What are visuospatial skills?

Visuospatial skills allow us to visually perceive objects and the spatial relationships among objects. These are the skills that enable us to recognize a square, triangle, cube or pyramid. They allow us to retrace our way across the city because we have a visual map in our memory from the last time we made the trip. They allow us to know that the car is closer to us and smaller than the building just behind the car. They enable us to realize that the car we see two blocks away is actually about the same size as the car that is just in front of us, even though it appears to be much smaller. Most of what we analyze visually would take many, many words to describe (remember the adage that a picture is worth a thousand words) yet we do it visually in a fraction of a second. Visuospatial skills include a wide variety of individual skills that vary from recognizing brightness/darkness, identifying complex intersecting angles and curves to recognizing faces from the shape of eyes, noses, mouths and hair. Impairment of these abilities can have a devastating effect on even simple daily functions that we take for granted. Imagine walking one block away from your home and not being able to find your way back! Fortunately, it appears that whether impairment to visuospatial skills was due to an accident or was present from birth, rehabilitative work in this area can greatly enhance functioning and thereby improve ones ability to function in daily life.

Comments are closed.