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Visual Processing Skills and Game Ideas

December 5, 2016   /    Visual Processing   /    no comments

What are visual processing skills?

Visual processing skills are what our brain uses to make sense of what we see in the world around us. When a child is behind in the development of visual processing skills learning can take longer, requiring more cognitive effort that slows down the learning process.

Math, reading and writing are some of the areas where visual processing skills play a key role in how a child learns, and without the skills to excel in these areas a child’s self-esteem can suffer as well. A child who has not developed good eye movement, eye teaming, and eye focusing skills will often have more difficulty with visual processing skills.

Examples of visual processing skills.

Visual processing skills are broken down into several different categories. Your child may have trouble with just one skill or a couple of related skills. Or they may need to work a little bit on all of their visual processing skills. Listed below we describe each category and show examples of each skill.

Visual discrimination

The ability to recognize the differences and similarities between objects and images based on shape and size, it is important to be able to distinguish between different letters and words in order to read and write. An important step in developing this skill is teaching your child to pay attention to detail.

Which design is exactly like the one on top?

Which design is exactly like the one on top?

Figure ground

The ability to find and pick out the important information in a visually busy background, such as picking out numbers in a word problem.

The top shape is hidden in which picture?

The top shape is hidden in which picture?

Form constancy

The ability to know that a shape is the same regardless of size or direction change, knowing a word is the same word written in a different font.

Match the design, it could be a different size or color.

Match the design, it could be a different size or color.

Visual closure

The ability to know what an image or object is when part of that image or object is missing. It is also the ability to quickly recognize differences in similar words to enable reading fluently.

If each design was completed and the lines were not moved, which one would look exactly like the design on the top?

If each design was completed and the lines were not moved, which one would look exactly like the design on the top?

Visual and sequential memory

The abilities to recall visual information over time and to accurately recall a sequence of shapes or objects in the correct order, these skills are important for spelling and writing.

Remember the order of the shapes after you look away.

Remember the order of the shapes after you look away.

Without looking above, which row is the correct order?

Without looking above, which row is the correct order?

Game ideas for each area.

Wondering how you can help your child develop the skills they need to excel in school in a fun and interactive way? Hands on games are a great way to work on these visual processing skills. Below you will find games that will help strengthen the areas of visual processing to match your child’s needs.  Most, if not all, of these games can be found on Amazon and will tell you the recommendations for age appropriateness. Depending on the child’s skill level they may need to start with a game that’s recommended age is below their age.

Does your child…

  • Mistake similar words i.e. where/when?
  • Struggle with differentiating between b, d, q, p?
  • Have difficulty reading music?
  • Have a hard time being aware of small changes in the world around them?

Games to strengthen Visual Discrimination:

  • Attribute Blocks
  • Spot the Difference
    Pixy Cubes and Spot it!

    Pixy Cubes and Spot it!

  • Memory Matching
  • Pixy Cubes
  • Dominos
  • Bingo with Picture Cards
  • Spot it!
  • Dog Dice
  • Blink
  • Qwirkle

Does your child…

  • Struggle to pick out the numbers in word problems?
  • Say, “Mom where is my…” only to find out what they are looking for is right out in the open?
  • Get easily distracted by things around them?
  • Have trouble with sorting and organizing their work or belongings?
  • Have difficulty copying from the board?

Games to strengthen Figure Ground:

Qwirkle

Qwirkle

  • Where’s Waldo
  • I Spy books or board games
  • Dot-to-dots
  • Snakes and Ladders
  • Jigsaw Puzzles
  • Connect 4
  • Qwirkle

Does your child…

  • Have a hard time with hidden pictures if the shape they are looking for has been turned a different way?
  • Know a word in one sentence but then not know that same word in another sentence?
  • Misread or guess at words because they don’t recognize it?

Games to strengthen Form Constancy:

  • Spot it!
  • Terzetto
  • Melissa & Doug: Pattern Blocks and Boards
  • Melissa & Doug: Bead Sequencing Set
  • Mental Blox 360

Does your child…

  • Leave sentences or thoughts unfinished when writing?
  • Have trouble finding things they are looking for if that object is partially covered?
  • Struggle with sight words?

Games to strengthen Visual Closure:

  • Finders Keepers!
  • Blokus
  • Bound Off
  • Zingo!
  • Wild Wonders Memory
  • Qwirkle

Does your child…

  • Have difficulty recognizing the same word a few sentences later?
  • Struggle to remember the main point of a story after reading?
  • Make the same mistake again and again, sometimes not realizing they are doing so?
  • Have difficulty remembering the alphabet in sequence?
  • Struggle with sequencing letters or numbers in word or math problems?
  • Have a hard time following multiple step directions?
  • Have difficulty copying from one place to another?

Games to strengthen Visual Memory & Visual Sequential Memory:

  • Q-Bitz
    Sequence for kids

    Sequence for kids

  • Make A Match Game In A Tin
  • Captain Clueless
  • Wild Wonders Memory
  • Memory Challenge: Marvel Comics
  • Melissa & Dough: Pattern Blocks and Boards
  • Sequence
  • Swish
  • Chess
  • Rush Hour

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