Visual motor skills are an umbrella term that encompasses visual skills, motor skills, and visual perception skills. Visual motor skills involve effective coordination between the use of your eyes and the use of your hands. Strong visual motor skills allow you to look at a shape and then draw the same shape correctly, shoot a basketball through a hoop, and write legibly. Poorly developed visual motor skills will result in these types of tasks being much more difficult.
Your eyes, brain, and hands should all work together and communicate effectively to make activities easy for you to do. Activities such as tying your shoes, zipping up your coat, drawing, writing, playing, coloring, and cutting rely on visual motor skills.
Identifying issues with visual motor skills is crucial to being able to develop and strengthen visual, motor, and visual perception skills. Some indications that may point to visual motor difficulty are:
1.Poor hand-eye coordination
2.Difficulty copying text
3.Poor penmanship, misshapen letters, or an awkward pencil grip
4.Difficulty completing maze challenges, I Spy books, or scanning other pages for information
Strong hand-eye coordination takes information from what we see, processes it in our brains, and uses that information to coordinate our hand movements quickly and effectively. Pen control and handwriting relies heavily on efficient communication between hands and eyes. You can improve your coordination by:
1. Practice completing puzzles and mazes
2. Use I Spy books
3. Practice gross motor skills, like throwing and catching
4. Use a pencil grip to ensure you are holding your pencil properly
5. Practice forming letters correctly until it becomes a habit
6. Try to learn to juggle; this can help improve your peripheral visual motor skills
7. Throw a tennis ball at a wall and catch it; make it more challenging by catching and throwing with different hands or using multiple balls at a time
8. Practice dot and grid pictures, where you look at a drawing on a grid and try to copy the drawing accurately on your own grid
9. Play action video games such as Call of Duty or Assassin’s Creed
10. Take up boxing or martial arts to encourage motor skill development and coordination
11. Use building toys such as LEGO or a 3D puzzle
12. Get a coloring book; controlling your hand to stay inside the lines helps coordination develop, especially if it is an adult coloring book with intricate drawings
13. Practice cutting out different shapes, increasing the difficulty as you improve in accuracy
Difficulty printing properly, coordinating hand movement with vision, and copying text can all be indicative of poorly developed visual, motor, and visual coordination skills. There are many different activities you can practice to reduce your challenges with visual motor skills and improve your fine motor skill accuracy. Continue to increase the difficulty of these activities in order to develop strong visual motor skills.