OT Month Guest Post: Fine Motor skills

             My friend Jennifer is also an Occupational Therapist working in the school system. She graciously agreed to guest post for OT month.

            I work with children from age 3 through high school.  I see children with a wide variety of conditions, such as autism, muscular dystrophy, Down’s syndrome, cerebral palsy, sensory processing disorder, and ADHD to name a few.  However, the majority of referrals that I receive from teachers are regarding a student’s fine motor ability.  

            Fine motor skills refer to the small muscles of the hand that are responsible for grasping and manipulating.  Fine motor skills are important for all aspects of life, both at home and at school: scribbling with a crayon, tying shoes, getting dressed, doing puzzles, using scissors, turning the pages of a book, etc.  Children who have not developed strength and dexterity in their hands will later have difficulty manipulating a pencil, making marks on paper, and an inefficient pencil grasp. 

         The following are easy ways to improve fine motor control and strength:
·         Playdough:  pinch, pull, roll, squeeze, and cut
·         Pop the plastic bubbles on packing sheets
·         Open and close ziplock bags
·         Winding up wind-up toys that have a knob
·         Use eye dropper to make pictures by mixing food coloring with water and dripping it onto paper towels
·         Use tweezers to pick up cotton balls
·         String beads, buttons, or popcorn  – you can use pipe cleaners at first for more stability and progress to yarn
·         Legos
·         Make a design with a hole punch
·         Put coins in a bank
·         Clip clothespins to a container
·         Roll small balls out of tissue paper, then glue the balls onto construction paper for an art project
·         Working on a vertical surface to increase strength in shoulder and wrist muscles: write on a chalkboard or easel, wipe clean a mirror or window, play with magnets on the refrigerator

These are just a few ideas of things you can easily do at home.  If you suspect a problem, please talk with your pediatrician.

1 comment:

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