Perceptual Skills, Part I

Last week Dr. Durocher and I were chatting about perceptual skills and what each meant. Before starting Vision Therapy, we evaluate every child through a Perceptual Motor Evaluation (PME). It is about 1.5 hours of testing and we examine each perceptual skill. Each of the seven sets can cause an array of problems so over the blog posts, we’ll go into details about each.

Here are the seven perceptual skills:
  • Visual Discrimination
  • Visual Memory
  • Spatial Relations
  • Form Constancy
  • Sequential Memory
  • Figure Ground
  • Visual Closure

In today’s blog, let’s discuss visual discrimination.

Visual discrimination lets us see differences between objects that are similar. For example, when we read, it’s visual discrimination that let’s us see that the words “was” and “saw” are different, even though they have the same letters.

There are many different stages to visual discrimination:

  1. Difficulty with vowels in words; ex. went and want, ride or rode, horse and house, confused and confessed.
  2. Difficulty with consonants in words; ex. then and when, would and could, ever and even, and presents and prevents.
  3. Reversals are displayed; ex. was and saw, big and dig, spot and stop, conserve and conversed.
  4. But the most common problem for our students is they do not focus on individual letters of a word; ex. when as then, then as when. They often skip over the initial letter sound.
Does your child confuse similar words? If so, there is a solution! Through Vision Therapy we can develop good visual discrimination skills. We can teach students to establish consistent left-right eye movements and how to focus on the differences in similar words. Stay tuned next time because we will review Visual Memory!