FINE MOTOR SKILLS
At Sensible Rehab our Occupational therapists refer to fine motor skills as the small movements in our fingers and hands. We rely on our fine motor skills to complete every day tasks. Fine motor skills development begins at birth and is crucial for a persons overall independence and participation in the world. Occupational Therapist’s are experts in the development of fine motor skills and can offer assistance and intervention when these skills are delayed due to development, diagnoses, injury, or illness throughout the lifespan.
Why are Fine Motor Skills so Important?
Fine Motor skills assist us in our every day lives. From an early age, children begin to reach, grasp, and manipulate toys and objects. During the preschool years, Children begin to learn and explore pre-academic skills such as coloring, cutting, writing, stringing beads, and stacking blocks. All these skills require the small movements from our fingers and hands, which are our fine motor skills. As children develop and progress, so do their fine motor skills. Learning how to dress themselves, complete fasteners (i.e., buttons, snaps, zippers, tie shoes. Etc), complete bathing, toileting, grooming and feeding tasks all require the use of our fingers and hands. As children enter school, fine motor skills become a crucial aspect to handwriting and penmanship such as holding a writing utensil in an efficient manner as well as grasping scissors during cutting tasks. Several research studies have concluded fine motor performance in kindergarten can be a strong predictor of later math and reading achievement. As an early adolescent and in our adult years, our fine motor skills become integrated into our daily routines and lifestyles. Some individuals rely on their fine motor skills to access technology through a tablet or computer and keyboard. Typing is a complex fine motor task that can be taught at an early age and used on a daily basis by many adults in the workplace. We use our fine motor skills daily and it is crucial to our independence and participation in the world.
What can I do to develop mine or my child’s fine motor skills?
Fine motor skills are dependent on an individual’s overall development. Having access and opportunities for young children to play with toys, participate in coloring activities, even playing with play-doh can help to develop fine motor skills. For adults, participating in task such as typing, crafts, writing, even texting and coloring can help develop and maintain fine motor skills. Research states that children who struggle with the fine motor demands in kindergarten are at risk for falling behind, teasing by peers, low perceived academic ability, and become dependent on others. Occupational therapists have specialized knowledge in assessing fine motor dysfunction and have ways to intervene when an individual is having difficulties completing fine motor tasks. If you suspect you or your child is having difficulties completing fine motor tasks, please feel free to sign up for an evaluation with one of our occupational therapist for an assessment.
Where can I find resources to help my child with fine motor skills at home?
If your child receives occupational therapy services, their therapist will work with you and your child to create a home program and/or give individual suggestions that fit the unique needs of your child.
Developing fine motor skills can be creative, fun, and get the entire family involved!