Visual perceptual and visual motor deficits can prevent you from performing basic tasks, but there are ways to address them. One of your best options is to use effective treatment and tools.
What are visual perceptual and visual motor deficit disorders?
Visual perceptual and visual motor deficit disorders affect the way the eyes move (convergence and divergence). If they don’t move correctly, the person can’t receive and understand sensory data.
Due to impaired sensory processing, they struggle to comprehend words, focus in class, and retain information. The problem is especially severe in children and is evident when taking notes and reading from the board.
The symptoms of bad perceptual motor activities appear at different ages, but they’re more evident when the child starts reading and writing:
- Difficulty copying information
- Problems navigating large areas, such as school grounds
- Eye itchiness and pain (rubbing eyes is also frequent)
- Turning the head when reading or holding papers at unusual angles
- Forgetting where they left off while reading
- Incorrect letter formation, irregular spacing, illegible words, and other forms of limited organization
- Holding pencils too tight, affecting handwriting skills
- Closing one eye when working or reading
- Symbol and letter reversal (seeing “d” instead of “b” or inverting the letter “n” into the letter “u”)
Left unchecked, this disability can affect basic skills:
- Visual discrimination (recognizing distinct sizes, shapes, and colors)
- Visual sequential memory (memorizing series of items)
- Visual figure ground (identifying objects in certain backgrounds)
- Visual spatial skills (organizing and understanding visual information about spatial relations)
- Visual closure (comprehending complete features from segments of information)
- Visual form constancy (identifying items as they change their color and shape)
- Visual memory (learning visually acquired information)
- Tools and treatments to improve visual perceptual skills
Affected individuals can better their lives with the following tools and techniques.
Occupational therapy (OT) is a healthcare profession that involves intervention and assessment to maintain, recover, or develop meaningful activities (occupations) of individuals or groups.
It can help people with limited visual processing through different techniques. For instance, it comprises adaptive methods (e.g., pre-reading strategies and scanning) to enhance reading performance.
An occupational therapist can help polish the skills you need to organize your daily life, work, pay the bills, and do other basic activities. However, you need to practice the skills regularly.
Figure-ground perception activities
Kids with poor figure-ground perception typically have difficulty finding information on busy blackboards. They may also lose focus when copying words or reading maps.
Caregivers can try various activities to hone this skill:
- Finding laundry – Get a pile of t-shirts or socks and tell your child to find their clothes. If they can spot important items in a cluttered background, their visual acuity is improving.
- Sorting pasta or cereal – Give your kid a bowl with numerous pasta shapes or cereals. Ask them to choose a specific cereal color or pasta shape and tell them to find the corresponding item.
- Matching cards – Mix up several cards with pictures and see if your child can find a certain image. Add a few other cards to make the activity more demanding, so your kid has to work with a busier background.
Visual closure activities
Children need visual closure skills to read fluently and memorize words and letters. They also use it to recognize words quickly by their letter arrangement or shape.
Consulting ophthalmologists and optometrists (providers of primary vision care) is the best way to enhance visual closure abilities. Here are a few more:
- Hiding shapes – Partially hide some shapes under a cloth and ask your child to name each shape. Alternatively, tell them to put each object in the appropriate shape-sorter hole.
- Printable worksheets – These work wonders for older children. You can create your own worksheets or download internet handouts. Whatever you do, make sure the tasks focus on visual recognition. Your kid shouldn’t need a pencil to fill in the missing lines.
Mazes enable your child to guide their pencil through paths. The complexity levels vary by age, but the goal is the same – helping children improve their planning skills and teaching them how to execute movements. Plus, the activity is fun, so kids are more motivated to complete it.
Another great factor about mazes is that they promote eye-hand coordination. Children practice it by concentrating on the map while working with their fingers to find the right track.
Text to speech readers
Text to speech (TTS) readers are ideal for visual perceptual deficits. They help people better understand the visual instructions necessary for fine motor skills.
Teachers can use this technology throughout their lessons. Rather than instructing children to read from study guides, they can convert the text into audio with a TTS reader. This can elevate their reading comprehension and speed.
The technique reinvigorates the classroom experience by adding a new teaching method. It also makes math problems and other tasks less tedious.
Try Speechify – the free TTS reader
You can use a large number of TTS platforms to address visual perceptual and motor disorders, but Speechify is the superior app.
This software is perfect for class instructions. The AI-generated voices read text aloud and highlight critical points to keep learners focused. Plus, you can adjust the speed to ensure the students can keep up.
Speechify is available on all major operating systems and devices. Test the platform for free to get a better idea of its features.
How can I improve my visual perceptual skills?
There are many ways to improve visual perceptual skills in children. Besides pediatric treatment and vision therapy, you can also use assistive technologies.
What are the 7 visual perceptual skills?
The seven visual perceptual skills are visual discrimination, visual sequential memory, visual figure ground, visual spatial skills, visual closure, visual form constancy, and visual memory.
What is the VMI?
Visual motor integration (VMI) is similar to hand-eye coordination. It involves communication between your eyes and hands that lets you copy, write, or draw what you see.
What is the difference between visual perception and visual motor skills?
Visual perceptual skills allow your brain to understand what you see. Visual motor skills allow you to cognitively and visually process figures, sequences, shapes, and surrounding three dimensional objects.