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  • Writer's pictureDr. Lisa Marnell, OTD, MBA

Research Round-Up: Visual Perception and Handwriting

Updated: Jun 26, 2019


How can we improve handwriting that's not exactly legible?

Some ideas include the following:

* Address Fine Motor Skills

* Improve Visual Motor Intergration (a sub-set of eye-hand coordination)

* Teach Letter Formation in a way that kids will recall letters

* Address Visual Perception . . . WAIT! WHAT IS THAT EXACTLY?

Visual perception is the ability to make sense of visual information and includes categories such as visual discrimination, visual memory, visual closure, and visual figure ground, to name some.

Think about it: If a child cannot differentiate well between complex shapes, then how can he to copy letters and remember details, such as the letters' direction, orientation, its parts, or whether it falls below the line or reaches tall above it?


Researchers in China wondered what effect addressing visual percepti

on would have on handwriting.

You can see the study here!

Published in 2017 by The American Journal of Occupational Therapy two scientists worked with 28 first and second graders who were all diagnosed with dysgraphia (handwriting difficulty). For six weeks researchers worked with half of the kids in the following way:

"The focus was on training visual–perceptual . . . activities, which focused mainly on visual perception, including visual discrimination, visual memory, visual closure, and visual searching (e.g., match the picture, object, direction, sequence with one of the choices; identify the figures partially hidden; draw the missing parts of the picture)."


Good news!

Researchers found improvement in two different areas. One was in the childrens' ability to copy at near and far-point with fewer errors. The other was in their speed of copying from a point far away.


Addressing visual perceptual skills CAN improve a child's copying speed as well as reduce the number or copying errors.

So, let's work on Visual Perception! Visit our website page at KIDS MASTER SKILLS to learn more about visual perception.

Are you following me on Facebook Pinterest or Instagram? Please do! Keep up to date as I post more tips to help teachers and parents help kids master skills!

Lisa Marnell MS, OTR/L

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