Visual Perception: Visual Discrimination

We recently introduced a series of posts on Visual Perception and over the coming weeks / months I’m going to take each area of visual perception in turn and look at the skills and how we can help children develop them – starting with visual discrimination.

Visual discrimination is the ability to discriminate between visible likeness and differences in size, shape, pattern, form, position, and colour. This gives the ability to distinguish between similar words like ‘ran’ and ‘run’, being able to spot the difference or match the same.

Playing matching games for example lotto or snap are a great way to increase children’s observation skills and start to practice visual discrimination.  As they develop the skill lotto games like Red Dog, Blue Dog where the pictures are more similar and need more discrimination are good to practice more subtle visual discrimination. The cards from this game can also be used to discuss why they are the same and why they are different so the red dog and blue dogs are the same because they are both dogs but different because one is red and one is blue.

Matching worksheets – starting with finding the same picture then moving on to shapes, then letters or number and finally whole words (or finding a word in a sentence) are good practice for this skill. As children develop this their matching and searching abilities word-searches extend this skill.

Books that have busy pictures and involve looking for specific items eg. First Hundred Words, First Thousand Words and Everyday Words are also good to help children practice discriminating what they can see (it’s also good fun finding the yellow duck on each page of Usborne books).

Playing ‘Kim’s Game’ will also help develop this skill. Place a number of familiar items on a tray and allow the children to view the objects for one minute. Cover, remove an item and then reveal the tray and see if the children can recall the missing thing.

Spot the difference puzzle books or the Spot the Difference Lotto game also help to develop this skill in a fun way.


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