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Milestones for Visual-Spatial Development

Visual-spatial reasoning involves understanding and analyzing visual information, predicting spatial relationships, and making sense of what is seen. The development of visual-spatial reasoning skills starts early in life and progresses as a child grows.


Poor visual-spatial skills are closely tied to a child's ability to understand the positioning and orientation of objects, including letters, in space. When these skills are underdeveloped, kids can have trouble distinguishing where a letter begins and ends or which direction it should face. For instance, understanding the difference between "b" and "d" isn't just about recognizing two distinct shapes but also about comprehending their spatial orientations. Without a solid grasp of these spatial concepts, kids might frequently mix up such letters.


Here are some key developmental milestones leading to robust visual-spatial reasoning:

  • Birth to 3 months:

    • Tracks objects with eyes.

    • Starts to reach for objects.


Grasping for Objects

  • 4 to 6 months:

    • Begins to grasp objects and explores them with hands and mouth.

    • Starts to show depth perception (judging distances between objects).


  • 7 to 9 months:

    • Begins to understand object permanence (knows an object exists even if it's hidden).

    • Starts crawling and navigating around obstacles.


  • 10 to 12 months:

Stacked blocks

  • Can stack two blocks.

  • Begins to understand spatial relations (e.g., in/out, on/off).


  • 1 to 2 years:

    • Builds towers with blocks, reflecting an understanding of balance and symmetry.

    • Begins simple shape sorting activities.

    • Recognizes pictures and images, and can point to known objects or people.


  • 2 to 3 years:

    • Can complete simple jigsaw puzzles.

    • Draws basic shapes like circles and lines.

    • Begins to understand concepts like under, behind, near, and far.


Prewriting Skills

  • 3 to 4 years:

    • Engages in more complex building and stacking activities.

    • Begins to replicate patterns.

    • Can navigate familiar places.


  • 4 to 5 years:

    • Understands left vs. right.

    • Can draw a person with at least 3 parts (e.g., head, body, legs).

    • Completes more intricate puzzles.


Right or Left

5 to 6 years:

  • Starts to draw in three dimensions (3D).

  • Understands maps and can follow a simple map to locate a hidden item.

  • Can recreate patterns and sequences.


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