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In children who struggle, the reversal of letters and/or numbers is common; the reversal of words is uncommon and the reversal of whole sentences is rare. But all reversals have one thing in common, they are caused by
A breakdown in the capacity to form relative
inter-relationships between visual cues
So what does this mean?
At the core of our capacity to process and integrate sensory information is our capacity to relate pieces of information to one another, in order to make sense of our world and everything in it. Just think of a jigsaw puzzle, and how the pieces need to be fitted together in the correct way so that the picture emerges. This is what we are doing at the most basic level within our perceptual performance, and we are doing this constantly across all of our sensory modalities. However, we have to have a very specific skill, and it needs to be working properly in order to do this effectively and efficiently. That skill is the capacity to form inter-relationships between those pieces of sensory information.
Forming inter-relationships naturally allows patterns of sensory information to coalesce – just think of the jigsaw again and how, if we put all the red pieces together, we get to see a pattern in the picture. Fundamentally our capacity to recognise and construct patterns is at the heart of our ability to make sense of the world, but it is our capacity to form those inter-relationships, which allows those patterns to coalesce.
Most things in our world, including objects, environments, situations and thoughts are comprised of a multitude of patterns; however, all of skills, abilities and actions of the body are also comprised of patterns. It is no mistake that we speak of motor patterns and speech patterns, etc, and, these two areas of performance, are excellent examples of how truly profound, our capacity in pattern recognition and construction, and the formation of inter-relationships, actually are.
To add to the complexity of our ability to form inter-relationships, we also have to be able to approach an object, situation or environment, along with any thoughts we have about them, from a multitude of different angles, and still know what they are, what to do with them, or how they work and go together. Basically, we need to know what an object is and what to do with it, no matter what context it exists in, in order for our performance to remain consistent and functional at all times, ie: we have to be able to respond to what we perceive fluidly, spontaneously, instantaneously, accurately and effectively at all times.
Kids who demonstrate reversals are telling us that they are unable to form these crucial inter-relationships. There is a breakdown in their visual perceptual performance, meaning that there is a limitation in how they are able to look at something and make sense of it. Ultimately, this inability to makes sense of all relative relationships in a situation, results in the child having information missing from what they are perceiving. Because all of the task performance we generate, is generated on the basis of what we perceive, their performance in the world will also have that same information missing and will be disrupted by this.
Now the reality is that anyone learning how to do something new, is going to demonstrate gaps in their task performance, along with outcomes that are less than ideal; however, the difference is for these kids is that they do not yet have the skill base, which supports a functional mode of task performance. If we give the child that skill base, and The Visual Perceptual Therapy does exactly that, the child’s struggle quickly resolves, and they go out and get on in life as we would want them to.
Simply put, reversals are always indicative that the child just doesn’t know how the c of a d relates to the down stroke, l.
The question is, does it go here
Or, does it go here
And the child is only ever telling us they do not know where it goes or how to work it out. In The Visual Perceptual Therapy these children always twirl the blocks as well, for the exact same reason – they don’t know how to orient them relative to each other or the pattern they are copying. Fortunately, this can be one of the easiest issues to correct for most kids.
So, if you have a child who reverses letters and/or number, or who struggles in school, I promise that it will be worth your while, to take us up on that offer of a free Skype consultation. You won’t have to leave home or work to do this, since the Skype app is freely available for phones, tablets and pc's.
This free consultation marks VisualPerceptual's commitment for the 2017 year, to debunk the many myths and fables that surround kids who struggle
And, with that, I would like to
Natoya Rose is an Occupational Therapist and developer of the clinically based programs, used to refine visual perceptual performance
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