Posts Tagged 'visual perception'

Summer Fun: Bowling with Blocks or Bottles!


Materials needed

Play Dough                                      Marker board and markers

Marbles/balls: Size will depend on size of the blocks that need to be knocked down

Ten wooden blocks of varying sizes or sixteen ounce water bottles (each filled partially with sand or water and carefully sealed)

1. Choose a place to play on the floor or at a table.

2. Choose the name of your team. Help your child with the beginning letter of the team.

Four year olds: Make the letters for your child out of sticks or wicky sticks or write the letters for your child on the marker board.  Do not expect him to write letters at this age.

Five years old and up:  Help your child write the beginning letter of each team on the paper (playing field).  If your child cannot write the letter, talk him through it or write it for him.  Remember the larger the letter is written, the easier it is to write and to remember.

3. Have your child use both hands to roll the play dough into long ropes to become the “bumper” pads for your bowling alley.  Put the bumper pads in place.

4. Set the blocks or bottles in a triangular pattern as in real bowling.

5. Roll the marbles or large ball down the alley, knocking down the blocks or bottles.

6. Help your child write tally marks or write numbers on the marker board to keep score.  Do not expect your child to keep adding the numbers. That is your job!


Rolling marbles down a swimming pool noodle to knock down small blocks.  The child places the marbles in the noodle, aligning the noodle with the blocks.

Shoe box with three doors cut out of it: Place the inverted shoe box at the end of the alley.  Give each “door” a number. As he rolls the marbles down the alley through a door, the child receives that number of points.

Place stickers with shapes or letters or numbers on the bottom of each bottle.  When a bottle is knocked down, the child may write or draw the shape, letters or number that appear for an extra turn.  Be a good sport if you don’t get a turn!

Memory game: Insure that there are pairs of matching stickers on the bottom of the bottles. Ask your child to find the matching pairs by turning the bottles over. The person with the most pairs wins the game.

Developmental Skills:

 Gross Motor: If playing on the floor, balance in sitting may be improved as the child moves to hit or retrieve the ball or to move his players. When standing, balance may be improved as the child shifts his weight to maintain his balance.

Fine Motor: Rolling the marbles requires precise eye hand coordination. Setting up the “bowling pins” requires arm strength and an adequate grasp of the objects. Using both hands together (bilateral integration) is promoted by using a large ball and by rolling the Play Dough ropes.

 Perceptual: Setting up the “pins” into a triangular shape stresses diagonal perception.

Numbers and letters may be learned as well as concepts of up and down.

 Language: Development of social skills such as taking turns and learning to play fair as well as losing or winning may be enhanced. Concepts of same and different, how many, are practiced.

 Tactile/Kinesthetic: As the fingers are used for precise movement, feedback is received as to their position with the hand and rest of the body.

Page 20 & 21 Alphabet Soup: Stirring Your Child’s Interest in Letters by Lyn Armstrong O.T.R.


Please Have Those Eyes Checked!

Summer is a good time to make an eye appointment for your child.  Visual tracking is critical to reading and writing success.  Here are signs I look for as a therapist which may indicate a need for an eye exam.  Please note that I am not talking about “being able to see” (acuity) but rather the two eyes teaming well together.

a. Child who covers one eye by propping his head in his hand

b. Child who lays his head consistently down on the table or desk, covering one eye with his arm

c. Child who closes one eye when following a moving object, especially across the body’s midline (across the nose area)

d. Child who skips words or skips down a line when reading

e. Writing becomes worse in the middle of the page or to one side of the page

f. Child has a consistent head tilt to one side of the body

Looking at this “stock” picture, I would recommend this young man having an eye exam!  Please note the head tilt and the paper slant!

Hope you are enjoying the summer!

Puzzles, Parquetry and Writing: Visual Overload

Some children may experience “visual overload” when looking at the busy classroom, a cluttered worksheet, or even a busy blouse worn by their tutor!  Some suggestions to help these students:

  1.  1.Looking away behavior may be a sign of visual overload. Allow periodic breaks when working with visual assignments.
  2. 2. Monitor the lighting as fluorescent lighting can be fatiguing and can also create a glare on the paper. If sensitive to fluorescent lighting, try copying his work on blue, purple or yellow paper instead of white.
  3. When giving instructions, stand in an area that has reduced visual stimulation or have the student view you from an angle rather than from the front if you will be
    surrounded by visual distractions.
  4. If working with an individual child, monitor what you wear opting for softer colors and less patterned print.  As the child looks at you, make sure the area behind you is as uncluttered as possible.
  5. With visually demanding worksheets, fold the paper or block out parts of it using a ruler or index card.  Make sure copies are clearly printed.

