A Motor Basis of Vision

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A Motor Basis of Vision

The goal of therapy for a visual-motor deficiency is to gradually introduce a connection between vision and movement in order to advance vision processing abilities. I) Streff Syndrome has been coined as “visual overload” by John Streff himself. Is Autism and expression of early sensory overload? Could this be why children on the spectrum have particular sensitivities and peculiarities including poor central eye contact?

II) Maldevelopment The growth of visual functions must be interpreted in terms of basic motor maturation. The patterns of visual behavior are configured by pervasive muscular determiners – not only by the oculomotor activators, but by the total postural mechanisms and orientations. Accordingly, as the child grows, his visual world transforms. The metaphor of the camera has tended to obscure these significant developmental changes. Although his actual visual experiences are concealed, we can infer the developmental transformations from a study of his total action system. If these visual-motor experiences don’t occur in a developmental sequence, then the vision and motor association tends to be lost. But this does not mean that the action system grows at a uniform and simultaneous rate in all its parts. On the contrary, the process of developmental organization is more like an intricate melody of rhythms, accents, crescendos, pauses, and diminuendos.

We learn through physical trial and error. Think about it, is there any known “natural born” baseball player that can hit every pitch? Classical theories of vision have emphasized its sensory aspects, to the neglect of motor factors.

III) Motor Basis of Vision It is not misleading to interpret development of visual functions in relation to a basic motor system. Early visual-motor development is demonstrated by the Tonic Neck Reflex in which the eyes tend to fixate in the direction of the extended arm. During the first decade of life the components of the entire visual-motor system undergo ceaseless organization and reorganization, adapting not only to cultural demands, but even more to the structural changes within the organism itself. But very early these fundamental postural patterns must be combined with increasingly refined eye-hand coordinations , mediated by the accessory musculature. The component movements of vergence are horizontal, vertical, and circular. During development, they are brought into functional relationship with a vast variety of movements of the body as a whole and of its members.

We learn through movement – reaching, touching, identifying – all directed by our vision. (How often are children told “not to touch anything” by their parent in the department store?)