Saccades


Clown Jumps:
  Objective: Saccades refer to the eye's ability to quickly and accurately shift from one target to another. This is an important visual skill, allowing us to accurately control where we aim our eyes.  The ability to make efficient saccades (or jump movements) is especially important in reading.  It keeps us from overshooting or undershooting, going too far ahead or not far enough when we're trying to follow a line of print and locate the next word.

Directions: Click on the button below. You will see a clown jumping around the screen. Watch the clown, being careful to only move your eyes and not your head.  (The inability to move the eyes without also moving the head is usually an indication of deficits in a child's oculomotor system.) 

...click on the Jumping Clown!

 

Rabbit Jumps with Motor Demand:
Objective: This is another tracking/visual motor activity, integrating the ability to control our eye movements with our ability to direct our hands.  This time, however, the directions ask the child to alternate hands, turning the demand up a notch.  This will also mean that sometimes the child will be reaching across his body to touch the screen.  The ability to bilaterally reach across the body's midline is an important developmental milestone. The target is also the same color as the background (less contrast) and moving quickly (requiring faster processing) so the child's visual system has to be fairly efficient in order to complete the task well.

Directions: Try to touch the rabbit with your index (pointer) finger before he moves.  Alternate hands--right, left, right, left, etc. Move only your eyes and hands, not your head. 

...click on the Jumping Rabbit!



Reading Saccades
Objective:Reading involves some very specific eye movements. The eyes must move left to right along a straight line without deviating up or down to the lines above or below.  In addition, when we reach the end of a line, our eyes must make a difficult reverse sweep back to the beginning of the next line.  If a child cannot control these eye movements, he'll lose his place and comprehension becomes a problem.

Directions: Read the numbers left to right as they appear on the screen.  Move only your eyes, not your head. Start with the slow speed; if it is too easy, move on the medium speed.  Once the medium skill is mastered, try the fast speed. The goal is to read the numbers easily, smoothly, and accurately. 

Slow Speed      Medium Speed      Fast Speed