Puzzles, Parquetry, and Writing: Paper Modifications

  1. 1. Check the color of the paper: Blue may be helpful for those with visual perceptual weaknesses.
  2. 2. Clearly mark the writing lines:  Anytime the writing lines  change either with color, width, or boldness, explain the difference to the child. With notebook paper it may be helpful to highlight every other space so that the child writes a line of words, skips a space, writes a line of words, etc.  This will help keep the tails of letters such as p, j, g, from interfering with word legibility on the next line.
  3. Mark on the desk where the paper should be placed.Slant of paper and placement does affect quality.
  4. If “hugging the left side of the paper” is a problem, first highlight the left margin of the
    page.  Encourage him to begin at the highlighted edge.  If he continues to
    move away from the highlighted left margin, move the left side of the paper to
    the body’s midline so the child works only in the right body space.
  5. Encourage the student to move the paper up as he writes closer to the bottom of the paper. Many students move their arm off the desk as they reach the bottom of the paper
    which affects legibility.  Encourage him to move his arm across the paper as well to improve legibility.
  6. Make your own paper strips and mark off boxes for each letter to be written in.  Help the child see the outline of the words by drawing around them before writing them.

Puzzles, Parquetry and Writing: Figure Ground Modifications

Figure Ground perception is the ability to see the details separate from a busy background.  Children with visual perceptual issues often have figure ground difficultlies.  I have observed a high incidence of this with ADD/ADHD children in my practice.  Here are suggestions I found helpful:

1.  Make sure an alphabet strip is on the desk.  A child may not be able to see the  isolated letters on a strip placed on a busy wall.

2. Scantron sheets may be a problem as the child moves from the question booklet to the answer sheet.  Allow the child to write in the question booklet rather than on the scantron sheet. If your child has visual tracking problems, try placing the question booklet at the top of the sheet rather than to the side.

3. Encourage desk organization early.  The student may not be able to “see” the pencil in the midst of clutter.

4. Highlight or write assignments in different colors on the board to separate them from other words. Otherwise, the student may miss homework assignments to be copied.

5. Highlight math signs if they change on a math worksheet. If the problems switch from addition to subtraction, have the student first highlight all the addition problems and work these first.

6. Block out portions of the worksheet by using an index card or ruler or by folding the
paper in half.

Puzzles, Parquetry and Writing: Math Modifications

For children with visual perceptual issues, math may be challenging!  Here are some suggestions:

Number charts: When using a number chart, many children with visual
perceptual weaknesses cannot distinguish individual numbers.  Adapt the chart by placing a space in between each line or row of numbers.

Lining up numbers: Many children have difficulty lining up rows of numbers as they solve math problems. Try graph paper or turn a piece of notebook paper sideways to create vertical columns. Graph paper may help with spacing but be aware that a student may be overwhelmed by the multiple lines.

Math Signs: Highlight math signs if they change on a math worksheet. If the problems switch from addition to subtraction, have the student first highlight all the addition problems and work these first.

Worksheets: Block out portions of the worksheet by using an index card or ruler or by folding the paper in half. This will help with “too much on the page”.

Visual horizontal tracking problem: If this exists, many children prefer to work their math worksheets from top to bottom (1, 11, 21, etc.) rather than side to side (horizontally 1
to 10).  Make the child’s teacher aware of the tracking issue so he is not penalized for “jumping around the page” or not following instructions.

Puzzles, Parquetry, and Writing: Modifications Art

Children who have visual perceptual issues as mentioned in previous blogs of this series may need help in art.  Here are some suggestions:

Be aware that drawing may be difficult.  Your child may not visualize the parts of the figure to be drawn.  For example: A house is a square plus a triangle plus rectangles for doors and windows.

1. Have a model for the child to copy from.

2.  If there are overlapping figures, make sure the child sees each figure and how they overlap. You may want to highlight each part.

3. Outline  the figure.

4. Talk your child through how to draw each part.  Model each part by drawing it as you talk.  Ask your child to draw that part.  Praise him!  Be sure your child is developmentally ready to draw that part.  For example do not expect an early four-year old to draw nice diagonals for the roof of the house.  Please see my earlier blogs for developmental skills at various ages for drawing.

5. Encourage step by step drawing. There are many commercially available books with simple figures broken down into steps for children.,, or google “step by step drawing for preschoolers” or “step by step drawing for kids”.

P.S. If your child has trouble coloring within the lines but loves to color, try a velvet poster!  They will have a lovely end product and will practice coloring. However, if you are having your child color for fine motor development, tracing around the outline of the form may be more effective than the coloring within the form.



Handwriting Questions

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 54 other followers


Alphabet Soup: Fun Activities to Stir Your Child's Interest in Letters by Lyn Armstrong O.T.R