Signs & Symptoms

Depth Perception

Is your child unable to guess how far away something is?

Some children seem to be ‘uncomfortable in their own skin.’ As a parent, you might constantly be saying, “watch out,” “you bumped into someone,” or “watch your step.”

You may feel like your child is more likely to get injured doing day-to-day tasks because of poor awareness of his or her surroundings. Children with these challenges often bump into walls or door frames because they inaccurately judge how big the space is.

Some children with these issues have trouble in sports due to lack of awareness of how far away the ball is or how much speed is required to catch up with an opponent.

Some children with these issues ‘don’t know their own strength,’ That is, they apply too much force when moving or attempting to tackle someone in football. The result is that others may think your child is a bully or is careless. In fact, your child may simply not be aware of where his body is in relation to the objects around him.

What do challenges with Depth Perception look like?

  • Not connecting a bat with a ball?
  • Having trouble entering a tunnel slide or water slide?
  • Needing to be reminded to “Watch your step?”
  • Bumping into things?
  • Bumping into walls walking down the hall?
  • Falling down a lot?
  • Having difficulty throwing and catching a ball?
  • Having trouble reaching for items at the dinner table?
  • Not judging how far apart the monkey bars are?

Why is Depth Perception happening?

Challenges with depth perception may also be related to visual tracking, which is visually following words on a page as you read or an object as it moves through space. Thus, your child may have trouble seeing how fast or how far something is moving. The problem could also be proprioception, which is awareness of one’s own body. A child with these difficulties might find it challenging to judge the distance in space between himself and other objects around him. Spatial perception: Your child may have trouble actually seeing where things are supposed to be, for example, not knowing how far the bed is from the wall might lead to bumping into the wall every time the child gets up in the morning. The reason to be concerned here is if your child is getting hurt a lot or is really struggling in sports and other movement activities. In that case, a physical therapist can help.

How can I manage Depth Perception at home?

Some children with more serious issues with depth perception may have difficulty walking and running, get hurt a lot, and may suffer from self-esteem problems as a result.

Other children may simply have a mild delay in terms of the development of depth perception. In order to decide how seriously to take this concern, parents should consider whether or not this problem is ‘getting in the way’ of life and learning.

If you have concerns about your child’s depth perception, it may be helpful to have his or her vision checked by an eye doctor. Any concerns should be noted in a visit with your child’s pediatrician. It may be necessary to consider any significant medical influences on balance and coordination.

In this case, children are often referred to physical or occupational therapists for treatment. Physical therapy (PT) is warranted if gross motor movement like walking or running is impacted; Occupational therapy (OT) is warranted if fine motor skills are impacted.

Finally, some children with more serious depth perception challenges may struggle with reading or math. If your child’s learning is impacted, it is important to talk to the school about any potential supports that could be needed in the classroom.

For example, your child may need help when building a model or performing a physical demonstration in class. When working in a group, he may be assigned to a less visually demanding task, such as doing the research or presenting the material verbally. However, more minor challenges with depth perception may remediate after the child has more time to practice and develop. Sports like gymnastics and swimming may help your child strengthen these depth perception abilities.

Activities to help increase your child’s depth perception

  • Placing objects on 3 stairs and giving directions (e.g., move the pencil in front of the plate, move the teddy bear behind the scissors)
  • Building an obstacle course with certain objects to avoid hitting
  • Placing a spaghetti noodle vertically in playdoh and placing cheerios on it
  • Board games, such as Scatterpillar Scramble, Operation, Pick-up-Sticks, Elefun, and Avalanche Fruit Stand
  • Playing nerf basketball, ring toss or badminton

How can Clear Child Psychology help with Depth Perception?

If your child is struggling with this symptom to the point that it is getting in the way of his or her learning, relationships, or happiness, it’s time to seek professional help.

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Our Free Discovery Session is a 20-minute consultation where we can talk one-on-one about the concerns and questions you have about your child.

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Our Initial Consultation allows us to get a deeper understanding of your child’s needs and determine if an assessment is appropriate.

We Build a Customized Plan

Our Assessments allow us to determine your child’s specific strengths and challenges. We can use this information to develop a customized support plan which includes: referrals

We Connect you with the Right Professionals

Once we understand your child’s needs, we will help families get connected to the right specialists. No more guesswork, no more wasted time and resources.

We Provide Ongoing Coaching and Support

Our Coaching Packages allow us to continually support families as they continue their journeys. Parental coaching, life-skills practice, and school advocacy are just a few examples of ways we help.

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