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What is perceptual organization?

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Joined: Jun 13, 2003
Posts: 548
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Posted Dec 05, 2004 at 4:16:41 AM
Subject: What is perceptual organization?

We just started my son's new neuropsych. evaluation! and the tester gave me a little feedback , commenting on DS's weak perceptual organization. This was mentioned years ago as an area of mild weakness, but I've never really understood what it is. The new tester seems to find it significant (and a possible explanation for the attentional issues we are investigating) so it would help me alot if I could get a grasp on its meaning so I can ask good questions!!

Thanks!

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Helen
Joined Jun 16, 2003
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Posted:Dec 05, 2004 7:41:49 AM

From the book "Assessment of Children" by Jerome Sattler

"The term Perceptual Organization describes the hypothesized ability underlying the factor for both item content (perceptual) and mental process (organization). This fator appears to measure a variable common to the Performance Scale subtests. Block Design, Object Assembly, and picure Completion have high loadings on the Perceptual Organization factor..."

Not very clear is it?

I'll take a crack at defining Perceptual organization.

Perceptual organization is the ability to take in visual, auditory and sensory information and use that information effectively to accomplish a task.

Helen

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Anonymous
Joined Oct 20, 2014
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Posted:Dec 05, 2004 8:10:53 AM

Karen,

I found several general definitions in academic articles--the way certain stimili are group together; the in which persons organize and represent incoming stimulus information. It seems to have to do with cateogrizing and organizing incoming information.

In one article I looked at the vocational implications of someone weak in perceptual organization was that they shouldn't have a job that requires a lot of classifying. Does that fit your child?

There is also an index called perceptual organization index on the WAIS III.

I found this.

Factor 2 was called the Perceptual Organization Index, and assesses nonverbal skills including fluid reasoning, attention to visual detail, and visual-motor integration. Unlike the Performance Scale, it is not as reliant on speed of processing, since it does not include the Coding subtest. This also gets to concept formation that does not require words.

Beth

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KarenN
Joined Jun 13, 2003
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Posted:Dec 05, 2004 5:27:57 PM

I think the reason I can't get my head around this is that the definitions often refer back to the WISC subtests. Well we know he is weaker on the performance side , hence the diagnosis of weak perceptual organization.

Sounds like this is the area (integrating incoming audio, visual, tactile) that gives him his NLD qualities.

Categorizing? hmmm. I'll have to mull that over. He 's often making up games with complicated rules, levels, .... categories. Maybe its his way of trying to compensate. I have one LD friend (adult) who is the most organized person I know. SHe says she has to be that way to function.

We also suspect he has a serious processing speed issue. The results 3 years ago had coding as the real outlying score, with the other performance subtests in the 8-10 range. Not really weak, but relatively weak compared to his verbal skills. What is also confusing is the old neuro eval described his visual perceptual skills as being intact, but I would say based on the vision therapy we've persued that he has some weakness in these areas. Not auditory, or sensory perse. I suspect with him the issue isn't the input, its the integration.

I can't wait to get the results of this go around.

Thanks for helping me understand this area !!

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Anonymous
Joined Oct 20, 2014
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Posted:Dec 05, 2004 7:42:27 PM

Karen,

I think the categorizing your son is doing is auditory based and what I was referring to was visual based.

For me, the most useful way to think of perceptual organization is as a concept that is measured (or operationalized) by some IQ tests. It is NOT the same as the IQ performance part but rather perceptual organization is the underlying concept that is being measured. In statistical terms, the performance tests (minus coding) all load on perceptual organization. The tests each measure a different aspect of perceptual organization--thus variation in the subtests can occur.

One of the articles I found last night was measuring perceptual organization using some other sorts of tests. I couldn't find it this morning though!!

Here are a couple simple sites that may help you put your arms around this.


http://www.scs.leeds.ac.uk/ugadmit/cogsci/percept/pages/vision.htm

http://www.graphics.cornell.edu/~jaf/projects/pn/form.html

Beth

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KarenN
Joined Jun 13, 2003
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Posted:Dec 05, 2004 8:05:11 PM

Good articles.

I think one of the reasons my son scored in the average range, and the old psychologist didn't emphasize this as an area of weakness was b/c he consistently scores very high in figure/ground measures. (off the charts for some reason). But as you say he could have a strength in one component of this area, and weaknesses in others. I think for him seeing the whole from various parts is difficult.

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Anonymous
Joined Oct 20, 2014
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Posted:Dec 06, 2004 1:50:18 AM

My son is much better at whole to part than parts to whole reasoning also. From what I have read this is typical of NLD, so this is probably where the NLDish comes from.

Beth

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KarenN
Joined Jun 13, 2003
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Posted:Dec 06, 2004 2:25:36 AM

Beth ,
can you give me a real life example of what you mean? that would help alot I think...

