Laser Tracing

Introduction

Light tracing with a laser spot provides a strong visual stimulus for fusion and feedback. It’s easy to see if you’re seeing double, even in bright lighting, and it’s also easy to see if you’re off track while tracing. This activity requires two laser pointers, readily available for $20 or less at electronics stores like Radio Shack / The Source, and often at big box stores like Wal Mart.

This activity encourages visual motor integration, visual tracking and search, as well fused vision (both eyes on one target) at near distances. Light tracing also requires good self-control, so a child can only succeed if they manage their breathing and impulses.

Method/Procedure

The play begins with the therapist laying our various objects or drawings on the table before the child. The child then traces the objects with the laser in the dominant hand, alternating to the non-dominant hand 10% of the time.

  • The child should be sitting erect (see Visual Hygiene for tips) with the laser pointer held in a standard pencil grip. Modify if this is too difficult.
  • A slant board is ideal, or you can make a mock up by laying a kitchen cutting board against a large book, slanting towards the child.
  • Use objects that are easy to trace, then move towards more difficult and complex targets. Try a combination of objects and drawings. Scanning lines of text is also a good challenge.
  • Ensure the child’s head is steady and only the eyes are moving. You can use a small headlamp (like for cyclists/mountaineering) with a narrow beam to help with this. Have the child target a point on the desk with the headlamp and keep it there while he does the activity.

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  • Try timing how long it takes to trace a target, or to trace it a certain number of times. Record the time and have the child try to beat the last time. Again, tracing lines of text in an-age appropriate book, or slightly more difficult, is a great task for this.
  • The ultimate load on this activity is to have the child trace objects by reflecting the laser off of a mirror, like a small stand mirror that can be placed on the table. You can also do this in a room where there is a wall mirror and trace larger objects through the reflection such as windows, furniture, doors.
  • Be sure to patch according to your doctor’s directions.
  • Have the child work the non-dominant hand 10-25% of the time

 

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