Doris-Duan Young Autism Center (DDY) Image Credit: Supplied

Does your child experience difficulty in writing, throwing a ball, or tying their shoes? Do they have trouble exerting the right amount of effort needed to complete a task (e.g. pushing too hard when they are writing or not able to pull the zipper all the way up)? The ability to successfully complete these movements are made possible through your child’s visual motor skills.

Visual motor integration, also referred to as visual motor skills (VMS), is the process of coordination and communication between our visual and motor systems. VMS is a multi-faceted system that influences many body processes (e.g. fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, kinesthesia, motor planning, and visual perceptual skills). To make it simple, VMS allow us to use the hands, legs and the rest of the body’s movements with what the eyes perceive, in a coordinated manner. The brain processes what we see to decide whether we need to make an adjustment in our movement like holding an object tighter, moving your hand closer or pushing a box harder. Visual motor skills are essential to perform activities such as building blocks, catching a ball, writing, cutting shapes or pictures, and playing video games.

Why are visual motor skills important?

Visual motor skills are important for a child’s development. Children need sufficient visual perceptual abilities to work appropriately in school and at home. When these skills are compromised, a child might have difficulties in participating in sports, coloring shapes and/or pictures, tracing lines, writing as well as in self-care activities such as buttoning and tying laces.

Signs for visual motor skill difficulties include:

● Difficulty copying lines, numbers and letters

● Difficulty with buttoning and tying laces

● Difficulty catching and/or kicking a ball

● Difficulty copying patterns

● Poor line awareness in handwriting

● Difficulty pouring a liquid from one container to another

● Difficulty stacking blocks

● Difficulty with puzzles

● Difficulty keeping place when reading and writing

If your child is experiencing any of these difficulties, The Doris-Duan Young Autism Center (DDY) is the best center to consider for an occupational therapy consultation. The occupational therapists at DDY are trained to assess visual motor skills difficulties and provide a proper intervention specific for your child’s needs. They all have experience in working with children who have difficulties with visual motor skills, engaging them in activities that make use of other body systems such as tactile, proprioceptive, visual and auditory. They use a standardized tool called the Beery-Buktenica Developmental Test of Visual Motor Integration, or the Beery VMI. This tool helps the occupational therapist develop goals and provide a proper intervention according to your child’s needs.

As the COVID-19 pandemic challenges all of us worldwide, DDY continues to make sure that it operates in accordance with local and international health protocols while continuously providing quality services. All occupational therapy sessions are conducted in disinfected rooms with sanitized equipment while maintaining social distancing. In addition to current health protocols, DDY’s clinical team remains updated on current research in all areas of services provided, including supporting children with visual motor skill difficulties. DDY is committed to be an Expertise That Cares.

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