Visual Motor Skills
What are Visual Motor Skills?
Visual Motor Skills enable an individual to process information around them. The ability to observe, recognize, and use visual information about forms, shapes, figures, and objects makes up our visual motor abilities. Visual motor skills include a coordination of visual information that is perceived and processed with motor skills, including fine motor, gross motor, and sensory motor.
When a child performs activities involving motor tasks, they are using visual motor skills.
Red flags for visual motor skill difficulties include:
Poor line awareness in handwriting
Poor margin use in written work
Difficulty copying written work
Trouble recognizing patterns and completing hands-on math problems
Difficulty catching or kicking a ball
Trouble with movement games like hopscotch.
Difficulty with sports
Difficulty drawing and copying pictures or shapes
Difficulty with puzzles
Visual Motor Skills are made up of many areas related to vision and the ability to perceive sight with relation to movement of the hands and body in functional tasks.
What if you suspect vision problems?
When vision problems are suspected after a screening by the OT, it is best practice to refer the family to a developmental optometrist.
A developmental optometrist will complete a full evaluation and determine the need for corrective lenses, vision therapy or a home program to address vision concerns.
As occupational therapists, it is imperative that we rule out vision problems before treating handwriting or delays in visual motor integration, to ensure the best possible trajectory of development and success for the child.
Visual perceptual skills make up an important component of visual motor skills. For children, these abilities are necessary for so many things…from self-care to fine motor skills, to gross motor skills…all parts of a child’s development require visual perception. There are many pieces to the giant term of “visual perception”.
There are many resources related to visual perceptual skills here on The OT Toolbox:
When it comes to vision, there is so much to learn! Start by checking out Visual Motor Integration developmental milestones for age-appropriate skills that children typically master from age 0-5.
Activities to help develop visual motor integration:
Eye-Hand Coordination Activity for Kids
Hand-eye coordination is using the information received through the vision system to coordinate the hands with control, in order to complete a task, such as handwriting or catching a ball.