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Activities to strengthen Perceptual Reasoning

By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D

Q: My son's scores for the PRI (last two Wechsler IQ tests) have always been high. His last PRI was 119. For the block subtest and the Picture Concepts my son scored above average and for the Matrix Reasoning he receive an average score.

Can you suggest any games or activities that we can do with my son to encourage, strengthen and maintain this type of reasoning? Thank you.

A: There is little information here (age of child, other scores and detailed scores) so I would give a rough indication of what can be done. High PRI scores indicate high visual perception and organization, and reasoning with visually presented nonverbal material to solve the types of problems which are usually not taught in schools. Block design also requires visual-motor coordination and the ability to apply all skills in a quick, efficient manner. High scores reflect both accurate and very quick responses.

In Matrix Reasoning the child is presented with a partially filled grid and asked to select the item that properly completes the matrix. This part measures fluid reasoning. which describes a child's skill at grasping nonverbal concepts (i.e., shapes, designs, visuospatial patterns) such that she or he can identify missing or incorrect aspects of those concepts and complete or correct them. This skill is used in many activities where one must identify objects, locations, landmarks, and the like by shape. Fluid intelligence also is used in tasks where one must design a thing (e.g., parts of a device) to be able to fulfill certain requirements.

An average to low score on Matrix Reasoning may demonstrate mild problems processing visual stimuli and some difficulties with nonverbal reasoning skills.

To increase PRI, general teaching methods that consist of making visual-motor tasks easier for the child should be used. For e.g., use of large print, large copy work, minimizing distracting influences, guides for visual-motor work, gross-motor exercises, and others can be used. For finer coordination, activities can be gradually introduced when the child progresses (e.g., physical education or gymnastics).

These children also benefit from auditory teaching methods. If the child is young, activities that involve identifying and recognizing letters is essential (e.g., matching letters or whole words). The child will also benefit from finding and outlining forms, pictures, and even letters that are hidden in a large picture. Puzzles (with various designs, letters, pictures, words, etc) are also very helpful. Make sure that left-to-right orientation should be reinforced by aiming at a target moving from left to right. Structured art and free drawing such as tracing, copying, finger painting, coloring, and other similar activities are beneficial as well.

Having said that, it is crucial that your child sees some success since difficult academic tasks may give the child a sense of failure and discouragement. Allow for some somewhat messy and disorganized work with help on how to progress each time. Hope the above helps.


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