We have previously discussed how reading ability and fine motor skills can be affected in amblyopic children, but could amblyopia perhaps also affect gross motor skills, balance, coordination and make amblyopes less motor competent? We explore this topic in this blog!
Amblyopia is a condition that primarily affects vision, leading to decreased visual acuity, decreased contrast sensitivity, and, importantly, also hampered binocular vision.
Consequently, as a result of hampered vision, it can also indirectly influence a plethora of other aspects important for normal child development.
The Role of Gross Motor Skills
Gross motor skills involve the use of large muscle groups to perform activities such as crawling, walking, jumping, and running. These skills play a crucial role in a child’s physical development.
Researchers have found that children with amblyopia often exhibit delays in the development of gross motor skills. It’s believed that the visual imbalance caused by the condition might affect a child’s spatial awareness, depth perception, and coordination – all of which are integral components of gross motor skill development.
Ideas for Gross Motor Activities
Since it’s impossible to do any kind of vision therapy or complex exercises with infants and toddlers, we give you some ideas for activities that could promote the development of gross motor skills.
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Gross motor skills ideas for infants
- Tummy Time Play: Encourage tummy time to strengthen neck and upper body muscles. Place colorful toys within reach to engage their visual and motor skills.
- Baby Yoga: Gently move your baby’s legs and arms in a yoga-like manner to enhance flexibility and coordination.
- Rolling Play: Place a soft ball or plush toy near your baby and encourage them to reach, grasp, and roll the object, promoting reaching and crawling movements.
Gross motor skills ideas for toddlers (1-3 years)
- Obstacle Course: Create a simple obstacle course using cushions, tunnels, and low obstacles to promote crawling, walking, and balance.
- Dance Party: Play music and encourage toddlers to dance, jump, and move to the beat, fostering coordination and balance.
- Balloon Volleyball: Use a soft balloon as a lightweight ball for a game of “volleyball,” promoting hand-eye coordination and gross motor skills.
Amblyopes can have Worse Gross Motor Skills
According to some of the latest research in the field, this is indeed entirely possible. In fact, some reports show that amblyopic children are less motor competent, which does not just affect fine motor skills but also gross motor skills.
Poor movement accuracy, impaired balance, and uncoordinated movements can all emerge as a result of amblyopia. What is more, some of these declines can also persist even after amblyopia has been resolved. Therefore, it is important to keep in mind that if a child experiences difficulties with balance, uncoordinated or poorly coordinated movements, as well as poor movement accuracy, the reason for that could also be in her or his eyes. Thankfully, a simple ophthalmological examination is usually all that is needed to rule this out.
Amblyopia Should be Properly Treated
Properly addressed amblyopia is therefore of utmost importance to minimize the potential long-lasting negative impact of decreased vision itself and also its impact on the broader aspect of children development, including fine, as well as gross motor skills. If your child suffers from amblyopia, make sure that his or her condition is properly diagnosed and treated by an eye care specialist. To make the most of the treatment, however, also consider purchasing our wonderful vision training solution AmblyoPlay already today.