Visual Motor Integration covers efficient and effective coordination between the eyes and the hands so that children are able to copy, draw or write what they see. Since children develop their handwriting based on what they see in a model and then imitate it in their own writing, they need to have effective Visual Motor Integration. The following article provides information on What Is Visual Motor Integration, VMI and Handwriting, Improving Visual Motor Skills and more.
What Is Visual Motor Integration
Though Visual Motor Integration involves the same parts of the body as eye-hand coordination, the two are not exactly the same. The latter requires the eyes to visually guide the movement of the hands and happens when a child is catching a ball or tracing a path between two lines. Visual Motor Integration on the other hand involves visual perceptual skills which influence the ability to efficiently perceive a form in order to reproduce it correctly. Children with poor Visual Motor Integration skills are likely to struggle with drawing and find it difficult to copy shapes. Their writing patterns appear erratic in which numbers and letters are often not properly formed.
Visual Motor Integration and Handwriting
Handwriting requires children to see a model and draw diagonal lines, intersecting lines as well as basic shapes like squares, circles and triangles. This can happen only when children have the requisite visual perception skills, motor skills as well as smooth integration between the two. Research has consistently pointed to a direct relation between the visual motor integration and handwriting performance of the students1.
When writing by hand, visual perception allows children to construct internal representations of visual information that determine traits such as shape, size, position in space and distance of letters. Motor coordination on the other hand helps children to grasp the writing tool properly and move the muscles, and joints in the correct order so that the necessary letters can be written. Effective integration between visual perception and motor skills then helps children to correctly perceive the lines, and shapes and copy them accurately in their own hands. This foundation for handwriting is laid even before children are able to form their letters correctly.
Improving Visual Motor skills
Though occupational therapists and paediatricians are best placed to suggest interventions for improving visual motor integration, there are some activities that can help visual and motor skills. These can be:
- Gross motor activities like jumping rope, and tossing beanbags or stuffed animals into a hula hoop as children move to and fro on a swing.
- Paper activities like dot paths, rainbow ladders, finishing a maze, making origami, paper aeroplanes or using a highlighter on the top and bottom of handwriting practice paper.
- Fine motor activities like using scissors to cut simple and then complex shapes, Stringing progressively smaller beads through a string
- Games like “I Spy” improve visual scanning making eyes look top to bottom or left to right
- Playing catch so that the child’s eyes tell their hands which way to move when the ball is coming towards them
- Colouring by number so that the child’s hands colour just the right amount to fill in each space without going over the edges.
Visual motor skill development begins at birth and continues to be refined throughout life by practice and exposure to developmentally appropriate activities.
Pre-Writing Skills - This article will provide you with a guideline on how best to develop your child’s pre-writing skills and the process your preschool child will go through during the initial stage of pre-writing development.
Pre-Writing Skills Activities For Preschoolers - The following article provides information on Pre-Writing Skills Activities, Benefits Of Pre-Writing Skills and more.
Activities To Improve Pre-Writing Skills - Here are a few simple activities that will help improve a child's pencil grasp.
Visual Motor Integration, NapaCenter
Visual Motor Integration, OT MOM Learning