A student with visual spatial difficulties involving sequencing (a series of facts, items, concepts) often has difficulty with organization, evaluation and noting the relationship between various concepts or facts. They may exhibit this by experiencing difficulty understanding the spatial relationship of numbers, such as how far apart are 2,4,6,8,10 or 425,625, 825. They often do not see the relationship of various aspects of geography, history or science. For example, they may not be able to visualize the relationship between a continent, country, county, state, and city. Or, they may not be able to visually picture in their minds the sequential development and relationship between a caterpillar, cocoon and butterfly. Sometimes weaknesses in spatial relationships can effects a students written material and they experience difficulty with copying from the board or their textbooks, or in organinzing items that they are writing on a page. They may also experience difficulty visually recalling the sequential order of letters in a word for spelling. Some students experience difficulty judging distances such as understanding the dates and their distance apart on a time line. For some students any task that involves looking at material and seeing the relationship and sequential order is difficult for them.
There is, however, much that can be done to help students who experience a weakness in visual spatial relationships. Verbal explanations given simultaneously with visual presentations are tremendously effective in helping students with visual spatial difficulties note relationships and understand the sequential order of the information. Whenever possible educators should draw, discuss and point to information shown on diagrams, charts, graphs, maps, and grids with information listed in an organized or sequential order. Gradually the students should be encouraged to explain and discuss the information so that they learn to interpret charts, graphs and maps and begin to fully understand the relationships independently. Students should also be encouraged to create their own grids and charts, at first with your guidance and then independently.
Comparison and contrast is an essential comprehension skill needed for students to understand the relationship of various items. Stress should be placed on the discussion and explanation of the differences. For example, with a grid educators can have students compare the difference between the Greek and Roman empires. Written at the very top of the grid would be the words, Greeks Romans . Then underneath at the top of the page, the students can have three columns, one that says Same, one that says Greeks- Different and another that says Romans-Different . At the left hand side of the paper there could listed in a separate boxed off column the terms for each main category of Gods, Government, Attire, Foods, and Architecture and then three boxes to the right of each category. Then in the boxes to the right of these categories the students can write the differences and similarities filling in the box that is appropriate for each culture. For example, for the category of Government in the Different column, she might put down "democratic" under Greek but "semi-democratic-emperor" under Roman. In the Same column for Government, they could write down "high taxes." It is helpful also for students to mark the differences in red, and the information that is the same in blue. This helps them organize in their minds the relationship of the information in the categories of Same and Different.
Oral directions along with written directions are extremely important. Also highly recommended is the teaching of the PQRST study method. ( This study technique can be located online with a search for PQRST). It is a very organized systematic way to study history and science. Along with this study technique, instruction should involve learning how to take notes in an organized outline fashion, making up charts, graphs, and grids wherever possible. In addition, shortcuts for studying that use mnemonics is very effective for students. For example, if students are studying the planets in order from the sun, they will learn the sequence quickly if they think of the sentence, My Very Elegant Mother Just Served Us Nine Potatoes and think of each initial letter as a trigger for the names of the planets (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto).
Since students with visual spatial relationship problems often experience difficulty with spelling or visually recalling terms, the teaching material entitled, Achieve: A Visual Memory Program is also highly recommended. It is a program designed to develop visual sequential recall of words for reading and spelling. It is easy to administer and higly effective when administered for 10-15 minutes, two to three times a week. Levels I-II involve basic vocabulary in grades 1-3, Levels III and IV, are based on 4th through 6th grade vocabulary, and levels V & VI involve basic 7th and 8th grade words. Students learn to visually recall words which in turn helps them to develop a good solid sight vocabulary, remember the sequential order of letters in words for spelling, and to find it easier to recall terms for history and science.