3. Practical advice and tips for carers > Perceptual Problems

Perceptual Problems

4) Visuo spatial loss

Spatial awareness is the perceptual ability to know where objects are located, including their own body, to the space they are in. Stroke can affect the person’s ability to find their way around a familiar environment. They may have problems following a familiar route walking to a local shop. They may knock over objects by over reaching. People with spatial awareness difficulties can have problems sorting clothes and putting them on. It becomes more difficult to judge how near or far moving objects are for example when crossing a road.

Figure ground is our ability to identify an object from its background. For example a white t-shirt on white bed sheet. Which objects are in the foreground and which are in the background. For example a very difficult situation for the person with visuo spatial loss would be on a moving escalator. Judging when to step on and off , the depth of the step and the movement as it changes. Sometimes even milk in a white cup cannot be seen by the person.

Image courtesy of www.freefoto.com

Carers can help by asking the person what they are able to see and changing the surroundings to make contrasts of colour or texture in everyday objects. Contrasting backgrounds can sometimes help. For example lay out dark coloured clothes on a light coloured bed cover so they are easier to see. Clothes can be arranged on a bed in the order they should be put on making sure they are not inside out. Put contrasting coloured tape at the edge of the steps on the staircase so the edge will be easier to see and make sure the staircase is not too dark.