Strategies are cognitive processes that support successful performance of visual cognition skills. It has been shown that good strategy users are more successful with visual cognitive tasks. Children can be taught problem-solving strategies and then they are enabled to discover additional strategies that will support their skill acquisition. There are three types of strategies: domain-specific or goal-specific strategies that achieve a specific part of the task, monitoring strategies that evaluate the success of the strategy, and higher order or global strategies that are used to control and coordinate other strategies.
DOMAIN-SPECIFIC OR GOAL-SPRCIFIC strategies are often used for a short time and are often tasked or situation specific. These are taught to the child by the therapist. They are used to solve specific performance issues as they arise.
Situational strategies can be domain or goal specific. These could include the following:
Scanning: learning organized movement for scanning the environment to gather information.
Visual imagery: visualizing what one is looking for before initiating a visual search allows the child to have a visual image of what he or she is looking for.
Organization: organizing visual information in the environment whenever possible.
Visual analysis: silently verbalizing specific characteristics to help ascertain the meaning or function of the object. This might include the shape, size, and thickness of an object. This process is similar to verbal mediation.
Todd (1999) suggested giving specific attention to the distinctive features of a visual stimulus (letters and numbers) through highlighting and verbal enabling to enhance visual discrimination learning. Verbal enabling involves emphasizing these characteristics of a visual stimulus through verbal, visual, kinesthetic and tactical cues and referring to other familiar objects that have the same distinctive features. The child then uses the strategy of emphasizing distinctive features of letters and numbers and then memorizing them. verbal labeling involves using speech to provide a name to a visual stimulus. This helps to also provide another type of input to be paired with the visual stimulus.
Strategies that can be used to increase visual attention include the following:
- Taking time-outs from a task
- Attending to the whole situation before attending to the parts
- Searching the whole scene before responding
- Monitoring the tendency to become distracted
- Devising time-pressure management strategies
The importance of getting the correct visual information for learning cannot be overemphasized. First the child needs to have good attention to the task, which allows the visual information to be stored in memory.
Monitoring strategies that can be taught to the child which can be used for self-monitoring a visual perceptual task. These strategies include the following:
- Anticipation: this is learning to predict potential difficulty in certain situations. The correct anticipation of problems leads to the ability to plan and initiate the use of strategies by the child.
- Checking outcomes: interpretations are double-checked, which then allows the child to correct errors.
- Pacing: learning when to slow down or speed up while doing tasks that require visual cognitive analysis.
- Stimulus reduction: reducing the amount of visual information to be perceived at one time.