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Worth Repeating: How Do Fine-Motor Activities Develop Visual Perception in Special Needs Students?

By: Barbara Smith, OTR/L

As young children manipulate toys they develop visual perceptual skills to discriminate shapes, sizes and how objects relate to one another in space. These early visual perceptual skills will later help them discriminate letters- the first steps toward reading and writing.

What Is Visual Perception?

You may be wondering- How do fine-motor activities develop visual perception in special needs students? Visual Perception is the brain’s interpretation of what is seen. This enables children to identify objects, discriminate colors, sizes and shapes and learn to read and write. Young children learn these skills by manipulating objects and this learning begins during the first six months of life as babies shake toys, grab their toes and reach out to pop bubbles. These early movements teach babies about spatial relationships.

Playing With Toys Teaches Spatial Relationships

“Spatial relationships” refers to how objects relate to one another and the space around them. Developing the visual
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