Visual Spatial Skills

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Visual spatial orientation skills helps us with letter reversals. Some people considered letter reversals after age seven to be a symptom of dyslexia. While this can be true, the most common cause of reversals in older children is a lack of visual spatial development.

Visual spatial Orientation Skills is the awareness of one’s left and right side, their position in space in relation to other objects as well as the location of objects relative to each other.  This skill is normally developed through the child’s interaction with their environment and can be divided into bilateral integration, laterality and directionality.

  • Bilateral integration is the awareness of both sides of the body and being able to use both sides separately and together in unilateral and bilateral combinations.
  • Laterality is the knowledge of one’s internal representation of their right and left
  • Directionality is their external understanding of other people/objects right and left.

Visual spatial skills are used in the classroom as soon as the child starts school.  Information presented usually has a direction – that is, they start from one side for reading and writing and work in the same direction (left to right).  When they write in a book – it’s also top to bottom.  The letters and words they learn can have different orientations (b,d,p,q, was/saw)

The letters and words they learn can have different orientations (b,d,p,q, was/saw) making it difficult for them to discriminate the differences.  A smart board or black board is traditionally used to present information and spatial skills are used to find their place or the required information.

Signs and symptoms of visual spatial orientation skill difficulty

  • Delayed development of gross motor skills
  • Decreased coordination of balance, and ball-playing skills
  • Confusion of right and left
  • Letter reversal errors when writing or reading
  • Inconsistent hand dominance (right-hand dominant or left-hand dominant?)
  • Difficulty in tasks requiring crossing the midline

What are some of the tests that can measure visual spatial skills?

  • Piaget left/right awareness test
  • Gardiner Reversals Frequency Test
  • Jordan left/right reveral test
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