Nov. 21, 2019, 5:40 a.m.

Occupational Therapy Addresses Hand-Eye Coordination

Occupational Therapy (OT) addresses hand-eye coordination, i.e. the Integration of visual information with hand movement.  OT can help with strengthening of the muscles in the eyes and hands while enhancing neural pathways to improve everyday functioning. 

These skills impact many aspects of life. In its absence, most people would be unable to carry out even the simplest of actions such as picking up a book from a table. 

The home routine can include simple and basic hand eye coordination activities such as playing ball, dressing up dolls, mazes and connecting dots, drawing shapes and lines, juggling, bouncing ball etc. Children who have poor eye hand coordination normally refuse to partake in games or sports and might find it difficult to manage daily activities (for e.g.: personal hygiene). 

According to the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), kids with the following medical problems might benefit from OT:

  • birth injuries or birth defects
  • sensory processing disorders
  • traumatic injuries (brain or spinal cord)
  • learning problems
  • autism/pervasive developmental disorders
  • juvenile rheumatoid arthritis
  • mental health or behavioural problems
  • broken bones or other orthopaedic injuries
  • developmental delays
  • post-surgical conditions
  • burns
  • traumatic amputations
  • cancer
  • severe hand injuries
  • multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, and other chronic illnesses
People with a physical, sensory or cognitive disability can be overly dependent on others all through their life. OT helps individuals decrease their dependency by improving their cognitive, physical, sensory and motor skills. This in turn enhances their self-esteem and sense of accomplishment. 

OT helps in development of hand eye coordination by building the neural pathways that integrate hand movements with visual reception. It also strengthens the muscles of the eye and hand. As with developing any skill, improving hand eye coordination requires repetition and practice of the associated activities. The Occupational Therapist can also help with simplifying activities into smaller manageable concepts.