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Visual Tracking

Children need adequate visual tracking skills to function properly in school and at home. If you have concerns about your child’s visual skills, be sure to start out by having your child undergo a thorough vision examination by an optometrist or an ophthalmologist (medical doctor).

What is visual tracking?

Visual tracking is the ability to control the eye movements using the oculomotor system (vision and eye muscles working together).

There are two types of tracking:

  • Maintaining your focus on a moving object.
  • Switching your focus between two objects.

Why is visual tracking important?

We need to track and follow both stationary and moving objects to interact with our environment. As children get older, this skill is crucial for fluent reading, coordination tasks, body awareness, and postural control.

For reading, your eyes move along written text by fixating on a word and then making a small jump to the next word. If you do not have smooth eye tracking, then you may: skip words, skip lines, move your head too much when reading, use your finger to keep your place when reading, have trouble comprehending what you read or be unable to catch, throw, hit or kick a ball with accuracy.

Ideas & Exercises...

Here are some activities to help children visually track objects and people:

  • Play any games that involve catching or hitting a ball.
  • Practise throwing a ball at a target.
  • Play flashlight/laser tracking games – go into a dark room and follow the flashlight or laser on the wall. Hang letters or words on the wall. See if the child can find them using the flashlight or laser in a dark room.
  • Complete letter finds, word finds or hidden pictures puzzles to visually scan and find objects on a page.
  • Progress to having your child visually track objects while the child is also moving. For example, look for objects while you are walking or on a swing. Try throwing a ball to the child while they are running. Try throwing a ball to your child when they go down a slide.
  • Play tag – the child has to run while visually tracking moving objects.
  • Try balloon kickboxing. This fun activity encourages bilateral coordination, timing, eye-hand coordination, visual tracking skills, and upper extremity muscle strengthening. The key to this activity is teaching the child to hit each balloon or ball with the right hand and left in a rhythmic, controlled pattern. Have fun with it!
  • Blowing bubbles- the child can try and catch the bubbles, or even try and poke each bubble with a stick or a pencil.
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Visual Tracking APPS

Looking for visual tracking APPS to make screen time more productive?  Try these APPS.

  • Find the ball
  • Kinetic Visual Acuity
  • Wordsearch Unlimited free
  • Wooden labyrinth
  • Labyrinth lite
  • Dot to dot
  • Eye training-moving objects
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