What is Motor Skills Therapy for Children?

5 Aug 2021 Media

What is Motor Skills Therapy?

Motor skills can be broadly classified into 2 main spectrums – Fine Motor Skills and Gross Motor Skills. As children grow older, they start to naturally develop the ability to control and coordinate their body movements. Some children, however, may face difficulties in acquiring such motor skills.

This is where Trained Therapists can help develop specialised treatment programmes to promote the fundamental skills required to function in everyday activities. Motor Skills Therapy can also help to maintain the level of motivation or engagement required to develop fine and gross motor skills. Studies have shown that a lack of engagement results in a slower pace of acquiring the necessary motor skills for foundational development.

What are Fine Motor Skills?

Fine Motor Skills involve the use of smaller muscle groups such as the hands, fingers, and wrists to manipulate, control and execute intricate movements. Fine Motor Skills can help you child perform important daily tasks such as feeding themselves, buttoning and zipping clothes, writing, drawing, and brushing their teeth.

Some children may struggle with daily activities that utilise their fine motor skills. For example, they may not be able to hold a scissors and cut across a dotted line. This can cause them to become frustrated, have low self-esteem and avoid this particular task in future. Hence, it is important to build your child’s fine motor skills through therapy and engaging exercises.

Fine Motor Skills include:

  • Academic Skills

    • Writing
    • Drawing
    • Coloring
    • Cutting
    • Using a keyboard
  • Self-Care Skills

    • Dressing (zipping, buttoning, tying shoelaces)
    • Eating (using cutlery)
    • Personal hygiene (brushing teeth, combing hair, toileting)
  • Physical Skills

    • Palmar arches (allows the palms to curl inwards, required for writing and gripping)
    • Wrist Stability
    • Bilateral hand movement (ability to coordinate both hands concurrently)
    • Hand-eye coordination

What are Gross Motor Skills?

Gross Motor Skills involve the larger muscle groups of the body and require whole body movements. This enables the child to perform functions such as walking, jumping, running, sitting upright, and climbing. These movements are critical for a child’s overall physical development as they will continue to use these skills in their everyday life.

Some children may struggle with daily activities which require gross motor skills. For example, a child may not be able to maintain his balance and sit upright. This can result in bad body posture and affect his health in the future. Hence, we need to nurture gross motor skills in our children to help them refine their balance, strength, endurance, and coordination skills.

Gross Motor Skills include:

  • Sitting
  • Walking
  • Running
  • Jumping
  • Balancing
  • Lifting
  • Kicking

Advanced Gross Motor Skills include:

  • Riding a bicycle
  • Playing Sports
  • Body Awareness
  • Coordination
  • Physical Strength

How can Motor Skills Therapy Help?

A Trained Therapist may use coordination exercises to strengthen a child’s core muscles, improving stability, balance, dexterity and body awareness. Interactive toys such as playdough, puzzles and Lego can also build stronger grip strength and hand-eye coordination. Additionally, the Therapist may practice daily activities with your child, such as brushing his teeth, tying his shoelaces and using cutlery.

Furthermore, Therapists may suggest adaptive equipment to increase a child’s independence in self-care skills. For example, if a child has difficulty putting on his shoes, a Trained Therapist may recommend using a shoehorn.

Who might need Motor Skills Therapy?

Motor Skills Therapy can help children with:

  • Acquired Brain Injury
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Developmental Co-ordination Disorder
  • Developmental Delay
  • Muscular Dystrophy
  • Sensory Processing Disorder

Signs your Child needs Motor Skills Therapy

  • Poor handwriting
  • Unable to hold a pencil
  • Difficulty in tying shoelaces
  • Unorganised work
  • Unable to coordinate both hands at the same time
  • Unable to manipulate objects with fingers
  • Unable to use scissors, buttons, and zips

Please note that all children develop at different paces and acquire motor skills at different stages of their childhood. However, if you think that your child may be struggling with adopting some of the skill areas above, please contact a qualified therapist.

For more help in determining whether your child requires Motor Skills Therapy, please sign up for a Free Consultation here.

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