Visual Spatial Memory: the ability to recall the spatial location of an object or stimuli. The ability to be able to recall, identify, or reproduce a design or dominant feature of an object. Visual memory is important throughout school.
Example: Being able to picture a lost object; seeing a printed word and developing a mental picture to the corresponding object.
Activity: Memory Card Games
Visual Sequential Memory: Ability to view and then recall a sequence of numbers, letters or objects in the order they were originally presented.
Example: Recall a phone number 205-9786 vs. 205-9687, or in spelling “their” vs. “thier”
Visualization is the ability to remember (mentally) a picture or object seen and mentally manipulate the image in different ways. We can then form a mental image that is used in the present or in the future. This ability is essential in spelling, oral math and to be able to recall scenes, events, instructions.
The child must first consider the first form. Then he must find which of the four forms which, once assembled with the first, will be a perfect square.
Visual Speed & Span of Perception: The rate and amount at which information is being handled in visual processing. For example, the ability to rapidly compare visual configurations and identify two figures that have similar or identical or to identify some particular detail that is buried in distracting material. It is also the process of selectively concentrating on one aspect of the environment while ignoring other things.
Example: quickly and efficiently copying an assignment off the chalkboard with only a few glances vs. needing to glance at the chalkboard after every one to two words or bits of information is copied.
Once all of these skills are developed, it is important for them to become automatic so they take up less brain power to use. In order to have efficient visual information processing skills, you have to learn the skills well to the point where they become easy.
Automaticity is the key in efficient learning.
Learning to read and write is a human’s most difficult task in his whole life. Reading and writing are very complex tasks that require many visual perceptual, auditive and tactile abilities.
The optometrist specialized in vision training must assess all visual and perceptual abilities. This is why assessment of these skills takes more time.
Vision therapy is a series of motor, visual and perceptual activities designed to enhance those skills. Because these skills are learned between 0 and 6 years old, they can be learned again or trained to obtain a maximum of efficacy.
Two clinical studies
In 2010, Dhingra and coworkers have analyzed the relationship between different perceptions (visual, auditory, kinesthetic and tactile) and academic performance of a number of children.
They used parts of standardized tests that specifically measured the adequacy of these perceptions (including McCarthy Scales of Children’s Abilities and WISC III-R).
Taken together, the children’s academic achievement (which the authors defined as all three academic areas, including reading, spelling and mathematics) was significantly correlated with mainly three perceptual channels, namely, visual perception (r = 0.521, p <0.001), auditory perception (r = 0.544, p <0.001) and kinesthetic perception (r = 0.186, p <0.05).
First, performance in reading and spelling were significantly associated (students who are good readers are also good in spelling), and these two academic areas were closely linked to the three perceptual aspects mentioned above. On the other hand, mathematics achievement was linked only to the auditory and visual perception. Thus, the results indicate, among other things, that visual and auditory perceptions play a crucial role in learning.
Another study, by Goldstand in 2005, was designed to compare visual and perceptual skills between children with or without moderate school problems in reading and examine the impact of visual deficits among them.
The authors compared the results of seventy-one seventh-grade students, where 46 had no problems reading and 25 had moderate problems in reading. They used scores from visual screening tests of visual perception, tested visual-motor integration, and school performance. In addition, they have subsequently compared academic performance and processing of visual information between children who were successful or not in the visual tests.
Visual deficits were found in 68% of participants, and in more boys than girls. Readers with reading problems had significantly poor overall school performance and lower scores in the vision screening tests than the good readers. Participants who successfully completed the vision screening had significantly better results in visual perception than those who failed.
Visual and perceptual functions distinguish well between children with and without mild learning difficulties. The high incidence of visual problems in children who do not always succeed in school tells us that it is important to assess the visual and perceptual deficits in schoolchildren with difficulties in academic performance.
- Dhingra R, Manhas S, Kohli N. Relationship of Perceptual Abilities with Academic Performance of Children. J Soc Sci, 23(2): 143-147 (2010)
- Goldstand S, Koslowe KC, Parush S.Vision, visual-information processing, and academic performance among seventh-grade schoolchildren: a more significant relationship than we thought? Am J Occup Ther. 2005 Jul-Aug;59(4):377-89.
We discussed the principal perceptual skills a child must master in order to better process visual information both at school and elsewhere. Vision and perception affect all aspects of children’s lives. In a sense, the visual perception is the process of visual thinking more than the eye itself.