Watching your children rapidly grow and change, especially when they’re babies, is such a joy.
As children learn to interact with the world around them, they also discover how to relate and react to their own bodies.
But sometimes children encounter challenges and delays in their physical developmental, and need additional support.
When this happens, developmental delay occupational therapy is a great option, especially for problems with skills like hand eye coordination.
Occupational therapy for kids can help them develop their hand eye coordination along with their motor skills.
But what is hand eye coordination, and how do you know if your child needs help with it?
Let’s take a closer look.
What Is Hand Eye Coordination?
Take a look at something within arm’s reach.
Then, reach out and grab it.
For adults, this is simple enough.
Your eyes see something, and they guide your hands to do something in relation to them.
This is hand eye coordination.
For example, for your child to develop their handwriting ability, they need to first be able to see a pencil, reach toward it, and pick it up.
From there, they then need to be able to see the lines on the paper and coordinate placing the letters on the line.
It’s also important for learning how to catch a ball – your child needs to be able to see a ball, gauge where it’s going, and position their hands to catch it.
Some other examples of childhood activities that include hand eye coordination are:
- Building a tower of blocks
- Cutting along a line
- Putting pieces in a wooden puzzle
- Eating with utensils
How Does Hand Eye Coordination Develop?
There’s a pretty complex process at play when it comes to developing hand eye coordination.
As your baby develops their hand eye coordination skills, the process will look something like this:
First, they need to discover their hands.
As you watch your newborn, you might notice they look in one direction while their hands do something else altogether.
This is because they haven’t yet learned that their hands exist.
A baby’s hands aren’t always in their field of vision, so they might not have even seen them right away.
They usually discover their hands by about eight weeks old.
Once they do, they next need to realize their hands are something they can consciously control.
They usually do this through touching their hands together and bringing them to their mouth.
This can help them develop their fine motor skills, including crossing the midline.
As they begin to better understand how their hands work, they’ll start to learn how to take active control of them.
They might flail their arms out randomly, but as they begin to hit things, they can begin to recognize they can repeat that random movement and control the process.
This is why hanging toys like baby mobiles are so useful – it gives them something to want to reach out and play with.
From there, they can begin to associate what they see with the movement they make – this is the beginning of hand eye coordination.
By about six months, your baby should be able to look at objects and reach toward them.
They’re a long way from learning how to write or play a guitar, but this early stage of life lays the foundation for those skills later on.
How To Tell If Your Child Has Poor Hand Eye Coordination
If your child has issues with developing their hand eye coordination, you might find they resist doing certain activities.
They may also resist playing sports, writing, or doing artistic activities.
Each of these activities is closely linked with hand eye coordination.
You may also notice signs related to poor vision in childhood.
If they frequently squint, tilt their head, rub their eyes, have difficulty with walking on stairs, or sit closer to screens than normal, it may be a sign they have poor eyesight.
In this case, it’s a good idea to see an optometrist.
How Can You Help Your Child Develop Their Hand Eye Coordination?
Teaching hand eye coordination skills can be helpful in specific settings, like sports activities.
But it’s important to let your child build their hand eye coordination through unstructured play as well.
If you notice your child having trouble, some of the following activities may help:
- Playing with bathtub crayons
- Threading beads onto string
- Hammering toy nails into a toy board
- Doing a puzzle together
- Playing catch with a ball
- Playing with sewing cards
- Playing with Duplo blocks or other construction toys
- Stacking blocks into towers and making block structures
- Screwing and unscrewing lids onto jars
- Pushing pegs into a pegboard
These are some useful ways to help your child explore and expand on their hand eye coordination.
However, if they’re still falling behind, it may be related to an underlying condition or they just might need a professional to give them a little boost.
In that case, an occupational therapist can help.
How Can Occupational Therapy Help With Hand Eye Coordination?
If your child is falling behind with developing their hand eye coordination, a pediatric occupational therapist can help.
During your first appointment, your child’s occupational therapist will do a pediatric therapy screening to find out more about your child’s history and level of ability.
They’ll also observe your child doing activities related to hand eye coordination.
The goal here is to identify any underlying conditions related to your concerns.
If that’s the case, treatment will include addressing these issues.
From there, you and your child’s occupational therapist will work together to set goals and create a treatment plan.
It’s a good idea to bring your child in as soon as you notice signs they’re struggling with their hand eye coordination.
Early intervention occupational therapy has been shown to be more effective in most cases than waiting to see if the issue resolves on its own.
With that in mind, it’s a good idea to…
Book Your Appointment With Little Feet Pediatric Therapy Today
Is your child having difficulty developing their handwriting?
Do they struggle to catch a ball?
Do you notice them reaching out for objects and missing?
If so, they may have an issue with hand eye coordination.
We’re Little Feet Pediatric Therapy, and we can help.
► 3535 Randolph Rd, Charlotte, NC 28211
► 1331 H St NW Ste 200, Washington, DC 20005
► St. Louis, MO
► Raleigh, NC
Founded in 2019, Little Feet Therapy offers on site pediatric physical and occupational therapy treatments for children from 2 months to 18 years old with physical and developmental concerns. Our clinics focus on providing therapy in a child’s natural setting where your child is in familiar surroundings, it puts their mind at ease and helps them focus more on the work they’re doing with their pediatric therapist. Our therapists will work with your child at your home, at school, at daycare, or another place in the community where they feel most comfortable.