Fostering visual perception through outdoor play
Did you know that 80% of learning is acquired through vision?
That is pretty remarkable. Visual skills are essential for your child, not only are they necessary for reading and writing, but children need visual skills to do things such as cutting with scissors, solving puzzles, coloring, feeding themselves, and dressing themselves.
Making sense of what a person sees is not just a matter of seeing clearly, otherwise known as visual acuity. This is what an eye doctor is referring to when they say someone can see 20/20.
Visual perception is the brain's ability to make sense of what it sees. It takes the visual information that comes in through the eyes and translates it into useful information.
Babies are not born with fully developed visual acuity or visual perception. These skills develop as the brain matures and as a child interacts with the environment around them. If there is a deficit in some of these skills, it can lead to difficulties with learning and performing common daily functions. As they get to be school age, it can dramatically impact their ability to perform in the classroom.
Just as many body parts need to be exercised to get stronger, our eyes and brains improve visual skills with practice.
So, What can you do to foster visual skills in your child?
Playing outside is a natural way to practice visual skills. You may be doing it already and not even know it! I highly recommend getting your chid outside on a regular basis to help lay a foundation for healthy visual development.
Check out the following skills essential to vision and activities put them in practice:
Visual Spatial Relationships
These are just a few of the visual skills we use to function in our daily lives. It is a lot more complex than you might imagine!
So, as you can see.....(haha see what I did there) there are so many fun, outdoor activities to do with children to help them develop their visual skills. They can become great nature detectives as they hone their visual skills. You will be amazed at what they start to notice and observe. Not only that, they will be preparing their minds and bodies to become great learners and readers.
What if you think your child is struggling in these areas?
You are the best judge of your child. If you think they are having trouble with some of their visual skills, talk to your pediatrician. They may recommend a visit to a pediatric opthamologist or an occupational therapist who can assess some of these visual skills.
Some possible signs of visual perceptual difficulties are directly related vision. You may see:
difficulty recognizing letters, difficulty knowing right and left, trouble dressing themselves, difficulty recognizing numbers and letters, trouble writing on the line.
Some signs may not be as obvious. These could include: trouble with self-regulation (irritability), clumsiness, frequent outbursts due to frustration, attention difficulties, disorganization, avoidance of certain tasks.
These problems are not a definitive sign of vision problems, but often are not thought to be associated with vision. Be an advocate for your child so they can get the help they need. Help them to reach their full potential
See you outside!
Hi! I'm Ann - mother of seven, grandmother of two and occupational therapist. My mission is to provide the support families need to raise thriving children and to help you build a family environment that supports healthy development and a pathway to success.
Great blogs to check out:
Rain or Shine Mamma
Children & Nature Network
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