OBJECTIVE. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the assumption that preschool children who receive occupational therapy will demonstrate significant improvement in their visual-motor skills as measured on the Developmental Test of Visual-Motor Integration (VMI) and the two supplemental Visual Perception and Motor Coordination tests.
METHOD. Preschool children with developmental delays (n = 12) received occupational therapy a minimum of one individual 30-minute session, and one group 30-minute session per week for 1 school year. Their performance was compared to that of two control groups; preschool students without disabilities who received occupational therapy (n = 16) for one 30-minute group session per week and students without disabilities (n = 15) who received no occupational therapy. The VMI and two supplemental tests were administered three times to each student, at the beginning, middle, and end of school year.
RESULTS. Planned comparison tests showed that students with developmental delays demonstrated statistically significant improvement in visual-motor skills and developed skills at a rate faster than expected when compared to typically developing peers on the VMI. The effect size for preschool students without disabilities who received occupational therapy exceeded the effect size for the VMI and Visual Perception supplemental test for the preschool students without disabilities who received no therapy, although, the difference in the posttest performance of these two groups was not statistically significant.
DISCUSSION. The results of this study demonstrate that intervention, including occupational therapy, can effectively improve visual-motor skills in preschool-aged children.