Introduction: This is a terrific exercise to develop reading vsa and vmi, and in one version reading skills as well. It’s easy, fun, and challenging. The client is asked to ‘spear’ a variety of progressively more difficult targets with progressively more difficult purposes.
Material: Become familiar with the material and procedures in the ‘Coding’ and the ‘364 Battleship’ activities. Print off the target sheets.
Procedure I: Coding
- Become familiar with the coding exercise. The point is to incorporate vmi targeting using a pencil/crayon.
- Lay the target grid either on a table at the Harmon distance (or, later for something different, on a wall at the Harmon distance or a little further).
- When doing the coding exercise, have the client say and ‘spear’ the letter in the box as he says it. Start with the hand holding the pencil in a writing posture, about 12 inches above the table.
- Try also simply calling out letters for a word and have the client repeat the letters of the word while he spears them, like this:
- You: ‘Cat. C-A-T. Cat.’
- Child, spearing the letters ‘C-A-T, cat.’
- Each letter requires that the client raise the pencil to the starting height and then spearing the letter.
- You can also have the child name the grid location of the target before spearing it.
- Do this as quickly as possible and/or with a metronome.
Procedure II: 364 Battleship
- Become familiar with the ‘Battleship’ activity. Print off the activity sheets.
- Play the game as you normally would. If a target is correctly identified, the client must spear the corresponding grid point on the Battleship map (on his own map). He must correctly spear the target grid point if it is to count against the opponent.
- Alternate: Use the grid to outline targets from 1-5 squares in size, of different shapes and locations on the grid. Name the targets (A, B, C, etc., or give them actual names). Have the client sequentially target and spear each individual square in the target. Do this a) as fast as you can, b) to the beat of a metronome.
Loading: For both exercises, loading/unloading can be achieved by
- Loading: Altering the speed of the activity. Use a timer and have the client beat their fastest time with progressively more complex patterns.
- Unloading: Allow the child to do a simple task very slowly at first if this is necessary. Avoid timers or the metronome if it it too difficult.
- Loading: Start with a metronome set to a slower pace (50 bpm) and spear targets at that pace. Gradually increase the pace, having the client determine the next faster tempo (increase by 5 or 10 bpm depending on the child’s eagerness and ability).
- Be sure to have the child work 90% of the time with the dominant hand, 10% with the non-dominant.