Occupational Therapy (OT) addresses hand-eye coordination, i.e. the Integration of visual information with hand movement. Hand-eye coordination is the ability to use our muscles and our vision in tandem. This requires development of visual skills, like visual acuity, and muscle skills. OT can help with strengthening of the muscles in the eyes and hands while enhancing neural pathways to improve everyday functioning.
These skills impact many aspects of life. In its absence, most children would be unable to carry out even the simplest of actions such as picking up a toy from a table.
When do you need Occupational Therapy for your child?
Difficulty achieving age-appropriate developmental milestones
Struggling with fine motor activities
Trouble with gross motor activities
Avoids eye contact and inappropriate Social Interaction
Here are a few activities that an occupational therapist would do to improve hand eye coordination:
Scribbling/drawing with different types of materials (e.g. crayons, pencils, pens, chalk, paint)
Drawing specific shapes or lines (e.g. diagonals)
Make shapes using various materials such as sticks or toothpicks
Tracing over shapes and simple pictures
Mazes and connect-the-dots tasks
Colouring in to teach them how to stay within the lines
Dressing up dolls and toys
Using an etch-a-sketch
Playing catch with balls of various sizes
Bouncing balls or playing volleyball
Playing tennis or tennis-like games (e.g. using a balloon instead of a tennis ball)
Playing ‘Simon Says’ or similar games to raise awareness of left/right
The home routine can include simple and basic hand eye coordination activities such as playing ball, dressing up dolls, mazes and connecting dots, drawing shapes and lines, juggling, bouncing ball etc. Children who have poor eye hand coordination normally refuse to partake in games or sports and might find it difficult to manage daily activities (for e.g. personal hygiene).
Other reasons why an occupation therapist would be required:
Birth Injuries or Birth Defects
Sensory Processing Disorders
Traumatic Injuries to The Brain or Spinal Cord.
Broken Bones or Other Orthopedic Injuries
People with a physical, sensory, or cognitive disability can be overly dependent on others all through their life. OT helps individuals decrease their dependency by improving their cognitive, physical, sensory, and motor skills. This in turn enhances their self-esteem and sense of accomplishment.