Considerations when assessing urban South African children with the Developmental Test of Visual Perception 2nd edition (DTVP-2)

Mariska Smith, Marieta Visser, Rita van Heerden, Jacques Raubenheimer


Background: Occupational therapists (OTs) in South Africa (SA) use visual perceptual measurement instruments standardised in other countries. The Developmental Test of Visual Perception 2nd edition (DTVP-2) is frequently used by OTs in SA, although its suitability is questioned regarding its use among the population of children in SA. A later version of the test (DTVP-3) has become available in 2013.

Methods: This article reports on a quantitative, descriptive investigation into the suitability of the DTVP-2 for English-speaking children aged 5 years and 6 months to 5 years and 11 months, from the City of Tshwane (COT) in SA. One hundred and thirty-four (134) children were selected from English Language of Learning and Teaching (LOLT) schools in the COT. The motor-enhanced subtests of the DTVP-2 were administered according to the prescribed method, and the motor-reduced subtests were administered with an adapted stop rule method.

Results: The findings showed that the DTVP-2 scores of the SA children varied from the American normative sample, with differences observed mostly in the visual closure, visual-motor speed and form constancy subtests. More accurate results were found in the visual closure subtests when the prescribed stop rule was excluded.

Conclusion: The DTVP-2 should be used with caution to measure children's visual perceptual skills. Alternative measurement instruments should be used or specific instruments more suitable for the South African context need to be developed by local OTs.


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ISSN 0038-2337 (print), ISSN 2310-3833 (online)

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