There are scientific methods to assess fine motor skills. Neurologists and occupational therapist are trained to assess for fine motor skill deficiencies. Parents can gather several age peers and compare their child’s ability with that of others of the same age to assess the dexterity when using scissors and crayons. If the child has poor abilities than the majority of the peers, then it is likely that the child could benefit from neuro-development therapy to increase fine motor skills.
There are many activities that a parent can do at home to augment and develop fine motor skills. They are:
- Play with clay
- Practice colouring
- Practice writing
- Self care tasks like opening lunch boxes, cleaning teeth
Without the ability to complete these everyday tasks, a child’s self esteem can suffer and in the long run their academic performance is compromised. They are also unable to develop appropriate independence in life skills like getting dressed and feeding themselves.
In most cases of fine motor skill development, practice is the only way out. Practise in fact makes perfect! Some ways to develop these skills are having children pop bubbles on bubble wraps with just index finger and thumb. Parents can encourage the child to solve puzzles or trace letters and shapes.
Lego or building blocks are some activities that focus on using smaller muscle groups. Repetition of one action allows that action to be performed almost automatically without much effort.
Basic grasping and manipulation skills develop during the infant and toddler years. These are refined during the preschool years. The preschooler becomes quite adept in self-help, construction, holding grips, opening and closing lunch boxes.
Fine motor skill difficulties can present as avoidance and or disinterest towards physical activities like sit down tasks and no interest in pencil skills. Fine motor skills are basically the coordination of small muscle movement which involve the fingers and the eyes. The development of these skills allows the child to complete tasks such as writing, drawing and buttoning and unbuttoning.