Fine Motor Development and Handwriting
As we already know, children interact with their environment by moving and touching objects within it. Using fine motor skills to manipulate objects gives the child perceptual information necessary for the child to efficiently make sense of their environment. Fine motor skills involve the use of small muscles of the body that enable movement and functions such as handwriting, grasping small objects (IE putting a coin in a piggy bank), and fastening clothing.
Weakness in fine motor skills can affect the child’s ability to eat, write legibly, use a computer, turn pages in a book, and participate in self-care activities such as buttoning a shirt or zippering pants.
Fine motor skills not only involves manipulation of small muscles, particularly of the hand, but also coordinating the action of the eyes and hand together known as eye-hand coordination.
An upright work surface promotes fine motor skills; therefore, having your child draw on a chalkboard, easel, or even have your child engage in games such as light bright will be beneficial.
Fine motor skills become increasingly important when it is time for your child to learn handwriting. A child must have good physical stability and posture, have a good grasp, have correct hand placement with the writing instrument, and have good paper placement.
Your child’s muscles grow from proximal to distal meaning that your child gains stability in areas like their shoulder and shoulder blade before they gain stability of smaller muscles such as those in the hand. If muscles are not gained in your child’s shoulder, then you may see difficulties with fine motor activities.
Generally stability comes from your trunk, to your shoulder, then to your elbow, wrist and finally the hand. Hand skills are developed from gross motor to fine motor. You can see this occurring when your child is able to palm a toy (gross motor), but not separate there fingers as if they are picking up a cheerio (fine motor). Generally this development goes in the order of reach, grasp, carry, in hand, and then release.
Tummy time is very important in the development of your child. Tummy time helps your child to develop head control, spinal musculature, arm strength, and sensory development. Tummy time enables your child to build shoulder and arm strength, which is the foundation for crawling and fine motor manipulation, such as handwriting that comes at a later age.
Activities to Promote Shoulder, Arm, and Hand Strength
Activities to Develop Wrist and Hand Control
• Cause and effect toys.
• Wikki stix.
TAKEN FROM ARTICLE Tummy Time and Handwriting by Melissa Silvestro, OTR/L)
Areas that Affect Fine Motor Skills
Fine Motor Development Chart (Ages 0-5)
0 - 3 MONTHS
• Hands most often remain closed
2 - 4 MONTHS
3 - 3 1/2 MONTHS
3 1/2 - 4 MONTHS
3 - 7 MONTHS
4 - 8 MONTHS
5 - 9 MONTHS
7 - 9 MONTHS
7 - 12 MONTHS
12 - 18 MONTHS
3 - 3 1/2 YEARS
3 1/2 - 4 YEARS
4 - 4 1/2 YEARS
5 1/2 - 6 YEARS
CHART ABOVE TAKEN DIRECTLY FROM SENSORY-PROCESSING-DISORDER.COM
Proficiency in fine-motor control allows the child to develop skills that will have consequences immediately and in later life
Social Consequences. You cannot hide the way you move. Simple tasks such as tying laces or handling any utensils or objects can cause frustration and embarrassment. The child who has poor coordination begins to wonder why something that is natural and taken for granted is so difficult to perform.
Vocational Consequences. Because a number of vocations, including dentistry, secretarial work, cabinet making, and many others, have a large fine-motor component, the choices for the individual with fine-motor difficulties begin to diminish.
Academic Consequences. Quick and precise handling of concrete objects in mathematics and science becomes difficult. Precision and speed in handwriting and drawing tasks are minimized, affecting the amount of work being completed. When actions are not automatic, the available working memory and attentional space in the brain is taken up with concentrating on the movement rather than the concept being learned and practiced.
Psychological (Emotional) Consequences. Children with poor coordination often have unsuccessful experiences in physical activities. As a consequence, they can develop frustration, a fear of failure, and rejection which in turn can lead to the development of a negative self-concept and avoidance behaviors. This can dramatically affect classroom performance not only in the fine motor area but in other areas as well. Research tells us that a child's attitude toward learning in a particular area is at least as important as a child's ability in that area.
INFORMATION ABOVE TAKEN DIRECTLY FROM http://school.familyeducation.com/growth-and-development/body-parts/38717.html?detoured=1