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.
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
Poor letter formation
Lack of pencil control
Inconsistent spacing or sizing of letters
Difficulty copying written work
Trouble throwing and catching a ball
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
Color, cut, and paste activities
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