Academic journal article British Journal of Occupational Therapy

Convergent Validity of Two Visual Motor Integration Tests

Academic journal article British Journal of Occupational Therapy

Convergent Validity of Two Visual Motor Integration Tests

Article excerpt

Ted Brown, (1) Alex Chinner (2) and Karen Stagnitti (3)


Occupational therapists, other health care professionals and educators often evaluate visual motor integration (VMI) skills as part of their assessment of clients presenting with developmental, behavioural, learning, neurological, psychological or other related difficulties (Payne 2002, Diamantis 2006). VMI is the degree to which visual perception (information) and limb movement (finger-hand movements) are well coordinated together (Gabbard et al 2001, Rodger et al 2005, Brown et al 2007, Beery and Beery 2010). Since VMI is the ability to use vision to perform motor tasks, functional VMI enables an individual to coordinate visual stimuli with the corresponding motor action(s) in a timely and skilful manner (Schneck 2010) (for example, a child copying material from a blackboard into a notebook with a pencil at school or an adult filling out an annual income tax form). VMI falls under the umbrella term of perceptual-motor skills and is closely related to visual perception (Parush et al 1998, Schneck 2005).

Difficulties with VMI skills can have a negative impact on a person's occupational performance, learning ability, behaviour, coping skills, self-esteem, leisure and play activities, achievement of developmental milestones, success at school and completing work-related tasks (Cummings et al 2001, Foulder-Hughes and Cook 2003, Cronin and Mandich 2005). It is, therefore, important that VMI skills are well understood and that tests used to assess clients' VMI skills are valid and reliable (Brown and Jackel 2007, Brown 2009). The purpose of this study was to evaluate the convergent validity of two VMI tests, the Beery-Buktenica Developmental Test of Visual-Motor Integration --Fifth Edition (DTVMI) (Beery and Beery 2006) and the Full Range Test of Visual Motor Integration (FRTVMI) (Hammill et al 2006). The DTVMI and FRTVMI were both previously developed for use with children, but recent revisions to both tests have expanded their content and coverage to be relevant for use with adults.

Literature review

VMI and visual perceptual problems are common in children with neuromuscular conditions, such as cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, hydrocephalus and nerve injuries; traumatic brain injury; developmental conditions, such as intellectual disability, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, developmental coordination delay, learning disabilities; or pervasive developmental disorders, such as autism (Goyen et al 1998, Schultz et al 1998, Roger 2005). However, VMI dysfunction can also occur in children without an overt disability who present with developmental delays and learning disabilities (for example, non-verbal learning problems, psychosocial difficulties or sensorimotor challenges).

Indicators of VMI function may include legible handwriting, skilfully constructing objects with building blocks, completing a crossword puzzle, copying geometric designs onto a piece of paper from a book, building a model airplane, keyboarding at a computer, and ability to complete most visual/motor activities at an adequate speed (Erhardt and Duckman 1997). Indicators of VMI dysfunction may be seen in children whose handwriting is messy and who are unable to form letters legibly or copy letters; have difficulty constructing objects with building blocks, doing puzzles, using fasteners in dressing and tying shoelaces; and exhibiting decreased or slow speed at completing visual-motor tasks (Marr et al 2001, Daly et al 2003). VMI and visual perceptual problems are often linked to difficulties in a number of daily occupations, including handwriting; spelling; mathematics; self-care tasks, such as doing up buttons and tying shoelaces; participation in play, recreation and /or leisure activities; and completion of school-related work (Hamilton 2001, Brown et al 2003).

Adults often present to occupational therapists with neurological problems or other related conditions (Halliday Pulaski 2003). …

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