Krisanne is Cali’s occupational therapist (OT). Today, she wanted to start out by helping Cali become visually engaged before they started their activity of writing letters. You can pretty much count on Cali’s eyes drifting off and wandering during any type of focused activity or learning. Much of what Krisanne does with Cali requires absolute focus and visual engagement, such as writing her name. A child learning to write needs to be visually focused on the particular letter at hand in order for that child to establish the correct form of the letter. As children grow older and become proficient at writing their letters, they could probably get away with looking off for a split second. Their ability to write probably wouldn’t suffer all too much. I just tried writing half of my name while looking away and the name came out perfectly legible. So I thought, what if I tried to draw a stick figure. Something I hardly ever draw, something I am not proficient at. Similar to a child just learning to write their letters. My poor figure was all over the place! Long story short…this is why establishing visual engagement before participating in a focused, engaged activity such as learning to write is so critical. Cali or any child will learn to write their letters with more proficiency and accuracy if they are visually engaged. Plain and simple.
To create this visual focus, Krisanne tried to play a simple game of catching a ball. Playing back and forth. She also tried using a swing during the process to help with Cali’s balance as well. Cali was not interested in catching and throwing a ball, but Krisanne at least try to keep Cali engaged by talking with her and staying at her eye level.
This is what it looked like…
This is an easy at home trick you can do with your child to help ensure that they will be more visually focused when sitting down to write their letters. If you have the option of playing catch on a swing, do it! If the swing is not available, use a yoga ball or something for them to sit on that requires balance. And if nothing else, just play catch standing up. As you saw in the video, Cali did not want to play catch at all. If this is the case with your child, don’t be discouraged. Practice makes perfect right?
So remember, start with a visually engaging activity and then move to letter writing. Email me your experience. I would love to feature any outside stories.