Visual Motor & Writing
What are Visual Motor skills?
Visual motor skills involve the integration of visual information with motor output in order to use the hands and the eyes in a coordinated manner. More specifically, this skill area requires the use of visual information that is perceived in one’s environment (i.e., line on a piece of paper) to execute efficient motor patterns (i.e., cut along line with scissors). Visual motor skills are a foundational skill for many functional activities, including tying shoelaces, writing one’s name, copying from the board at school, and catching a ball.
Signs of challenge in this area include...
Difficulty coloring inside the lines
Challenges with copying letters, numbers, and shapes
Difficulty aligning scissors with paper for cutting
Avoidance of or difficulty with participation in sports activities
General clumsiness or trouble with coordination
Why is this important?
Visual motor skills impact a child’s ability to perform at an age appropriate level in the classroom, which can affect confidence, self-esteem, and participation with peers. Academic learning tasks such as writing letters and numbers, completing math problems, and copying shapes such as circles and squares are heavily visual-motor based.
In addition, visual motor skills impact a child’s level of independence with self-care, as this skill area is involved in many functional tasks, including lining up a zipper, pushing a button through a hole, pouring water into a cup, and scooping food onto a spoon to bring to mouth.
Lastly, visual motor skills influence a child’s ability to successfully interact with his or her environment. They are involved in functional play tasks, such as placing beads on a string, solving a puzzle, and stacking blocks to build a tower. Additionally, visual motor skills are required for larger body movements, such as throwing and kicking a ball with peers and participating in movement games such as hopscotch.
How can ot help?
Occupational therapists can aid a child in developing effective visual motor skills that enable him or her to feel confident and successful in the classroom, on the playground with peers, and during self-care at home. Interventions are designed to be fun and engaging, with examples included in the following: copying a silly sentence from a model, tapping a balloon back and forth, connecting dots to form shapes and letters, and rolling a ball to knock down bowling pins.