In today’s educational system, a child’s reading readiness in early childhood is based on their chronological age. This means that some kids are doomed to underachievement from the time they enter school. Just because you turn 5 in August, and make the age cut-off for kindergarten, does not mean that you are ready for the fast-paced world of education. Physical and neurological development are equally as important to chronological age when entering kindergarten.
If a child is experiencing delays in motor development, this affects far more than just the coordination needed for walking and talking. The ability to control one’s eyes to focus on one part of a page may be impaired, or not fully developed by age 5. For the child’s eyes to naturally move from left to right to follow a line of print, the two eyes are required to fuse two separate images into one clear image (convergence). If there are deficits with this neurological motor skill, the child might skip lines when reading.
Reading is also connected to hearing. So if a child has difficulty with auditory discrimination (being able to hear the difference between similar sounds) they will struggle with sounding out words.
Reading is a skill that requires direction. So if a child has poor body awareness (knowing left from right, and awareness of one’s self in space), how can we expect them to perform the higher level task of reading? Directionality is a spatial skill that is partially dependent on a properly functioning vestibular system.
Reading is a skill that heavily relies on the maturity of the eyes to coordinate movements in a specific way. Many times, kids who have immaturity with balance and coordination, also lack the stability to effectively coordinate their eye movements.
If you feel like your child is lacking in physical coordination or academic ability, contact us today to help get your child or teen’s brain and body systems working together effectively.
About the Author:
Emily Reynolds, MSOTR is the founder of ReSprout Therapy. She is a pediatric Occupational Therapist who specializes in neurodevelopment and reflex integration.
Emily loves working with parents and kids to find the source of the problem and create lasting changes that impact daily lives and the long-term future of the child.