Visual Motor Control & Visual Perceptual Skill

Visual motor control is the ability to coordinate visual information with motor output, and visual perception is the ability to recognize, recall, discriminate and make sense of what we see. Both are underlying components of catching a ball, forming letters properly between lines, reading and cutting on lines.

Children can have difficulty with visual-motor skills for a variety of reasons. Some may not attend visually. Others may have difficulty controlling movement or processing visual information. Still others may be challenged when coordinating visual input with motor output. Visual perception correlates with cognitive skill and sensory integrative functioning. There are many aspects to visual perceptual skill and subsequently many presentations of visual perceptual difficulties. A child may be slow in recognizing letters or numbers and may have trouble with the spatial demands of letter formation. He may commonly reverse letters after second grade or be unable to self-correct his work merely because he is unable to discriminate visual information well enough to detect problems. Ball games, sports and common playground activities may be extremely frustrating for children with these issues.

After we determine the nature of the problem, we use a multi-sensory approach to address the area of need. Specifically, we design activities to integrate vestibular and proprioceptive input with visual demands. We enlist the whole body and mind in focused, functional activities to achieve our goals. You may see us working on a swing throwing beanbags at moving targets, building structures according to models, or strategizing to complete puzzles. We may practice reading letters from near and far positions while shifting our balance, directly practice writing on chalkboards or lined paper or review written work to learn to self-correct.

To help the child gain independence, compensation strategies may be explored in addition to remediation. For example, a window cut out of a blank index card may help a child to read by reducing visual distractions. Graph paper with colored columns for the various numeric positions may aid a child to line up math equations properly. For writing on a computer, word prediction programs may help the child with poor visual memory for spelling and delayed phonemic awareness to write. Whatever the form of intervention, our goal is to increase function and help your child to feel good about what he or she can accomplish.