Visual tracking is defined as efficiently moving the eyes from left to right or focusing on an object as it moves across a person’s visual field. This skill is important for almost all daily activities, including reading, writing, drawing, and playing. This skill typically emerges around the age of five. Once your child begins to be able to visually track, there are ways to aid in the development of this skill.
Activities to promote eye tracking:
- Complete puzzles.
- Draw or paint pictures.
- Find as many things as you can see of a certain shape (circle, square, rectangle, triangle) in the room.
- Imitate a series of motor movements made by someone else.
- Perform dot-to-dot pictures.
- Find the mistakes in “What’s Wrong with this Picture?” pictures.
- Sort playing cards in different ways (color, suit, number), or use playing cards to find two with matching numbers.
- Solve mazes.
- Play “I Spy.”
- Play balloon toss.
- Use tracing paper to trace and color simple pictures.
- Play flashlight chases. Do this by getting a flashlight for you and your child. Lie on your backs on the floor, and have your child chase your flashlight beam with his.
- Have your child go through a page of print (according to reading level) and circle all the a’s, b’s, c’s or any letter he chooses.
- Use a slant board for reading.
If you notice your child or student skipping or repeating words while reading aloud, experiencing difficulty with ball skills, or having a hard time copying from the board, he might have difficulty with eye tracking. An occupational therapist can provide the right intervention for this. Intervention may include ocular motor and strengthening activities to promote the development of muscle control of the eyes in order to improve eye tracking. For more information on oculomotor control/dysfunction read here. To talk to an occupational therapist, click below.