Visual spatial difficulties in children may not be as easy to detect as auditory processing challenges or other visual processing weaknesses. Understanding visual spatial relationships is so critical to math and reading that the topic deserves our attention and understanding.
Signs of Visual Spatial Difficulties
Does your struggling reader show signs of difficulty in any of the following areas?
- Place value or aligning numbers appropriately
- Interpreting graphs, charts, diagrams or map.
- Reversing numbers, letters or words
- Visual tracking, as in skipping or repeating lines while reading
- Locating items or gathering materials at the end of the day
- Tracing and cutting
- Inconsistent spacing in written work
This is not an all-inclusive list. For example, some students who struggle with visual spatial awareness have trouble with personal space, may bump into things or stumble on curbs or steps. They may easily become physically lost, or often lose their place in books or on tests. They may have trouble seeing the big picture, focusing too much on the details.
Visual spatial awareness challenges are also not the only reason students may have trouble with spelling, or tracking, or sequencing.
That said, if you know or suspect that a child has weak visual spatial skills, you can help strengthen these skills in a number of ways. I offer just a few suggestions below.
- Consider helping your child learn to subvocalize. If a task requires multiple steps in a specific order, students can quietly or internally say the steps until the task is complete.
- Checklists may help highly disorganized students gather their materials at the beginning or end of the day.
- For students who skip lines, easily lose their place while reading, and/or habitually reverse numbers, letters and words, take a look at How to Help Children Strengthen Visual Tracking Skills, and Why for added support.
- For students who struggle with sequencing such as remembering phone numbers, spelling words in the proper order, or even remembering the order of the alphabet, visual sequential memory activities may help.
- Finally, provide struggling students with puzzles, puzzles, and more puzzles! Visual Spatial Puzzle Play can help you do just that.
Visual Spatial Puzzle Play
This printable puzzle pack includes ten puzzles in both color and black and white. You or your students cut out sixteen puzzle tiles to use when solving each puzzle. Each tile is 1.5” which you may attach to 1.5” building blocks if you so choose. Otherwise, use the tiles as is and help strengthen fine motor skills in the process.
Three levels of play for various skill levels make this activity perfect for multi-level homeschools, classrooms and therapeutic environments. The included suggestions for increasing and decreasing the challenge expand not only the visual spatial skill development but the art aspect of this “Art-for-Brains Activity” as well. One alternative use for these puzzles is a simple stand-alone art activity.
Want to learn more? Visit Visual Spatial Puzzle Play in my TPT store now.