VIsual Perception: Memory

Visual perception child with glasses

We are continuing our Visual Perception blog series that focuses on the 7 specific skills comprising visual perception. In the last post, we learned more about Visual Discrimination and how to help your clients, students, or children improve it. Next up is Visual Memory! 

Knowing which specific skill area(s) your child struggles with will aid in choosing appropriate and effective treatment activities. In addition to OTs, there are specialized optometrists called developmental optometrists (or behavioral optometrists) who evaluate and treat these skills.

Visual memory, as its name suggests, refers to the ability to recall visual information. It is essential as children learn to read and write. Children who are learning the alphabet are visually memorizing each letter and associating it with the name of that letter. “Sight” words are also retained via visual memory. The children memorize the pattern of lines and shapes that make up the letters to a word and learn to associate that pattern of lines and shapes with the word itself.

The same goes for children who are learning to write letters and words. They must have an accurate “picture” of each letter and word in their minds before they can write them independently. If their visual memory of a letter or word is not accurate, it will be formed or spelled incorrectly when they write it. When copying from the board in the classroom, children with visual memory deficits may require extra time due to difficulty retaining the information in their minds long enough to transfer it to their page.

Visual memory is an extremely important skill. If you think your child might be struggling with visual memory–good news! It can be practiced and improved! Check out the list below for ways to improve visual memory.

*If you have concerns about your child’s vision, we always suggest that you first consult with your child’s optometrist or ophthalmologist.*

Tips and Tricks:

  • Our pre-made downloadable Visual Memory packet is perfect for busy adults who want to quickly and effectively improve their child’s visual memory. Find it in our Teachers Pay Teachers store or our Etsy store!
  • Memory card games (also sometimes called “Concentration”) like this animal set or this dinosaur set
  • Try laying out a few household objects (start with 5 or less and increase as your child is able) on a plate or tray with a hand towel covering them. Uncover the tray and items for 10 seconds as your child commits the items to memory, then re-cover. Ask your child to name as many of the objects on the tray as they can.
  • A variation of the game mentioned above is to repeat the first step of showing your child the items on the tray then replace the towel covering. Next, however, you discretely remove one or two objects from the tray. Raise the towel and show your child the objects that are still left. Can he or she name the items that are missing?
  • If your child enjoys Legos or blocks, form a tower with various colors of pieces and present it to your child. Be sure they have access to pieces of the same colors. After about 10 seconds, hide your tower and have the child attempt to re-create it using the same pattern of colors. This also works well with stringing beads of various colors if your child enjoys beads more than blocks.
  • Card games such as Uno or Crazy 8’s encourage visual memory because players must remember the rules in their minds as well as remember their cards and what cards other players have used.
  • Spot the Difference pictures
  • Simple Jigsaw Puzzles – try using a puzzle that is less difficult than the puzzles your child typically uses. Show them the picture of the completed puzzle (usually on the cover of the box) for about 10 seconds, then hide the picture while they attempt to complete the puzzle based on their memory of the completed picture.

What are your favorite activities to address visual memory? Let us know in the comments. Stay tuned for our next visual skill post– Visual-Spatial Relationships!

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