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Natural Awakenings Westchester / Putnam / Dutchess New York

Expanded Services for Visual Development in Scarsdale: The building blocks of visual-motor development

Dr. Samantha Slotnick working with young boy

Dr. Samantha Slotnick, a specialist in behavioral optometry and vision therapy, now assesses “the building blocks of visual-motor development”— which ideally form in infancy but can be learned retroactively—as part of her optometric evaluation.

“As infants develop and explore their new world, they are constantly acquiring new skills,” Slotnick says. “The templates for each new discovery are based in pre-existing ‘primitive’ reflexes. These automatic movement patterns provide the building blocks for learning to make more complex movements.”

The purpose of the visual system is to guide movement, establish goals and plan the sequential steps to reach those goals, she says. This begins with children righting the head, learning to crawl, moving the limbs independently and setting their sights on a destination. From these early movements, they learn critical vision skills like keeping their eyes level; watching moving targets; and making rapid eye jumps in response to movement in their peripheral vision. They also learn to coordinate their eyes and body: estimating distances and the time it takes to travel them, for example, and building the visual-motor planning skills that support fine-motor development and dexterity.

“Children of any age—even adults—can revisit missed learning stages with home-based activities that foster visual-motor development,” she says. “This directly enables more efficient use of the visual system in gathering and processing information, for learning in an intense, sustained academic environment.”

For more info, visit To attend a free workshop, call 914.874.1177. Dr. Samantha Slotnick has offices at 495 Central Park Ave., Ste. 301, Scarsdale.