What Are Visual Motor Skills and Why Are They Important?

visual perception skills

Do you know that you can measure your visual skills? This ability is an essential factor that helps individuals perceive visual input and respond with a motor movement. Otherwise known as visual integration, our ability to create gestures through visual processing is an essential skill that we develop from childhood. If you’re wondering what are visual motor skills for, you’ve come to the right place. We will discuss all you need to know about this particular skill and explain why it is so important.



What Are Visual Motor Skills?

When you see a baseball coming right at you, what do you think your initial reaction would be? Most people will respond either by moving their hands to catch it or place their arms across their face to avoid getting hit. This response is what most people call eye hand coordination.

Visual-motor skills are the ability to use our eyes and hands in a synchronized and productive manner. Typically, sudden motor movement happens due to combining visual acuity, motor skills, and visual perceptual skills.


Why Are Visual Motor Skills Important?

Since our visual and motor skills are the foundation for most of our day-to-day activities, visual processing is essential. An individual can efficiently complete tasks because their vision and motor systems communicate effectively with one another.

However, if the brain cannot correctly interpret the visual input, the muscles can receive incorrect signals. This concern might result in incorrect motor responses leading to injuries that can be life-threatening.


How Are Visual Motor Skills Developed?

how to improve visual motor skills

Since integration between visual acuity, perception, and motor skills is crucial, establishing its connection early as childhood is vital. Visual processing, or the ability to interpret what we perceive, is a crucial component for developing visual-motor integration. Thanks to this process, we can recognize shapes, faces, letters and sense the orientation of objects.

Luckily, with good practice, it is possible to develop one’s visual perceptual skills. Through a variety of exciting games, you can encourage your child to sharpen their visual-motor skills in the comfort of your home.

Here are some of the most common integration exercises you need to try:


Ball Skills

Perhaps one of the most effective ways to improve visual perception is through the use of balls. By doing so, your child will try to kick, throw, hit, and catch balls, which will boost their eye-hand coordination. You can start introducing the task by making use of large balls with slow speed. As the child adapts the skill, you can progress to more delicate balls and switch to a faster pace.


Tracing and Stencil Activities

Using dot-to-dot puzzles, coloring books, and completing mazes, you can enhance a child’s visual acuity. These activities acquaint your child with various letters, numbers, and shapes, which can broaden their perception towards a string of lines.


Block Stacking

You can help your child sharpen their visual perception by playing with toys that introduce various shapes and designs. Several pieces of research have proven that a child’s creativity develops from infancy up to toddler years. During these years, they are naturally curious, and their perception of things will start to make more sense. It is the perfect time to let them explore their skills, starting from stacking techniques and transitioning to interlocking items to widen their imagination further.


How Do I Identify Concerns with Visual Motor Skills?

If you suspect your child might have challenges with their visual-motor skills, it is best to consult with your pediatrician. Your child might not have vision disorders or fine motor skill issues, but there could be a possibility that the connection between their motor and vision systems isn’t as functional as it should be.

You can see the following symptoms in children with visual-motor integration issues:

  • Trouble accomplishing and completing puzzles
  • Difficulty in writing and distinguishing letters, shapes, and numbers
  • Issues in tracing, coloring, and cutting
  • Inability to accurately copy designs
  • Navigating concerns
  • Challenges in throwing, grasping, and catching items


How Can I Seek Professional Help? 

occupational therapy what are visual motor skillsIf you notice a considerable challenge with a person’s visual-motor skills, you can begin by having an ophthalmologist or optometrist perform a detailed vision test. You can also check with your medical doctor in cases of motor skill concerns. Suppose none of these tests show significant issues, perhaps occupational therapy is necessary. Occupational therapy provides patients with an intensive, supportive approach, one step at a time.

An occupational therapist may use a systematic examination to determine a child’s actual level of competence concerning his visual-motor skills. This evaluation gives the OT valuable knowledge about the child’s vision and motor skills and whether the child should be behaving with his or her age.

Through an in-depth analysis of the patient, the therapist will adopt a personalized treatment plan. During each session, the therapist performs a series of multisensory activities to improve issues associated with visual processing. This treatment allows an individual to explore different sensory experiences and sharpen their response, enabling them to bring visual perception into action.

By doing so, the patient will gain proper coordination skills, thus improving their quality of life.


Final Thoughts

Visual-motor skills are essential to make it easier to perform our daily routines. Therefore, disorders with visual and motor integration can make it challenging to participate in various activities, awareness of their surroundings, managing responses, and performing simple tasks.

If you notice someone having difficulty in their visual and motor abilities, it is best to talk to a professional immediately. With early detection and intervention, you can resolve these issues and ensure improvements in performing different activities.

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