Fine motor skills are the co-ordinated movements of the eyes, fingers and hands that enable us to carry out every day activities such as painting, writing, drawing, colouring, grasping small objects and fastening clothing. They involve strength, fine motor control and dexterity.
Babies and young children learn how to use their hands with more and more precision, by the age of six, children can make precise movements of their fingers and hands to put together manipulative toys, cut with scissors. There are many developmental “milestones” that children attain to reach a functional level of fine motor ability. An experienced Occupational Therapist can check your child’s development against these milestones through specialized assessment techniques.
Children benefit from life experiences that enhance the development of their fine motor skills, little everyday activities that enable them to utilize their hands and fingers. Children need to have strength and dexterity in their hands and fingers, as well as eye-hand coordination, before being able to perform the most basic of educational tasks such as manipulating a pencil on paper.
These skills are important in most school activities as well as in life in general. Weaknesses in fine motor skills can affect a child's ability to eat, write legibly, use a computer, turn pages in a book, and perform personal care tasks such as dressing and grooming.
Areas that we can treat include finger, hand strength, positions and stability, pencil grip and control, wrist or forearm control and fluency/finger movements. Correctly applied therapy in these areas can improve many of the basic skills a child develops as they grow older.
Things to look out for include
- No interest in fine motor skills
- Gross pencil grasp
- Poor scissor skills
- Clumsy grasp and release skills
- Difficulty holding small objects, manipulating tools, pencils or scissors
- Difficulty copying text from whiteboard or blackboard
We have also provided several useful links to external websites that may give you additional information. You can access them from our Resources page.
If you believe your child has fine motor weaknesses that may affect his education or wellbeing, evaluation by an Occupational Therapist can determine how severe the problem is and provide therapy to improve your child's fine motor skills.
You can contact us to discuss what you should do and we can work together to find the best way of helping your child. Follow Contact from the menu above.