Visual Motor Speed: When time matters
December 9, 2014
Note: This is one of a 10 blog series on learning traits. Read about all 10 learning traits here.
Visual motor speed can affect a student’s ability to take good notes, accurately complete hands-on project work, and test-taking speed, particularly those bubble sheets! While visual motor speed is not crucial to academic success, it can create problems if it goes unaddressed or unsupported.
What is Visual Motor Speed?
Visual motor speed refers to the ability to efficiently integrate eyes and hands to complete a task.
Why is Visual Motor Speed important?
Weaker visual motor skills can be frustrating. The student might know the material, but can’t write quickly enough to get his thoughts on paper. Or the teacher says she can’t read his handwriting and takes points off. Visual motor skills can affect efficient note taking, so students don’t have the notes they need when it’s time to study. Homework might take longer for students with slower speed.
What are signs of Visual Motor Speed challenges?
You might see the first sign in toddlers. Fine motor skills come into play with manipulating smaller objects, holding a crayon or pencil, and using a scissors. School aged children who struggle with visual motor coordination may have messy handwriting, slow keyboarding, or might be messy in the art or science room.
How do I know if my student needs help with Visual Motor Speed?
If you suspect your child is struggling with visual motor speed you should discuss your concerns with a school counselor or your pediatrician. Be aware that slower visual motor speed could be confused with slower processing speed or reading or math fluency. If you are uncomfortable sharing your concerns, consider a visual motor speed test at home and then decide if you want to share them with a professional.
How can I help with Visual Motor Speed?
Students with slow visual motor speed might qualify for occupational therapy, which can show dramatic improvements. Generally speaking, the earlier you start, the greater the overall opportunity for long-term improvement. Students with moderate needs can ask teachers for allowances for time on tests, typing rather than writing assignments, and sitting near the front of the room where it is easier to hear and see the teacher and the board. They might be able to record class sessions, use dictation software, or the teacher might be willing to share class notes.