November 12, 2013

Improving Vision and Movement Skills in Children

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Working on a puzzle while sitting on a floating platform helps improve a child’s visual-motor integration skills.

Does your child have trouble with classroom tasks like reading and writing?

If so, then a visit with an occupational therapist may help.

Occupational therapists help children with two important skills needed for life-long learning: visual-motor integration (hand-eye coordination) and visual perception.

Visual-motor integration (VMI) is defined as the coordination between visual perception and hand movement. Visual perception is a process that includes receiving visual information from the environment and then processing and understanding it.

Learning these skills is important for a child’s development, and there are numerous play and therapeutic activities that can help.

Below are just a few functional tasks that children and adults can do to improve visual perception and visual-motor integration skills:

Activities for Children:

  • Completing puzzles
  • Dressing
  • Following directions in picture form
  • Copying from white board
  • Cutting, writing, drawing
  • Tying shoes
  • Catching/bouncing/throwing a ball
  • Locating objects in environment (e.g. red marker in crowded pencil box)

Activities for Adults:

  • Untying knots, electrical cords
  • Driving
  • Reading schedules (bus, work, etc.)
  • Assembling items (furniture, toys, household items)
  • Balancing checkbook
  • Reading maps
  • Following recipe (grid on box of brownie mix)
  • Reading and understanding charts and graphs
  • Shopping (reading discount grids)

As a parent, when it’s time for you to work on any of the above tasks, you can encourage your child to participate and help you.  Ask her questions and help her through the answers.  It’s great practice!

And for fellow therapists, don’t forget to incorporate these activities into your therapy, when possible.