This is the third installment in our Sensory Spotlight series.
The visual system is responsible for the body’s ability to perceive and interpret one’s surroundings using visible light. Children with visual processing issues may have trouble recognizing slight variations in color or brightness, gauging the size and distance of objects, reading, or concentrating in bright, busy environments.
Visual seekers may:
- Be attracted to shiny, moving, or spinning objects.
- Be attracted to bright, flashing, or blinking light.
- Prefer bright, busy or specific shapes, colors, and patterns.
- Seek out stimulating movies and video games.
Support seekers by:
- Scheduling time throughout the day to sing, clap, and make noise.
- Providing a variety of colors and patterns in toys, décor, and clothing.
- Encouraging play with toys and games that have flashing or blinking lights.
- Encouraging play with flashlights or using nightlights at bedtime.
- Allowing and encouraging a healthy amount of screen time.
Visual avoiders may:
- Be bothered or overwhelmed by shiny, moving, or spinning objects.
- Be bothered or overwhelmed by bright, flashing, or blinking light.
- Prefer solid, muted colors and very simple patterns.
- Avoid crowded, chaotic spaces and messy rooms.
Support avoiders by:
- Being conscious of colors and patterns in toys, décor, and clothing.
- Avoiding toys and games with flashing or blinking lights.
- Turning lights down or off and keeping curtains or blinds closed.
- Keeping lights on during screen time.
- Encourage wearing sunglasses when needed.
Visual discrimination challenges may cause a child to:
- Have difficulty recognizing or distinguishing between letters, numbers, and symbols.
- Have difficulty judging the distance between himself, other people, and objects.
- Have difficulty recognizing key characteristics of objects, such as size, shape, and color.
- Have difficulty reading emotions or facial expressions.
Support discrimination challenges by:
- Playing category and matching games to practice grouping like items together. (“Can you find everything in the room that is a circle? Every picture in this book that is related to sports or food? Every car on the road that is red?”)
- Playing the “same or different” game to practice distinguishing between numbers, letters, and symbols. (“d and b, 5 and S, S and $–are these the same or different?”)
- Playing outdoor games, such as catch or soccer, to practice coordination and gauging the distance between objects.
- Having your child help with household chores that have a large visual component, such as matching socks or sweeping the floor.