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How Adults Can Support Motor Skills


ELA: Writing All Ages Strategy


Fine Motor Skills Visual Motor Speed

How Adults Can Support Motor Skills

If your student has difficulty with visual motor, fine motor skills or handwriting

When It Matters

Visual motor speed refers to how well you use your eyes, hands and fingers together to complete a task. It is also referred to as reaction time or response time. Students use visual motor speed when they are taking notes in class, typing a paper, or playing sports.

What To Keep In Mind When Supporting Your Student

  1. Students with weak visual motor speed might have difficulty keeping pace in activities such as writing or taking notes.
  2. It might take some trial and error to know what will help your student work most comfortably and efficiently in different tasks that require visual motor speed.
  3. If you are concerned that visual motor speed is interfering with your student's handwriting, keyboarding, ability to manipulate objects or coordinate movement an evaluation by the school's occupational therapist is always best.

Top Go-to Strategies

  1. Offer your student the option to record a class lesson, or give her pre-typed notes or an outline so she does not need to take comprehensive notes.
  2. Provide the option to type notes or papers if the student is more efficient than with handwriting.
  3. Offer enough practice for activities that might be hard for your student, such as cursive writing, keyboarding or using manipulatives. The key is to provide the right level of support during the practice so the student does not actively avoid activities.
  4. In activities where time is not critical, give your student the time to slow down and work carefully. Help him discover what pace works well for him without worrying about classmates.
  5. Help your student make trade-offs between quality and quantity. For instance, allow fewer but better sentences.
  6. Games can sometimes help develop visual motor speed. Find some here.
  7. Ultimately, it is most important that your student begins to recognize and learn to adapt when a weaker skill is interfering in learning. Middle or High School students can use this checklist to become more self-aware of their visual motor speed.
  8. Find additional ideas for a student who has an IEP or 504 Plan here.