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Activities to Improve Visual Motor Coordination in Children with ASD


Block play activities require a steady hand and precision in picking up blocks and positioning or aligning them on top of each other.

Visual motor coordination, also known as eye-hand coordination, is an essential skill for children to develop, which involves the integration of visual information along with motor movements or skills (Falcy, 2020). In other words, it is the ability to coordinate one’s eyes and hands to perform tasks that are critical for children’s development.


Apart from being able to easily carry out daily activities such as buttoning clothes, using utensils and pouring water, having good visual motor coordination is beneficial to developing a child’s independence. With good visual motor coordination, a child will have the appropriate skills to perform tasks independently, which in turn increases their self-sufficiency and confidence in their abilities. Additionally, visual motor integration is positively associated with learning and achievement across various domains such as reading and writing skills in Language, and visual perceptual skills in Mathematics, improving a child’s academic performance (Grissmer et al., 2010). A study conducted by Kopp et al (2010) found that children with ASD who had better visual motor coordination had higher scores on measures of academic achievement, particularly in Math and reading.


Stacking blocks

Block play activities require a steady hand and precision in picking up blocks and positioning or aligning them on top of each other. This allows children to improve their hand-eye coordination and visual perception (The OT Toolbox, 2020).

Bigger objects such as books or tissue boxes might work better for younger children or children who are still developing their visual motor coordination. Thereafter, a range of blocks can be provided for children to stack. To make it more challenging, different objects of different sizes can also be incorporated into this activity, when the child is ready to move on to stacking smaller or bumpy objects like rocks.


Threading

Threading or stringing items is a great way for children to work on their bilateral coordination and boost their concentration. Picking up smaller objects encourages the use of pincer grasp, developing children’s fine motor skills. Children can thread items such as cut straws, cut toilet rolls, beads, or even uncooked pasta. This can also be a great way for children to work on or skills such as patterning or sorting by colours.


Playdough

Playing with playdough or clay can also develop children’s fine motor skills and visual motor coordination. Children can use tools or their hands to roll, tear or even cut the playdough to create shapes or simple pictures like a house. Alternatively, a picture template can be provided for children to form the shape of using playdough.


Tracing

Tracing worksheets can provide a child with practice in using visual information on the worksheet (i.e. the lines that they see) to guide the movement of their hands (i.e. tracing the line). Younger children can start by tracing simple lines (e.g. straight, curved, zigzag) or shapes (e.g. triangle, square, circle). Older children can focus on tracing simple drawings or letters and numbers. Dot-to-dot tracing worksheets can also be provided, where children can trace along the numbers to form a picture.








(WorksheetFun, 2013)

(My Teaching Station, 2013)

Transferring activities

Scooping items or pouring liquid are visual perceptual motor activities which can further develop children’s motor skills (The OT Toolbox, 2021). These are also essential skills of everyday activities such as scooping up food onto their plates, or pouring milk into a cup.


Tools such as bowls, scoops or spoons can be provided for children to scoop objects into a container. As always, starting off with bigger and lighter objects like ping pong balls will be easier for children to scoop at a time as compared to smaller objects like pebbles.


Children can start off pouring liquids into bigger bowls or cups and move on to objects with a smaller opening, like water bottles. Once ready, children can move on to using only one hand or pouring only up till a certain amount, denoted by a line or marking.


Written by: Mary-Anne


References:

Falcy, E. (2020, June 3). Visual motor integration: 8 simple activities for children. NAPA. https://napacenter.org/visual-motor-integration/


Grissmer, D., Grimm, K. J., Aiyer, S. M., Murrah, W. M., & Steele, J. S. (2010). Fine motor skills and early comprehension of the world: Two new school readiness indicators. Developmental Psychology, 46(5). 1008-1017. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0020104


My Teaching Station. (2013). Dot-to-dot elephant printable worksheet. https://www.myteachingstation.com/preschool/math/numbers/dot-to-dot-elephant-printable-worksheet


The OT Toolbox. (2021, September 7). Scoop, pour, transfer activities. https://www.theottoolbox.com/scooping-pouring-transferring-develop-refine-fine-motor-skills/


WorksheetFun. (2013). Dot to dot- Banana- Numbers 1-10- One worksheet. https://www.worksheetfun.com/2013/10/13/preschool-dot-dot-worksheets/


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