OT Corner: Exercises / Resources for Oculomotor Skills
Editor’s Note: Thank You to Joanna Verdone for compiling, and the OTs of the Pediatric OT Facebook page for contributing to this tremendous list of exercises and resources for ocular-motor skills.
[Source from the over 18,000 OT’s on the “Pediatric Occupational Therapists” Facebook Page]
- Eyes on Track
- Eyegames: Easy and Fun Visual Exercises
- Let’s Do it Write
- Swinging in the park. Count cars and trees surrounding the park while swinging and compare numbers
- Ball skills
- Batting at balloons Use a fan to change the direction of movement.
- Place child in the passenger side back seat of the car so that when the child looks out the window, they will look toward the lefts as the car drives forward (or opposite side as needed, depending on where the needs are).
- Astronaut Training
- Bouncing racket ball across midline visually transitioning to board to read letters/sight words left to right.
- Hanging a ball from the ceiling and using a dowel rod to hit center/left/right.
- Infinity walk.
- The Multi Matrix Game
- Metronome Code Metronome Code: I use a whiteboard or chalkboard or larger piece of paper. Pick 24 symbols. Each symbol represents a body movement. (Square=clap). Then make a sequence and the child does the correlating body movement.
- I also use lowercase: P, 9, b, d. The curve of each letter represents the arm or leg and the side of the curve represents the left or right so ‘b’ is right leg. I have the child move the body part correlated to the curve.
- Put symbols/letters/etc. on each side of the doorway, have the child call out in different order.
- Letter Cancellation Use use a newspaper or magazine or make your own lines of letters. The child finds/marks out/circles/etc the specific letter. You can change the letter size and use paint blotters. I have also used shapes instead of letters.
- S’Cool Moves Vision Exercises
- 16. Use Used small squigz (or you can use any item) on the table in a horizontal line having a child call out the colors from left to right first one by one and then every other one. Second activity have then scan for a color and pick it up. Something a little more motivating to my clients instead of using letters.
- Irlen Method
- Sensory motor exercises like Brain Gym.
- Environmental modifications can minimize sensory stress contributing to reading fluency and sustained attention problems with immediate and profound improvements.
- Meridian tapping
- Lazy 8’s
- The Flow
- Infinity Walk
- Ann Arbor series of books
- Meir Schneider’s program “Yoga for the Eyes” and “Miracle of Eyesight”
- Copying From the Board
- Take post-it’s and write letters on them and stick them on a wall in random order. Then, usually as part of an obstacle course, have them use a playground ball/chest pass to hit the requested letter. (I grade it by making the letter sound or having them spell words or even put some backwards letters to work on identifying proper letter orientation.)
- Put letters/words/colors on the backs of chairs sitting two feet apart and have them throw bean bags at the requested one, while prone on a scooter, during scooter games (or after bending supine over a big exercise ball to grab bean bags from behind them).
- Shape/color bingo and have the kids draw the cards then they have to go from the drawn card to scan their bingo card.
- Ordering from a menu and figuring out how much things cost ( by reading across the line)
- Use old fashioned phone book to look up the name and address of a target person or business.
- Across the large whiteboard in my therapy room, I randomly write letters and numbers in a line. I turn down the lights and have the student use a laser pointer to find alternate letters and numbers in order (i.e. A1B2, etc).
- Flashlight games with lights off. Can either work on tracking or saccades. Ex. I spy game.
- Using the MNRI Visual/Auditory Protocol I have seen improvements in all ocular motor skills.
- Reading off the Hart chart while bouncing on a yoga ball is effective, although not usually as fun.
- Simple memory game where the “matching” card is face up on table and the other in my hand… I have student scan what I have in my hand by moving it in a variety of ways. For example in an arch left to right..or bounce up down left to right. .or in a circle.. you get it. So as they get better at identifying the cards I add more to the table to scan.
- Balloon volleyball with letters or shapes written on it. Say what you see when hitting the balloon.
- Post-its with customized writing and appropriate sensory/movement tasks on the wall in a random order. Use chest pass with a playground ball to hit the requested letter.
- Old fashioned block alphabet puzzle that the student has to dig out of the grid. I play hide and seek with the letters of their name or spelling words and have them look for them, spell, etc.
- Flashlight tag.