Handwriting is a complex process that involves not only our hands, but different body and motor skills as well. In this blog we will be exploring how visual perception skills affect handwriting.
Before we dig deeper into visual perception, let’s be clear on the difference of vision, and visual perception.
Vision is the sensory information received from the eyes.
Visual perception is a process where our brain receives, organizes and makes sense of the information received from the eyes. The process here involves the work of the brain.
During handwriting, not only does our body muscles work together to maintain a good posture, visual perception also plays an important role to help the child to make sense of what they see in their environment then to carry out appropriate responses with hands. This process is called hand-eye coordination (or visual motor integration).
Children with visual perception issues may find it challenging to keep track of the letters of the sentences while they perform copying tasks from the whiteboard, which causes them to take longer time to complete the specific task as compared to their peers. They may consistently missed a few letters while copying and reversing some of the letters (b,d,q,p), which affects their quality of work. They may be labelled as “lazy” or “naughty” due to these struggles in class, eventually reducing their self-esteem and motivation to participate in any classroom activities.
Here are some of the strategies that can be applied to child who has visual perception issues during writing time:
Highlight or darken the lines (or draw a box) to emphasize the boundaries
Highlight the symbols while doing math
Multisensory handwriting, which is fun and motivating for the child to keep them engaged during tasks, at the same time promoting awareness on different features on the letters
Kinesthetics and motor plan the letter formation
Writing in the air with a Magic Wand
Learn to write letters with the use of sands, shaving cream
Form letters with Wikki Sticks or pipecleaner
Break down the tasks
During copying tasks, instead of showing the child with a full page, cover half or part of the page to minimise the visual information present to the child.
Another important thing to note, it is essential to get one’s vision checked before ruling on any visual perception issues as vision issues can normally be corrected through lenses, or with surgical procedures in severe cases.
Also discuss with your occupational therapist if you need further discussion on visual perception issues.