What are Visual Spatial Relations

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Knowing which shoe to put on which foot.  Understanding that a “b” has a bump on the right side.  Putting homework on the left side of the take home folder before putting books into a locker beside the gym bag.  Visual spatial relations are everywhere! Visual spatial skills in occupational therapy activities are an important skill.
Visual Spatial Relations is an important visual perceptual skill that is important for many functional tasks.  Visual spatial relations allows the organization of the body in relation to objects or spatial awareness.  This is an important part of spatial awareness in handwriting and many other movement-based activities.  An important part of visual spatial relations includes laterality and directionality.  These terms refer to left-right body awareness and the ability to perceive left/right relationship of objects. 

What are visual spatial relations and how are visual relationships and visual concepts needed for functional tasks?

The following tasks require visual spatial relations:

Letter formation and number formation
Writing letters without reversal
Reading letters without reversal
Completing puzzles
Walking in a crowded hallway without running into others
Standing in line without bumping into others
Left/right awareness
Understanding spatial reasoning concepts such as beside/under/next to/etc
Reading without losing one’s place
Copying written work with appropriate spatial awareness
These activities all require the ability to perceive an object in space.  The way they interpret position in space to their body and to other objects in the environment impacts motor skills.  
Spacing pieces of a puzzle amongst the others and writing in relation to the lines is one way to work on this skill.
This map activity is great for building and developing spatial concepts and higher level thinking right in the backyard, using a map and lights to develop spatial relations. Teaching Spatial Concepts to Preschoolers and Toddlers through play. Over, under, around, and through and their need in functional tasks like shoe tying and handwriting. Visual Perception and spatial awareness in kids.  What is Spatial awareness and why do kids have trouble with spacing between letters and words, reversing letters, and all things vision.  Great tips here from an Occupational Therapist, including tips and tools to help kids with spacing in handwriting. What is spatial awareness?  Tips and tools for handwriting, reading, scissors, and all functional skills in kids and adults, from an Occupational Therapist.

Try these other activities that challenge visual spatial relations:

Concentric Circle Painting
Line Matching with pipe cleaners
Color matching Elmer Activity
Word building with nature
Line awareness heart maze
Finger dexterity exercise
Winter scissor activity-cut icicles
Pencil Control candy cane
Sight word match with string
Giant motor planning maze
Line awareness bead picture
Create your own race track

Letters on the garage door

What are visual spatial relations and how are visual relationships and visual concepts needed for functional tasks?

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