Why Poor Spatial Awareness and Eye Tracking Skills affect Reading

Eyes

Good spatial awareness enables us to be aware of the space around us and our position in that space, as well the relationship between ourselves and objects. This also includes our ability to see and understand the spacing of text and pictures on a page, to distinguish between paragraphs, sentences, words and individual letters.

Spatial awareness difficulties can have a dramatic effect on a child’s ability to read fluently and with ease due to the fact that they do not see the print in the same way as people with good spatial awareness skills.

Typical problems due to poor spatial awareness skills:

  • They lose their place, skip lines and words or transpose them
  • They use a finger to help keep their place.
  • Comprehension can be difficult as text is mis-read.

Eye tracking is the ability to control and coordinate the fine eye movements that allows us to:

  • Read a line of print by moving our eyes from left to right, without moving the head.
  • To focus and move the eyes to follow an object, without moving the head, in all directions
  • To track/follow objects near and far
  • To focus on one object without moving the eyes.

Eye tracking difficulties can have a dramatic effect on a child’s ability to read fluently and with ease due to the fact that they do not see the print in the same way as people with good eye tracking skills.

Typical problems due to poor eye tracking skills:

  • They lose their place, skips words or transposes them
  • They use a finger to help keep their place
  • Some will turn their head sideways to read or write
  • Others may cover one eye to read
  • They hold their head close to the table when looking at things, reading, writing and drawing

For more information on how to identify spatial awareness and eye tracking difficulties as well as activities to help support and develop these skills use these links:

 

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