As your child completes vision therapy, you might be interested in helping the process along. It's never easy to see your child struggle with tasks that should come naturally. Thankfully, you can lend a hand by completing fun activities with your child while relaxing at home. Integrating fun into the activities ensures your child will work his or her way to recovery without much effort. Here are three activity types to share with your child.
Eye tracking disorders, which are often caused by low muscle tone or severe nystagmus, make it difficult for patients to scan pictures or environments to find a particular object. Patients may also have a difficult time pinpointing and maintaining their gaze on a focal point. These difficulties disrupt children's ability to participate in reading, writing and illustrating activities performed in and out of school.
If your child has this issue, you can use picture-finding games to strengthen the eyes and improve targeted focus. Start with activities that have your child search out hidden objects in a black and white illustration. Do not be afraid to point out the target object before your child grows frustrated. At first, it's important to simply identify and notice the hidden picture. From there, use colorful picture finding board games to increase the difficulty a bit. You can also play verbal games in open environments, such as I Spy, to improve your child's ability to track and focus in busy areas.
Vision issues, like crossed eyes or muscle weakness, complicate the natural systems that control hand-eye coordination. As a result, your child may find it difficult to draw shapes, write words and numbers or even trace pictures. Vision therapists often have their patients draw bi-lateral circles and figure eights to train the brain structures needed for good hand-eye coordination.
You can click here for info or mimic this activity at home by investing in a white board or chalkboard for the wall. Position this board so your child can reach straight out and touch the middle of the drawing surface.
For bi-lateral circles, place a marker or piece of chalk in each of your child's hands. With eyes focused on a central mark, your child should practice creating dual circles by turning his or her arms at a steady rate. Encourage your child to switch directions often to increase the challenge level. Figure eights should be drawn for several minutes with the dominate hand before switching to the non-dominant one.
To treat vision issues caused by sensory disorders, vision therapists have patients mimic a series of poses. The poses may include the starfish, superman and bridge configurations that bring the sensory system back to the basics. By practicing primitive reflexes, your child's system will relearn the brain connections needed for adequate visual processing. Over time, hand eye coordination will drastically improve as the brain connections heal and grow.
You can encourage your kid to perform these activities at home by playing a game of Simon Says. Kids love to follow directions in a silly way and compete with others. Mix up the reflex moves with others your child enjoys, like jumping on one foot, crawling like a bear or creating wave motions with his or her arms. Make sure the games always end on a positive note to make sure your child wants to repeat the sessions at a later date.
Helping Your Child Succeed
If your child's vision therapist provides home activities that supplement the weekly session, complete those first before moving onto your own fun games. Vision therapists make sure the supplemental workouts prepare your child for upcoming sessions in a positive manner. Completing the activities above also provides the same benefits, so it's important to work them in as much as your child is willing. Do not force the issue, however, as kids will often balk if the fun activities start to feel like a required chore.
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