Pattern Recognition Part 1

Through Ages & Stages

Youngster tracing the elements of a card to enhance pattern recognition
Youngster assembling a pieces to resemble the pattern on the card

Pattern recognition, the ability to code information by analyzing features, comparing them with memory, and predicting what is likely to happen next is an essential aspect of learning.

Sometimes the information to be recognized is  presented in the  auditory mode, such as when saying and repeating  numbers from 1-10 or letters, or when singing the “Alphabet Song”.  At other times the information might be presented in the visual mode, such as when images of numbers, letters, or a diagram for assembly is shown. 

The ability to recognize and recall which set of information the data is associated with is crucial to academic and social success

Student demonstrating pattern recognition by following directions while building

Coding and data processing skills are used throughout the lifespan

This youngster is learning to code how bits and pieces of shapes come together for form letters.  He will also learn to identify the sounds each  letter makes.  Later in school he will learn to combine the letters to form words and sentences to communicate ideas.

Student demonstrating pattern recognition by using manipulatived to build letters

Although pattern recognition is now highly thought of  in the world of Information Technology, these skills originate and continue to develop  from preschool through adolescence.   Giving problems solving activities to children in language, visual, and tactile modes helps them to develop emergence of task analysis skills. 

Student demonstrating pattern recognition by pulling out a figure matching the image on a tablet from a bag.

What You Can Do to Help Develop  Pattern Recognition Skills

The ability to code  information begins during infancy through a process commonly referred to as association.  This process can be initiated through a variety of  sensory channels.  For example, when the infant begins to identify the scent of the mother, an association is formed. The child learns to associate that particular  scent with a  specific face and to anticipate specific types of touch with the mother.  Later on during childhood, the process develops further through sensory channels such as vision and sound. 

Pattern recognition develops best when one sensory channel is paired with another.  For example, with the activity shown below, the child was asked to point to each piece and tell what is was, and where it should go before being allowed to pick up and manipulate the piece into place.  This learning strategy is used in school based Occupational Therapy and is commonly termed “show and tell”.   Parents and teachers stimulate this type of learning when they set up learning experiences with paired sensory input.

Building peices matched to their images on a direction sheet
Completed helicopter made from directions on sheet

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