Visual motor integration is the ability for your child’s hands and eyes to work together to guide their movements. Their eyes tell their brain how to move, and then their brain tells their hands to move there. Visual motor integration is the ability to incorporate visual information that we perceive with our motor skills in order to correctly execute movement of our arms, legs, and body. Visual motor skills are integral to efficient and coordinated movement which allows your child to successfully engage in daily occupations. Visual motor integration is important for handwriting, playing, feeding, and much more.
Visual motor deficits or difficulties may present in a variety of ways. Your child may have difficulties with staying within the lines when they color, catching or kicking a ball, fastening buttons, tying their shoelaces, as well as many other gross and fine motor activities. These tasks develop throughout toddlerhood and may take time for them to master.
If you notice that your child struggles with any of these tasks, pediatric physical and occupational therapists are able to provide visual motor integration interventions.
Common activities that require the use of visual motor skills include coloring within the lines, copying words/shapes, writing within the lines on a piece of paper, and participating in gross motor activities that require well-time movements such as catching or hitting a ball. These skills work hand in hand with many other skills including oculomotor control, and visual perception to make up visual processing which is the ability to make sense of what we see. Listed below are 8 different visual motor activities that can help improve visual motor skills. As you can see, there are various activities you can encourage that foster visual motor integration for your child!
These can improve visual scanning, where the eye looks top to bottom or left to right, which is important to pick out relevant information.
Finishing a maze on paper requires the eyes to tell the hands how to move just the right distance without going over the edge.
This activity helps guide your child’s hands to color just the right amount to fill in each space without going over the edges.
Visual motor skills aren’t just for tabletop! Throwing a ball back and forth requires your child’s eyes to tell their hands which way to move when the ball is coming towards them. Modify this activity by using a balloon as it’s bigger and falls more slowly!
Your child’s eyes work to tell their hands which piece goes where, and which way to turn a piece to make it fit together (or into the slot for wooden puzzles).
Elena Falcy is a pediatric occupational therapist candidate at NAPA Center. She loves cold days when she can wrap up in a blanket and engage in one of her favorite hobbies, cross-stitching. One of her goals in life is to visit every national park in the United States.
At NAPA Center, we take an individualized approach to therapy because we understand that each child is unique with very specific needs. We embrace differences with an understanding that individualized programs work better. For this reason, no two therapeutic programs are alike. If your child needs our services, we will work closely with you to select the best therapies for them, creating a customized program specific to your child’s needs and your family’s goals. Let your child’s journey begin today by contacting us to learn more.