Learning and Vision Therapy covers the following broad areas of skills training:
- Gross Motor Skills & Spatial-Awareness: The child must be confident in her ability to control her body and to relate her body to other objects in space.
- Visual Motor Integration (VMI): This includes learning to lead your hand with your eyes, and fine motor control of the hands.
- Oculomotor Skills (Visual Signal Acquisition, or VSA, skills): These include the various eye movements (smooth and jump movements, focusing, and convergence – bringing the eyes together). These allow the eyes to find a target, align themselves, focus on the target, and let the brain register the signal from the page.
- Visual Perceptual Skills (Visual Signal Processing, or VSP): These are perceptual skills, such as visual memory, sequencing, ‘figure-ground’, object constancy, spatial orientation, and object closure. These skills allow you to make sense of the visual signals provided by the eyes alignment and targeting (VSA).
- Reading Skills – Low Level: These combine VSA and VSP skills and simulate reading skills without actual reading. This is done by training peripheral awareness, the ability the scan words, to stay on a single line of text without jumping to another line, and also how to move smoothly and accurately from one line to the next.
- Reading Skills – High Level: These skills most closely simulate requirements in the classroom. The goal of our training is to build the capacity to do well with high-level reading skills. These exercises push the child to read more fluidly, quickly, and with greater recall ability. Multiple choice questions also practice this common question format commonly encountered in schools.
- Self-Awareness/Self-Control: Most exercises assist children in becoming more aware of themselves (emotionally, cognitively, and physically) (see below). Some exercises, such as with ‘Meditation’, are specically designed to teach focus and awareness. One such activity on the public site is designed specifically to assist in smoking cessation.
- Audition & Memory: These activities strengthen auditory-motor integration, visual and auditory memory.
- Nutrition, Health, Strength: These are presented more as articles at this point and are not a regimented part of therapy. Eventually, there will be more activities targeting these areas directly.
While many activities emphasize a particular area, most activities cross over between areas. For example, Rosner Patterns are helpful in developing visual perceptual skills, they also strengthen VMI (visual motor integration).
Consider the library as a repository for exercises covering all areas of concern. You are not required to do exercises in any particular order, but you SHOULD try to emphasize certain areas more than others at different times (see ‘Sequencing’ for more information.)
Your goal is to select exercises from all categories to provide some variety in the therapy sessions, and avoid spending the whole session on one activity. Furthermore, the many activities provided are designed to be done repeatedly, making them harder and harder each time (see ‘Loading’). There is no set ‘end point’ to the exercises, but as a general guideline, if the child is finding an activity too easy, even after you’ve loaded it, then leave the activity behind and move on to something else.
When planning activities, have the child assist in selecting which activities you will do next time. This is a great way to end your therapy sessions; at the end of the session, provide a selection of activities covering a broad range of skills, and have the child help choose
a) which activities to do next time, and
b) what the performance goals are for the activities.
When the next sessions comes around, the child will have the satisifaction of knowing they’re directing their own program and this helps them to buy in to what they are doing. They also benefit from practicing time management and planning. While the categories laid out above are, on the surface anyway, the express purpose of the exercises (i.e. a VMI activity is designed primarily to bolster visual motor integration skills), there are collateral benefits. The child does NOT need to know why they are doing an exercise, although it’s appropriate to tell them that an activity is to assist with whatever skills are indicated on the activity. All activities serve additional purposes common to almost all activities.
- focus and concentration,
- planning and time management,
These elements are as much part of the program as the categories listed above.
Tip: Activities that I have completed activities have ‘tags’ associated with them, and these are listed near the top of the activities pages. Look for the ‘Tags’ labels. These tags describe what skills the activity is targeting. (Again, there is often overlap, but the tags identify primary skills targeted.) If you would like to find more activities emphasizing a particular area, simply click on the tag of interest. For example, clicking the ‘VMI’ tag on ‘Haptic Writing’ will bring up a list of other activities that work VMI. Likewise, you can enter a search term/tag (like ‘VMI’) in the Search bar in the top right of the screen, hit Enter/Return, on your keyboard, and this will also give you a list of similar activities.