For what its worth, a friend (mom of my son's buddy) is a child psychiatrist so I posed the question to her. She said perceptual organization is the ability to integrate input from the senses, and in my son's case she would imagine (knowing him as she does...) that a weakness in this would cause him to freeze up when confronted with too many things to attend to at the same time. Referred to it as "flooding" which is exactly what DS's therapist called it. I love it when all mysources are consistent.

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Anonymous
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Posted:Dec 06, 2004 4:18:54 AM

Karen,

Do you think "flooding" is similar to sensory overload? My son used to suffer from that a lot. We couldn't go to restaurants for several years because he found them too noisy, for example. He would sorta shut down and then almost have a temper tantrum if we didn't remove him quickly. He isn't really like that any more. But I don't think this is what you really mean--this behavior is more similar to what you might see with an autistic child.

Beth

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Laura in CA
Joined Oct 22, 2003
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Posted:Dec 07, 2004 9:55:58 AM

Karen,
Did the optomotrist who you did vision therapy with pick up on this?

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Anonymous
Joined Oct 20, 2014
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Posted:Dec 07, 2004 4:17:10 PM

such a good question! I just pulled out the results I got from them.

They administered the Gardner Test of visual perceptual skills. He scored high in visual spatial and visual form constancy, but very low in visual discrimination. Low in Visual memory as well on another test.His overall visual perceptual skills were described as average to above average,. Which is consistent with our old neuropsych eval which describes his visual perceptual skills as "intact". He is consistently off the charts on "figure/ground" (grandpa was a radiologist and daddy is an art expert so maybe there is some inherent skill there?!)

So you can see why I get confused about this. If his visual perceptual skills are average overall (albeit with variability among the sub areas) and his auditory skills are presumed strong - where does it go wrong for him? In the integration? Clearly the psychologist doing the testing has to explain this better to me.

It seems like he perceives the input individually OK, but is overwhelmed when too much or too many different types of input come his way.

Do you understand any of this ?

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victoria
Joined Jun 13, 2003
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Posted:Dec 07, 2004 7:32:06 PM

Here's a hypothesis:

Perhaps he is getting lost in the details, not seeing the forest for the trees.

In my own and my family's experience, we are all hypersensitive in many areas. But when you get too much stimulation coming in, you have to shut it down or else you get lost; and the shutting down can make you *appear* insensitive when actually the reverse is true.

One example of this is "cocktail party syndrome" which I suffer from. If you are listening to a person talk in a quiet space, you hear just fine. But when you are in an area with a lot of competing noise at the same frequency, such as all the voices at the cocktail party, you hear ten conversations at once and it is difficult to sort out the one voice you want to listen to so you don't understand what is being said to you.
I have gotten much better at this; a combination of treatment of chronic respiratory infections and listening to a lot of music has helped. But I still find listening in a noisy environment exhausting and can't manage to focus in classes or committees past a half hour. And in the grocery store where they have fans right over the checkout I always miss what the cashiers say to me and they have to call me a couple of times to get my attention, Lord knows what they think of me.

Another example is that when I was young I could see just fine -- focused very very well on details, in fact too well. I could never do figure-ground type exercises because I was seeing all the parts but not integrating them into a whole. With all sorts of training, including art classes, and glasses for the astigmatism, suddenly this ability snapped into place when I was in my twenties and boy was that a weird feeling.

So a possible explanation of what is going on here is a similar pattern of hypersensitivity and overload which sometimes causes such confusion it looks like a weakness instead of a strength.
Formal music teaching and formal art teaching, which teach separating out details and doing analysis and synthesis, are what helped me and might help in your case too; these things can't hurt of well taught and are worth working on. Direct teaching of handwriting and calligraphy are good. And sports can help with body integration and all those other confusing sensory inputs, especially sports which teach balance and timing -- skiing, swimming, gymnastic and *supervised* trampoline, martial arts, dance (for boys, breakdance is socially acceptable).

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Helen
Joined Jun 16, 2003
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Posted:Dec 08, 2004 8:01:04 AM

It sounds like what might be going on is that if your son is presented with new visual material or new auditory material independent of each other then he does fine. If he is presented with new material both auditoraly and visually he shuts down one modality and concentrates on the other.

Example: Student is handed a worksheet and is told what to do. The student looks at the worksheet and does not hear the directions because he cannot both listen and visually attend to the worksheet at the same time.

If your son had this problem then tests where directions are given before the material is visually shown to him he would score fine.

Helen

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Anonymous
Joined Oct 20, 2014
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Posted:Dec 08, 2004 4:15:49 PM

Thanks Victor and Helen,
I think you are both right, and your examples help me sort this out!

Further informal feedback from our tester still indicates that there are visual and auditory perceptual weakness. The doctor said once my son is able to put it in memory its fine. (He has good working memory and very good auditory memory from what I know.) But that if too much is happening it doesn't make it into memory - sort of slides off of him.

