Activities to Improve Oculomotor Dysfunction | The OT Toolbox

Activities to Improve Oculomotor Dysfunction

Oculomotor function refers to the six muscles surrounding each eye.  These muscles work together to produce controlled eye movements.  When there is oculomotor dysfunction evident, a child may have difficulty with depth perception, visual attention, visual memory, visual perceptual tasks, visual scanning, spatial disorientation, eye-hand coordination, balance, or reading and writing tasks.  You can see how these difficulties closely resemble problems that result from vestibular or proprioceptive dysfunctions.  Likewise, kids with oculomotor dysfunction often times have difficulty with visual motor skills.  If ocuolomotor dysfunction is suspected, children should see a developmental optometrist for assessment.

Once a diagnosis is made, there are many things you can do to improve oculomotor dysfunction in occupational therapy.

Try these activities to improve oculomotor function with kids.

The activities below are ones that challenge the muscles of the eye in coordination with movement changes.  Looking for more movement activities? Try these:

Childhood development and action rhymes

Farm theme brain breaks

Try these activities to improve oculomotor dysfunction:

Affiliate links are included. 
  • Balance board- This is a great price for a child's balance board.  THIS ONE is great for older kids or children who seek more movement or challenging movement patterns.
  • Directional Jumping
  • Hopscotch
  • Write the letters of the alphabet in random order on a small ball (a softball works!).  Ask the child to hold the softball and rotate the ball to spell words.
  • Experience movement and direction changes with sequencing arrows.
  • Crawl through an obstacle course with a bean bag or pillow on the child’s back.  They can crawl along a masking tape course while keeping the object from falling from their back.
  • Hit a soft ball/balloon/crumbled paper with a tennis racket or paddle.
  • Zoom ball-as kids to keep their eyes on the ball.
  • Toss a large beach ball with letters or words written on it.  When they catch the ball, they should look at and say one word that is closest to their hands.
Movement activities to help improve oculomotor function

Click on the images below to find more creative movement activities that will improve oculomotor dysfunction:

Ooobleck recipe and sensory play with a marble run! This is awesome sensory play and creative fine motor work when kids scoop and pour the oobleck into the marble run.  Watching the oobleck slowly run down the marble run is so mesmerizing and calming!

Water table activity for kids: use a marble run and water beads for scooping and pouring fine motor and sensory fun this summer!