28 Feb 2019

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Occupational Therapist Team

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As part of an occupational therapy assessment, basic visual skills such as depth perception are assessed along with coordination of the body.

One of the most significant senses your child uses to learn about the world around them is their vision. Depth perception is one visual skill allowing us to see our world in three dimensions. Up until 6 months of age, everything appears flat, your child’s eyes are not yet efficiently working together.

By about age 6 months, ‘binocular’ vision starts to develop, both eyes start working together more efficiently to help children to see the world in 3 dimensions. Babies are learning all about this when they drop something from their high chair on purpose and watch it fall onto the floor. Development of depth perception, or binocular vision, helps your child learn to gain confidence in their body. We want children to learn to crawl then walk, climb up and down stairs, throw and catch a ball.

Signs of depth perception difficulties

Difficulties with depth perception can easily be missed at a young age.  Some typical signs that children may appear to be delayed include the following:

– Low confidence in gross motor development;

-A late crawler and walker;

-Hesitancy or fear with uneven surfaces, curbs, or slopes; and

-Resistance, or fear going up or down stairs.

Depth perception difficulties can influence a child’s confidence interacting with other children too.  For example they may have difficulty climbing play ground equipment, navigating an obstacle course, riding a trike. Problems may be very subtle and not picked up until a child is expected to learn letters and write their name.

What to do if you think your child needs help?

Some children may be slower to develop efficient depth perception, it may be part of a bigger picture as they may also have gross motor challenges as well. Occupational therapy looks at improving coordination of the whole body, including basic motor skills of the eyes. If there is further assessment and intervention needed for vision, an OT may refer to a Behavioural Optometrist.

Please call reception on 9274 7062  for further information about our services.

Madeline Minehan

Occupational Therapist

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