Develop Visual Tracking Skills Through Play
Raising Kids with Special Needs
Therapy in Disguise
When I work with children I focus on positive reinforcement and skill building through play so when I became a parent it felt natural for me to apply that focus to my own child. This really came in handy when I decided to find ways to help my son develop his visual tracking skills.
A few weeks back we took L to the eye doctor for his annual appointment. Everything checked out fine except that the doctor noticed that L’s visual tracking skills were a little delayed. He said it wasn’t a big concern but that we should implement some vision exercises to strengthen his visual tracking skills.
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What are Visual Tracking Skills?
Visual tracking skills are the ability to quickly and accurately look (fixate), visually follow a moving object (pursuit) and efficiently move our eyes so we can fixate on objects from point to point (saccades: more information here). It’s a skill we use every day to explore our surroundings, play sports, and in reading and writing which can affect academic performance.
Doing Vision Therapy at Home
This afternoon we made our own version of a standby vision therapy exercise “the pendulum ball”. We hung several balls and large water balloons from a rope that we strung between our patio and a tree. For the next hour or so, L entertained himself (and us) as he batted at the balls and balloons with various objects (tennis racket, wooden paddle, baseball bat, etc…).
This was a simple activity to set up and it captivated his attention far longer than I expected. It was especially exciting when he was able to burst the water balloons and the water sprayed in a magnificent waterfall. He had a lot of fun and therapy disguised as fun is always a good thing.