And this is in a class of 6-10 students ina very quiet, structured school. Yikes, makes me wonder how we will ever mainstream him!

But i do think he is improving. He used to have difficulty playing team sports b/c he clearly couldn't watch the ball, watch the other players and move to the right spot at the right time. This is much better after vision therapy and all the other things we do!

Here's some good news that has come out of the testing so far: He is decoding on grade level!!!!!

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Anonymous
Joined Oct 20, 2014
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Posted:Dec 08, 2004 5:30:44 PM

Karen,

Decoding on grade level!! What a triumph for all of you!

I just wanted to say that our NN provider has described my son as an "integration kid." I don't think the break downs are at the same points you describe with your son, however. But it is in the putting together rather than the individual skills that we find his greatest weakness. I think this is more difficult to remediate than the individual pieces.

Based our experience, the good news is that improving any part of the configuration helps. Working on vestibular integration with NN improved his speed of vision processing by several years in one year (even though we did nothing directly with vision). We saw vision efficiency improvements (tracking) when his decoding improved. Basically, we reduced the stress of integration by improving one of his skills.

I think of it this way...even if the primary deficit is integration, it is easier to integrate if the pieces are stronger--less mental effort.

Beth

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Laura in CA
Joined Oct 22, 2003
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Posted:Dec 10, 2004 1:03:22 AM

Hi Karen,
Your quest to figure out exactly how and why these breakdowns occur remind me of my own mission awhile back trying to discover the differences between visual processing and visual perception and how one can have strong visual perception with poor visual processing (you'd think one would need to visually process well in order to develop good visual perception?).

I wish I had some good answers for you. I think a lot of these processing problems our children have are probably neurologically based, and they are extremely difficult to treat. Maybe you and I need to take our boys to Florida this summer for NeuroNet? :wink:

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Anonymous
Joined Oct 20, 2014
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Posted:Dec 10, 2004 5:28:21 AM

I think you are right. Can we include a trip to disney?

This is why I had high hopes for Interactive Metronome back when, but we didn't see much. I still feell there is room for some kind of motor/ OT type of therapy to get at the root. But my son is almost 11 and I wonder how much bang for our buck we can get at this point. We'll see what the report recommends....

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victoria
Joined Jun 13, 2003
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Posted:Dec 10, 2004 8:49:12 AM

Well, for something that will hold a teen's interest and have the most bang for the buck, I'd say do things that are valuable and valued in themselves, with therapeutic effects as a side bonus. Learn to play the guitar, learn to ski, join a swim team, learn calligraphy, do woodworking, learn electronics and build some things from Radio Shack, get Dance Dance Revolution . . . things like that. If possible get a trial lesson to make sure it is possible, and then go for it.

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Anonymous
Joined Oct 20, 2014
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Posted:Dec 10, 2004 4:55:30 PM
Subject:Hi

Laura,

You may be on to something. We did integration work that seems similar to neuronet with vision therapy. I thought the vision therapy we did was such a mix of the best of treatments I have read about on these boards therefore it is difficult to say which of those interventions had the biggest impact.

I mentioned a book called, "Integrating Mind Brain and Body Through Movement" by Etta Rowley which we did as one piece of vision therapy. Some of these relatively simple exercises were very difficult for my son. Interestingly my much younger son had no problem with any of them.

We also did alot of work with metronomes working on right/left differentiation and motor timing.

Some of these exercises sounded similar to the exercises Beth did through neuronet and balametrics.

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Anonymous
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Posted:Dec 10, 2004 5:15:53 PM

On the age thing: my son is 11.5 and we have gone back to doing NN. The developer of NN, our therapist, now uses a CD based program which is more systematic than what she did when Nathan started with her. It is my last ditch effort to fill in all the neurological holes (except maybe doing V and V at some point). There are 7 CDs. She started him on CD 5. He is now on 6.

I also agree with Victoria on the doing the life things that improve skills. The trick is to get kids to the point that they can enjoy those things. My son has turned into a very good drawer from years of therapy. Or more accurately, therapy has made it possible for my son to become a very good drawer. He was a kid whose drawings were immature by several years. Now he sits in his room and draws for hours, trying to reproduce what he sees in books.

Beth

I will let you know what results we see but I will tell you that some of the people she sees are in college. They drive themselves and I presume they would not keep on

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Anonymous
Joined Oct 20, 2014
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Posted:Dec 10, 2004 5:53:31 PM
Subject:Hi

I agree with Beth and Victoria. I really think piano has helped my son. It takes so much integration to play with both hands. He does not progress as fast as some of our teacher's other students but luckily this teacher is patient and he is making progress.

We also do so many sports. I believe my husband has was somewhat remediated from all of the sports he played as a child. My mother in law would complain of her dear husband. He never fixed anything, he was always out there playing baseball, football and basketball with the kids.

My son just started playing basketball. He never played before but really isn't that bad all things considered.

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