What is Visual Perception?
First things first, visual perception is not visual acuity. I’ve called many parents to tell them I see visual perceptual deficits and the parent says, “but the doctor says she doesn’t need glasses”. Whether your child can see is of course very important, but visual perception is how their brain processes what they see. It’s different.
Visual perception is a very broad term. There are many different subcategories and sometimes it can get a little confusing. Here is a basic rundown of some of the categories so you can get a general understanding.
Visual Discrimination: This is the ability to notice and compare the features of an item to match or distinguish it from another item; distinguishing a P from an R, matching shapes to complete a puzzle, etc.
Visual Figure Ground: This is the ability to find something in a busy background; finding the red crayon in a messy supply box, or finding the milk in a packed fridge, as well as finding a bit of specific text on a busy printed page.
Visual Memory: This is the ability to remember something that you saw once it is taken away; remembering the line you read on the board as you look down to write it, or picturing the notes you studied last night when taking the test the next day.
Visual Sequencing: This is the ability to distinguish the order of symbols, letters or words on a page; writing the notes without reversing any of the letter or words, etc.
Visual Closure: This is the ability to know what an object is when you can only see part of it; recognizing a word when you only see a part of it, recognizing a picture by looking at half of it
Visual Spatial Awareness: This is the ability to understand where objects are in relation to each other; spacing letters and words correctly, understanding maps and graphs, understanding personal space.
Visual Motor Coordination (aka Visual Motor Integration): This is the ability to coordinate the information that your eyes see with movement from other parts of your body. Most of the time, visual motor skills are referring to handwriting. However, it really refers to eye-hand coordination, which is required to catch and throw, drive a car, learn hopscotch, etc.
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