Purpose: To develop visually timed motor patterns related to rhythmic, purposeful, predictive manipulation in visual space.
Materials: Sponge rubber soft ball (hard ball size) hung from ceiling. Nylon string. Thread string through ball. Use a button to hold string at bottom of the ball.
Patient is to stand facing ball, feet slightly apart, hands raised to chest level, palms out. Ball to be hung so that it will swing in a circular orbit at chest level. Ball should be controlled with a GENTLE TOUCH while engaging in these activities.
1. Swing the ball in a circle. Intercept the ball with both hands and reverse its direction. Rotate body toward the oncoming ball without shifting feet. Repeat, using alternate hands. First use hand on side opposite the ball, then the hand on the same side as the ball. Also, control ball with one hand only, using the dominant hand first, and then the other.
2. Time hand contact on ball with gentle foot tapping, then speech, then all three, as with the to-and-fro swing. Use the various hand patterns (i.e., both, alternate, right and left) in combination with foot and speech.
3. Try stepping off toward the oncoming ball. Intercept it and reverse its direction. Turn and step off toward ball on other side. Time this with speech and tapping of foot.
4. When patient is proficient in these activities, assistant should encourage discussion in some other unrelated topic while patient is still engaged in the ball control.
5. Raise the ball so that it swings a little above eye level. Have patient repeat all activities with ball in this position. When space permits, lower the ball and work with it rotating at waist level or lower.
6. With ball swinging at chest level, after getting the feeling of the rhythm of the ball in motion, patient is to attempt to control it with eyes closed. He is to do this first in the to-and-fro direction and finally with the ball rotating if possible.
Aspects to be emphasized:
1. Maintain control of direction and movement with gentle contact.
2. Listen, look and feel for inappropriate timing of hand, foot, or speech with control of ball. All should be timed with visual prediction of hand contact on the ball.
3. Maintain control of rotating ball with feet planted on the floor, by rotating from ankles up.
4. When inappropriate timing between eye and hand, hand and foot, or hand and speech is observed by home assistant, immediately stop the ball and ask patient what he heard (hand on ball, speech, foot on floor), what he felt (hand on ball, foot on floor, movement of tongue and lips), or what he saw (direction of ball). Make every effort to let him monitor his own operation to recognize what went wrong, rather than tell him he did it wrong or do it better.