What are Fine Motor Difficulties?
Fine motor skills relates predominantly to our eye-hand coordination. The muscles that are used in our hands, wrists and fingers to provide fluent and precise movements during meaningful tasks. Fine motor skills can also be referred to as manual dexterity.
Fine motor skills are required for tasks such as eating, dressing, play, manipulation and construction of small objects, drawing, cutting, crafts, writing and typing.
Fine motor skills can be challenging for some children. Difficulties can often be noticed when a child avoids participating in certain activities at home or preschool. At times difficulties are not recognised until the higher demands of fine motor skills at school required for tasks such as handwriting and cutting.
Children who have developmental disabilities and physical disabilities may have greater difficulties with fine motor performance and activities due to the quality of their movements and control.
What Therapies for Kids can do
Occupational Therapists are trained to develop fine motor skills and improve coordination fine motor difficulties. Therapists may work on strengthening the hands, wrists and fingers, developing appropriate pincer and pencil grasps and improving body awareness and hand control through playing games and activities that are graded in difficulty. Skills are mastered through practice, motivation and confidence.
The therapists can also look at modifications and adaptive devices if required (e.g. pencil grasps, use of splints to promote hand function, modified cutlery) and also give recommendations to parents for particular games used to achieve certain skills.
What you can do
If you or your child’s teacher notice that your child is reluctant to participate in or is having difficulties completing fine motor activities then an Occupational Therapy assessment should be sought to ensure that your child develops the required skills to be independent at everyday fine motor activities, handwriting and cutting as well as maintaining their self-esteem and continued confidence.