Spatial Awareness is being aware of oneself in space. It involves positioning items in relation to oneself, such as reaching for items without overshooting or missing the object. Most of us realize as we walk through a doorway that we need to space ourselves through the middle of the door. Some with poor visual spatial skills may walk to closely to the sides and bump the wall. It also involves the fine motor tasks of coordinating handwriting with writing in spaces allowed on paper, placing letters within an area (lines), and forming letters in the correct direction. Spatial Perception is made up of three areas:
Position in Space- where an object is in space in relation to yourself and others. This skill includes awareness of the way an object is oriented or turned. It is an important concept in directional language such as in, out, up, down, in front of, behind, between, left, and right. Children with problems with this skill area will demonstrate difficulty planning actions in relation to objects around them. They may write letter reversals after second grade. They typically show problems with spacing letters and words on a paper.
Depth Perception- Distances between a person and objects. This ability helps us move in space. Grasping for a ball requires realizing where the ball is in relation to ourselves. Kids with deficits in this area may have trouble catching a ball or walking/running/jumping over an obstacle. Copying words from a vertical plane onto a horizontal plane may be difficult and they will have trouble copying from a blackboard.
Topographical Orientation- Location of objects in an environment, including obstacles and execution of travel in an area. Kids with difficulties in this area may become lost easily or have difficulties finding their classroom after a bathroom break.