Visual-motor Activities
Home OT Terminology Student Activities FAQ

            Visual-Motor Activities  

Spacing           Visual Tracking           Visual Memory                Reversals

 Spacing

        1. Have student write on graph paper, one letter per box and one box between words.

        2. Have student insert a colored line or highlighter dot between words.

        3. If using the index finger of the non-dominant hand isn't successful, try making a spacer with a Popsicle stick or tongue depressor.  Making these spacers could be a classroom or home activity in which the students decorate and/or name their spacer. 

        4. Place dots between words with a pencil, then erase the dots.

5. Teach student to review their own work to determine if there are spaces between the words. If they don't have spaces they can use a highlighter to add them.

         6. Some students respond better to concrete instruction such as, "Move your pencil over before you start the next word."

         7. Highlight right margin if student crams words on right side of paper rather than dropping down to next line.

         8. Highlight both margins (left one green and right one red) or use Wikki Stix to teach the student to bump the margins with his or her pencil.

        9. Write the sentence "ca  nyo  up  layb  all?  Ask the student to read this exactly as it is written.  When child can't read it, tell him/her that this is due to the fact that the spaces are not in the correct place.  Have him/her re-write the sentence with correct spacing.

        10. Suggest to a child to write X amount of words per line across.  The first few times they have half the line left for that last word.             

11.  Exaggerate spaces between words of model that the child will copy from.

Return to top of page

            Visual Tracking

1. Ball activities

2. Large chalkboard drawings: make roads for small vehicles to drive on incorporate writing with favorite stops, such as "M" for McDonald's, "W" for Walmart, or the whole word)) then progressing to fine tasks (connect the dots, mazes, etc).

3. Use tracing paper to trace and color simple pictures.

4. Flashlight chases, starting on the floor lying on your backs and having the child chase your flashlight beam with his/hers.  Lying down aids in keeping the head still and is easier.

5.  Have student go through a page of print (according to reading level) and circle all the a's, etc.

Return to top of page

                  Visual Memory

1. Letters made from glue, glue/sand, or puff/fabric paint.  Add food coloring to a bottle of paint/glue (not the washable kind).  Stir and keep bottle upside down overnight to mix well.  Write the letter on an index card with a pencil and have child squeeze bottle to form the letter, making sure the letter is formed properly.  When the glue/paint dries, it forms a raised letter for tactile input.  Have child trace the raised letter 3x with index finger of dominant hand.

2. Use glue to write letters on wax paper or glass, let dry and peel off letter.  Can add sand and/or color.

3. Write in sand, putty, pudding, on carpet squares, etc.

4. Wikki Stix over letters written on index cards.  Can also form letters out of wikki sticks, putty, by moving body parts into "letter shape", etc.

5. Write letters on index card with black marker.  Make a green dot with marker as starting point and red dot as stopping point for letter.  Then put a thin layer of glue over the letter and dry overnight.

6. When using classroom triple-lined paper, highlight bottom and dotted middle lines.  Top line is where capitals and tall lowercase letters begin. 

7. Have the child first trace a really large letter on the board, then make the letter independently, and then write the letter with their eyes closed.  It can increase the interest/sensory feedback if you are able to do this over a bumpy surface such as an air vent cover or a piece of nylon net..

Return to top page

 Reversals

1. Check to see if child has L/R discrimination on self, others and in space.

2. Use HWT method of small chalkboard with boundaries and beginning under

smiley face (placed in top left-hand corner of board frame).

3. Develop consistent use of left to right direction using a variety of media.

4. Bilateral integration activities.

5. Use the "Cognitive Override" (strategies to help the child see and feel the difference between the letters commonly reversed, such as "b" and "d".  Instead of a ball-and-stick method of writing these letters, the child uses a continuous stroke to first make the vertical stroke of the letter "b", followed by the closed loop to complete the letter, reciting the "b" is for a bat and a ball -- you need the bat first, and then the ball.  The "d" is made by first the letter "c" with a continuous stroke to complete the vertical stroke, reciting the "c is followed by d").  The students associate differing kinesthetic feedback for the two letters and build up a cognitive strategy to differentiate between them.  Use the cognitive override strategies esp. if child is beyond second grade.

6. For the letters "a, d, g, and q" and the number "9," I cue the child to use "c up down" as the method of forming these letters.  For the number "3" the cue that seems to work is: "around the tree, around the tree".

7. Have the child first trace a really large letter on the board, then make the letter independently, and then write the letter with his or her eyes closed.  It can increase the interest/sensory feedback if you are able to do this some over a bumpy surface such as an air vent cover.

Return to top of page