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Strategies for Visual Spatial Processing Difficulties

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Parenting a preemie can be tough and it's important to find ways of coping and looking after your own health. It can also make you feel more in control if you can learn some great strategies to help with your prem's learning and development.


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Finding a balance and a way forward

Parenting a preemie can be challenging and is a significant life transition. It is important that you find time and ways of taking care of your own health and wellbeing. Eating well, staying fit and healthy, and getting enough rest and relaxation are vital for optimal health. Maintaining and caring for relationships, especially with your partner is also important. If you need it, don't discard the option of professional assistance. Also, find advice about optimizing development and learning strategies to help with thinking & behavior difficulties.


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Strategies for Visual Spatial Processing Difficulties

Some children, whether they are born preemie or not, have difficulties with some aspects of thinking. This section provides some recommendations for specific skills that are important for learning.

When attempting to intervene or accommodate for a students’ difficulties in the classroom, whether it is memory, attention, or executive functions, it is important to consider the classroom culture as well as teaching style. Ideas that will benefit more students have a better chance of success.

Strategies for Visual Spatial Difficulties

 

Visual spatial skills refers to processing visual information so that you can move around in an environment, orient appropriately, accurately reach for objects, understand visual patterns, and the ability to shift gaze to different points in space

(de Vega, Intons-Peterson, Johnson-Laird, Denis, & Marschark, 1995)

Children with visual spatial processing problems may have difficulty in some of these areas:

  • Visually imagining something
  • Remembering their left and right
  • Copying information from the board
  • Navigating unfamiliar environments
  • Noticing small detail differences between objects
  • Manipulating objects
  • Accurately comparing visual lengths and angles
  • May become overwhelmed in cluttered, messy, or crowded spaces
  • Mathematics

Strategies at Home

The following details some ideas to help children with Visual Spatial Processing difficulties

  • Encourage your child to maintain a clean and uncluttered workspace so they don’t become easily visually distracted.
  • Encourage your child to explore new environments, under supervision.
  • Encourage games and activities that help practice manipulating and constructing objects.
  • Practice visual tasks, like jigsaw puzzles, work find puzzles, and “spot the difference” pictures.

If you are concerned ask your paediatrician for a referral to a neuropsychologist for assessment. 

 

Strategies at School

  • Emphasise verbal instructions rather than relying only on visual displays, such as drawing, graphs, and diagrams.
  • Provide copies of teacher notes rather than rely on them copying from the board.
  • Encourage the student to proof read for accuracy and reduce the pressure for working quickly
  • Try using graph paper for mathematical problems so that numbers can be easily aligned in columns and minimise the potential for placement errors. Encourage the student to utilise plenty of space and to only do a few problems on each page.
  • Encourage student to talk themselves through visual spatial based tasks.
  • Provide plenty of activities that provide opportunity to practice manipulating materials.
  • Encourage the student to clear their workspace between each new task, this will reduce the clutter and prevent them from becoming overwhelmed and visually distracted.
  • Use stories, anecdotes, and examples, when referring to information on the board.
  • Promote lots of discussion and encourages questions.
  • Should focus on extending the student sight vocabulary and word recognition to assist with their spelling and reading. Have the student keep a word journal that they can refer to often

 

 


AlbertEinstein_iconOne of the greatest minds in history, Albert Einstein was born preterm.

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Preemie, Premmie, or Prem?

Most babies spend between 38 and 42 weeks in their mother’s uterus. So, technically a preterm birth, preemie, premmie, or prem, is an infant who is born less than 37 completed gestational weeks. 


Read More: Defining Preterm birth


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