Every child deserves the gift of reading and writing.

Young children learn through play. By the time they reach school they will have been exposed to countless crucial concepts that provide the foundation for later learning and literacy. For example, they are likely to have developed spatial skills by completing jigsaw puzzles, building with blocks and making craft. Similarly, they may recognise some numbers, spot their names in print and be able to recall details of pictures, indicating the development of visual memory skills. These are key visual processing skills that will impact significantly on the development of their literacy, numeracy and problem-solving skills.

As a child progresses to school, some may have difficulties consistently identifying their letters and numbers; have poor sight word recall; reduced reading fluency; present with frequent letter and number reversals; have inconsistent sizing and spacing of letter formation and rely heavily on phonetic spelling.   These difficulties can be a source of significant frustration to an otherwise capable child and are common indicators of visual processing difficulties. An Occupational Therapist can assess and provide cognitive strategies to assist develop these skills. Often by modifying the learning approach to cater for your child’s learning strengths, enables them are to better retain information.

Time management and organisational skills are also crucial to a child’s ability to function and can be addressed by an Occupational Therapist.

Visual processing

Visual processing refers to the way we interpret what we see. There are 7 areas of Visual Perception, namely Visual Spatial Relations, Visual Closure, Visual Memory, Visual Sequential Memory, Visual Figure Ground, Form Constancy and Visual Discrimination.   Difficulties in these areas may commonly manifest as:

  • Frequent letter reversals
  • Inconsistent letter sizing and spacing
  • Confusion between upper and lower case letters
  • Difficulties copying from the whiteboard
  • Difficulties grasping mathematics concepts
  • Poor sight word recall and reading fluency
  • Poor spelling of non-phonetically spelled words

Occupational Therapy intervention to address these skills can significantly improve your child’s functional performance whilst also contributing to an increase in confidence.

 

Useful Information Links

https://spdaustralia.com.au/the-visual-system/

https://dsf.net.au/

https://www.understood.org/en/learning-attention-issues/child-learning-disabilities/visual-processing-issues/understanding-visual-processing-issues

Literacy

Reading remains the primary source of information gathering in the school system. Consequently, if your child is experiencing literacy difficulties, they are unlikely to be able to access the curriculum as effectively as their peers. This can have a significant negative influence on their self-esteem and contribute to anxiety and frustration. An Occupational Therapist can assist you to identify and address the underlying difficulties your child may be having.

Children require a diverse range of skills to function effectively in the classroom. These include organisational and time management skills. For example, many children become overwhelmed when confronted with large, complex assignments. An Occupational Therapist can assist by modelling goal setting and breaking the task into small, manageable steps. Organisation of packing their school bag, use of a diary and filing of notes is also critical to a student’s ability to cope independently in the classroom and can be addressed in therapy.

Assessment and use of technology to support learning and to aide specific disabilities / learning difficulties is also an area that your Child’s Occupational Therapist may assist with.

 

Useful Information Links

https://dyslexiaassociation.org.au/

https://dsf.net.au/

https://www.canchild.ca/en/diagnoses/developmental-coordination-disorder

https://www.speld-sa.org.au/

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