Fortunately if there is an issue with visual memory there are easy things you can do that will have a positive impact on your child’s written work in the future.
Yesterday my boys went for an eye test with a wonderful optician we’ve been going to for years. She explained that some children struggle to recall even their basic everyday surroundings when put to the test, and that these same children usually have a problem with their written work at school. Hmm! I love to pick up on these useful little tips from experts…
When you think of something, or read about something in a book, a visual image of it should pop up into your brain. This is something that some children really can’t manage very well. Perhaps it’s because there are usually fantastic illustrations of all the images referenced in fiction and non-fiction texts before the child’s brain has to do any work? And possibly this is exacerbated by our fast-moving modern world where children have become used to multiple, flashing images on-screen.
So why not do a little sneaky test with your own child? Ask them to describe their bedroom in detail. Some children can do this easily, but those who struggle with visual memory often can’t. Exercises like this one can be made a bit more sophisticated by putting random objects on a tray and then covering them and seeing how many your child can remember. But there’s no need to go to that much trouble, and you need to be careful it doesn’t become a chore.
This is the test that the optician showed me:
Print it up and give it to your child to memorise for as long as they need. 20 or 30 seconds is usually enough. Then ask a couple of questions about it.
Can you list the digits in order?
Which two were the same colour?
If your child struggles with either of these questions – but particularly the first – then a regular visual memory game each day is something you may wish to slot into your usual routine. At some point in the day – around the breakfast table or in the car on the way to school – just pick out a familiar place and go about describing it together. Or write out a little number sheet of your own using different coloured pens!
The more you do these exercises together, the easier they will become. And this should be followed by an improvement in their written work at school.