Hand Control and Vision, Are They Related?
Are hand control and vision related? Would you be surprised if I said most definitely? Here's how they're connected!
Hand control is important for children to flourish in all areas of life. They must gain the ability to accurately use and manipulate objects, utensils, tools and even fingers (each one singularly, and together) for functional performance. Finger strength is one of the most important skills that impact a child’s ability to demonstrate hand control. It is essential for all types of fine motor tasks.
Why is hand control important?
Poor hand control can affect a child’s ability to eat, write neatly, turn pages in a book and so much more. If hand control is difficult, it can cause problems with various tasks at school, and it can undermine your child's ability to display their intellect on paper or in an assessment. School becomes difficult for the child and they tend to avoid fine motor tasks.
In this technologically advanced world, most people think that hand control for writing is not essential. What they don't realize is that the same hand control skills are required for using a computer.
What are the building blocks to develop hand control?
- Attention and concentration: continual effort, doing activities without distraction and being able to hold that effort long enough to complete the task or through repeated attention to develop task mastery.
- Body awareness: “Knowing” where the fingers are, and the pressure they are applying, without having look at them.
- Sensory processing: Accurate registration, interpretation, and response to sensory stimulation in the environment and the child’s own body.
How can you tell if your child might have problems with hand control?
Here are some things to look for:
- An awkward grasp on writing utensils/ poor pencil control.
- Messy/slow handwriting.
- Colouring outside of the lines.
What problems can occur when a child has hand control problems?
- Behaviour: Kids will avoid tasks that use hand control such as school activities (writing/colouring), home tasks that include both fine and gross motor control, and even fun activities such as sports like baseball and basketball.
- Persistence to task: Children will get frustrated easily and they will give up too easily and too soon.
- Hand dominance: They'll refuse to use one hand over the other to complete tasks and developing a dominant hand. They will switch back and forth between left and right and never develop either to it's fullest potential.
What can be done to improve hand control?
- Hand dominance: Determine and reinforce the child’s dominant hand through frequent use in everyday tasks.
- Hand and finger strength: Practice activities that develop hand and finger strength (e.g. scrunching paper, using tweezers, dough etc.).
- Hand-eye coordination: Practice activities that involve hand-eye coordination (e.g. throwing and catching).
If left untreated, the following problems can occur:
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- Failure to meet academic expectations due to poor handwriting skills/ rapid fatigue.
- Excessive pressure and anxiety due to difficulties keeping up in class.
- Poor self esteem when a child compares their writing and cutting with their classmates.