Visual Tracking & Perception


Visual tracking and perception are important for many daily
activities such as reading, gross motor skills such as playing catch, writing,
board games and more. Poor visual skills also impact attention. If a child is
unable to process visual input correctly they may become frustrated and shut
down when trying to complete task or will be unable to attend to task. Poor
visual processing skills are often times linked to ADD/ADHD symptoms. Many
times parents will report that visual acuity is good, which is what there
optometrist told them. What many parents don’t understand is that visual acuity
and perception are two different things. Visual acuity is the ability to see
clearly and sharply visual perception is how we process and interpret what we
see for a functional outcome (“Visual Perception”, 2013).


Many families come to occupational therapy for concerns with
poor reading skills, dyslexia concerns, poor attention, behaviors and poor
coordination. Vision is a basic sense that we all rely on daily to complete
just about any task we do. We need to be able to visually track, accurately
localize and focus on an object, and use binocular vision to be able to read,
write and move around and participate within our environment. As an
occupational therapist we are trained in the basics of vision and can work with
a child on these skills, although it is also recommended to consult with a
vision therapist.


Megan is a 9 year-old girl that I have been working with for
7 months. When I first started working with Megan she had very poor reading
skills as well as poor gross motor coordination, handwriting and poor attention
to task. Megan has been working on various visual exercises, such as left/right
discrimination, visual memory skills, tracking, and her ability to better
quickly locate and focus in on an object. As she has been practicing to improve
these skills in the clinic and at home with her parents she has shown very nice
improvements in her ability to read, write and her gross motor skills such as catching
a ball. Megan has improved her reading skills since starting OT from
Kindergarten level to 2nd grade level! When playing games with her
peers now she can better attend to the game, increased ability to read her own
cards, and improved her ability move and sequence piece when playing board
games. Megan’s demonstrated better visual spatial awareness, which has helped
increase her gross motor skills. Her visual processing skills have played an
important roll in improving her overall skills to help her better participate
in many activities and improve her self confidence.


Michelle Zurek, MA, OTR/L
perception. (2013, April 10). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia.
Retrieved 17:53, April 15, 2013, from