Day 1 Eyes / Head differentiating
General Information: The Eyes
- The muscles of the eyes are the first muscles a child is usually learning to control, here it understands the concept of taking control of movements.
- Two muscle pairs work together: looking up, one has to relax while the other has to work. So work in clear directions up/down or right(left first.
- Help your child to blink a lot (by softly taking your hands towards his eyes) or blowing on his face.
- If the child can move the eyes smoothly from one side to another but starts to look strained or has a lazy eye when it is getting tired, the problem might not be related to the eyes, but to the general muscle tone. Getting more movement in the neck and spine might result in better vision.
- Have your child`s eyes checked regularly if she or he is wearing glasses. The biggest progress in a client I worked with that I know about (because it was tested) was from -9 diopters to about - 4,5 within half a year, glasses will have a negative impact on such improvement.
- Improving the coordination of the eyes helps with orientation, balance, hand/eye control, and movement in general.
How to do this Lesson
- Best to it in lying down first. Make sure the child is lying comfortably. If the child is able to track objects easily lying down, you can start practicing in other positions, like sitting up or lying on the belly. You might be surprised how the position of the body will change the movements of the eyes.
- Use a toy the child likes. Sound is not helpful here - many children with impaired vision compensate by hearing. You can use a mobile phone (with boring content). Then you know the child wants to watch - but possibly cannot.
- For children with impaired vision use soft light in a very dark room - the bigger the contrast, the bigger the stimulus.
- You can always patch one eye, then the other. Use both eyes together at the end of your lesson.
- Moving slowly is the key. It is also a lot more difficult than moving fast.
Work no longer than two minutes with the eyes before giving the child time to rest. The muscles are small and tire easily. 10 to 15 minutes, all in all, would be the maximum for a daily lesson - but you can fit in parts of this lesson any time.
Step one: Move an object right-left or up and down. Notice whether the child moves the eyes or the neck. Do this for about two minutes right/left, then let the child rest. Repeat, rest, then try up and down.
If the child is losing the object out of sight or seems to lose concentration, wait a long time to give the child the chance to figure it out. Only go back slightly if it cannot follow, then start again in the easy direction. In the beginning, it is not important whether the child moves eyes or head.
Step two: slightly hold the head and move the object. This is not about getting it right - it is about showing the child it has the choice to move either head or eyes. The most important part is invisible - it is about the controlled coordination of two muscle groups.
Step three: Let the child rest, and try the movement with a bowl of liquid. (Video below)
Step four: Gently place your hands under the child`s head. Repeat the steps above in a playful way by using your own face as an object - take it right and left, and let the child follow, first head and eyes together, then hold the head and let the child move the eyes.
Then hold your own head still, wait until the child is watching you, and gently start to move the head. (Keep the eyes looking in the same direction while moving the head, see video )