Why Visual Motor Skills Are Important For Your Child’s Development

Visual motor skills are an important in helping us perform all types of activities throughout the day. For example, writing, playing catch, and constructing puzzles are all examples of visual motor skills. These skills help a person to integrate visual input and motor skills. Since these activities are comprised of several different skill sets, it is important to understand where the disconnect is coming from. A child must use visual processing skills, visual perceptual skills, and motor skills when completing visual motor tasks. A child with visual motor difficulties may have problems processing visual information; meaning how their eyes move and process visual input. These skills include convergence of the eyes, visual fixation, and visual attention. Another child with visual motor difficulties may have problems with visual perceptual skills; meaning how they make sense of visual input. These skills include visual memory, spatial relations, figure ground discrimination, and many more. Yet another child with visual motor difficulties may have problems with their motor skills, either fine or gross motor. An Occupational Therapy evaluation can help determine where the problem is stemming from and establish goals to target the area.

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Red Flags for Visual Motor Difficulties In Children:

There are some things to look out for, when wondering if your child has visual motor difficulties. If you notice any of these, it may be beneficial to have your child evaluated by an occupational therapist. 

  • Difficulty copying shapes or block structures

  • Reversing letters

  • Poor letter formation

  • Lack of pencil control

  • Inconsistent spacing or sizing of letters

  • Difficulty copying written work

  • Trouble throwing and catching a ball

  • Clumsiness

  • Difficulty with puzzles

  • Difficulty keeping place when reading and writing

Activities to Try at Home:

Visual motor activities are more common than you may think, and very easy to incorporate into daily life. Here are a few ideas to try at home!

  • I Spy games

  • Visual mazes

  • Dot-to-dot activities

  • Puzzles

  • Color, cut, and paste activities

  • Playing catch

  • Hopscotch

  • Bozo buckets

  • Use a popsicle stick to help with tracking while reading

  • Highlight top and bottom lines on 3-lined paper to help with letter sizing

  • Search and find books

  • Building with blocks or Legos

Melissa Melnick, MOT, OTR/L 
Oak Tree Developmental Center
1640 N Wells St
Unit 103, Chicago, IL 60614
Phone: (312) 642-4300