Understanding and Managing Visual Perception Difficulties

Visual perception refers to the brain’s capacity to understand what the eyes see. This differs from visual acuity which describes how clearly a person can see. It is not uncommon for someone to have 20/20 vision and still struggle with visual perceptual processing. Our multidisciplinary Child Assessment & Rehabilitation department in Dubai can help identify and manage visual perception difficulties.


Visual perception skills help us complete daily tasks like reading, writing, finishing puzzles, dressing, finding an item on your floor or desk, and many other basic skills. Visual perception difficulties can cause difficulties with academic performance, attention and concentration, behavior, frustration, avoidance, and organization.

An example of avoidance is having others perform tasks for them such as having a parent draw a picture or build a model submarine, refusing to help. They are often frustrated with precise hand and eye tasks like writing or playing with blocks. They often refuse to take part in activities requiring visual perception skills.

Children with visual perception difficulties lead to struggling with organising and keeping track of belongings. This is particularly frustrating for children, because they also have trouble finding a missing item among several other items. Academic performance often suffers, because academic tasks are significantly harder to complete. Furthermore, these tasks take extra sustained effort. If the environment is distracting, either at home or in the classroom, children may feel it is impossible to hold onto the effort of concentration long enough to complete the assignments.


Your child may have visual perception difficulties if they struggle to:

  • Complete dot-to-dot pictures or puzzles

  • Differentiate between the letters “b” and “d” or “p” and “q”

  • Reverse letters or numbers when writing

  • Lose her place on a page when writing or reading

  • Remember the difference between right and left

  • Remember where to start reading

  • Sequence numbers or letters in math problems or words

  • Remember the sequence of letters in the alphabet

  • Put shoes on the correct feet

  • Find items on a cluttered desk

  • Discriminate between sizes of objects and letters

  • Remember sight words

  • Complete partially drawn stencils or pictures


Luckily, there are things you can do to improve visual perceptual skills in your children.

  • Incorporate a coloured sticker or dot to indicate which side of the page to start reading from or writing on.
  • Encourage your child to write on graph paper rather than lined paper to help with the sizing and spacing of letters and words
  • Avoid clutter in the home. This eliminates unnecessary stress and confusion.

Activities to Enhance Visual Perception

  • Have your child complete partially drawn pictures
  • Complete puzzles or dot-to-dot worksheets
  • Play memory games
  • Complete construction-like activities with your child such as building with Lego, Duplo, or other building blocks
  • Have your child copy 3-D block designs
  • Incorporate word search puzzles which require children to recognize a series of letters
  • To help your child visualize shapes, allow them to feel the shape. Use bendable pipe cleaners to form shapes and letters, then glue the letters to an index card. If your child is struggling to write a letter correctly, encourage her to touch the letter and feel its shape to help her visualize it.
  • Use flash cards with an improperly written letter on one side and the same properly written letter written on the other side. Ask your child to write the properly formed letter. Then, your child can flip the card over to see if their written letter matches the correctly scribed one.


Your loved ones do not need to live with visual perception difficulties. Help and treatment are available. For more information on how to improve the symptoms of visual perception difficulties, or any of our other services, please fill in the form below.