be unable to recognize the same symbol when it is presented in a different way.  Such a person is constantly deceived by his senses.  Learning to read or work with symbols is very difficult.

Laterality/Directionality (Position in Space)
An understanding of above, below, behind, in front of, beside.  The concept is made up of a combination of visual, auditory, vestibular, tactile, kinesthetic and to a lesser degree the other senses.  If the senses do not work together properly, a person may not have an accurate perception of his position in space.  With difficulties in perceiving the proper position of an object in relation to his body is likely to confuse b and d, 3 and E, p and q, on and no, was and saw and 24 and 42, making it difficult to learn to read, write and spell and do arithmetic.

Visual Sequential Memory

A deficit in this area is defined as the inability to correctly reprocess symbols and/or sequences of symbols seen previously.  Words with similar sequences can cause confusion.  Reading difficulties may relate to poor ability to visualize, with word calling, yet long-term memory problems may hinder comprehension.
Adapted by Nancy Torgerson, OD, from Learning Difficulties by Joan Warner, and Developmental Perceptual Skills by H.F. Storey.