VISUAL EFFICIENCY SKILLS
Visual efficiency skills are taught to help maximise use of one’s vision. These skills include tracing along a line or path to locate an object, scanning the environment or a page of text for information, fixating on an object to elicit visual information, as well as tracking a moving object.
These skills are essential for both near and distant visual tasks.
This refers to the ability to visually search for and locating an object or a person agains a background. This can be especially challenging when the background is complex or busy, making it difficult for the child to visually locate the target object. Sometimes compensatory skills may be required to help in localising, for example, using sounds to provide a general sense of direction of where to look.
Fixating refers to attending directly to an object or a person. This skill is the next step after localising. Once an object has been located visually, the child is then able to look at it in detail.
Scanning refers to systematically examining or searching an area to locate a target object or person. It is important expecially for those children with some visual field loss, to be able to scan systematically so that they do not miss any choices available to them in a given situation.
This refers to following with visual gaze the movement of an object, person, or event. Tracking can be horizontal or vertical. Children who are unable to cross midline may encounter difficulty in tracking.
Shifting gaze refers to looking back and forth from one object or person to another. This is crucial in the making of choices. In an older school-going child, this skill is required when copying down notes from the board onto the book.
Eye-hand coordination refers to tasks that require both vision and fine motor skills, such as reaching out to touch something. For some children with visual impairments, coordinating hand movements with what the eyes see is not easy, and they may over-reach or under-reach when trying to obtain a desired object.