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.
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:
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- 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.
- 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.
- Balance Beam activities like this shamrock balance beam or this snowflake balance winter gross motor activity.
- 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.
- Toss bean bags
and watch as the bean bag sails into its target. These DIY ice cream bean bags or these snowflake bean bags are a fun way to build oculomotor function.
- Create a marble
run and watch as the marble glides through the toy. Here are fun ways to work on visual tracking with a marble run.
Click on the images below to find more creative movement activities that will improve oculomotor dysfunction: