Fine and Gross Motor Skill Development in Children
When You Suspect a Delay in Development:
Any parent, who suspects that their child has a delay in development, should follow their instincts in having that child further evaluated. The earliest intervention possible offers the highest response and success rate among children with special needs.
A child’s pediatrician is a logical starting point of this process. All pediatricians should have a basic understanding of normal development in children. They should be easily able to pick out large discrepancies or delays in development. However, areas such as sensory integration may not be as familiar to them, if familiar at all. If you suspect that your child is having difficulty in this area you should contact a certified occupational or physical therapist, who specializes in this area for an evaluation.
For children ages birth to three years old, parents have the option of contacting the state funded and operated early intervention program, otherwise referred to as Birth to Three. This program offers free assessment of motor, speech, and cognitive skills. Parents should call Info-line at 1-800-505-7000 or visit their Internet site at http://www.birth23.org for more information
For children ages three years and up, parents have the option of contacting the special education department of their school district. Laws exist to protect children with special needs and make sure that they are provided with reasonable accommodations and appropriate special education and related services such as Occupational Therapy(OT), Physical Therapy(PT), and Speech Therapy(ST).
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Give your young builders the blocks they need to follow the paths of their imaginations. Perfect for indoor or outdoor play, these heavy-duty blocks will create solid pathways for children to walk upon, tunnels for them to crawl through, or even a playroom to call their own. Because each block is exactly a square foot, they can be used for simple activities that introduce linear and area measurement.
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Mini Rollercoaster is a wonderful experience for the very young. It is a "first building block" for creative, intellectual development as it stimulates basic learning skills such as visual tracking, eye-hand coordination, and shape and color recognitions. Kids can't keep their hands off of this exciting, stimulating, and fascinating toy!
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Gross Motor Skills
Motor skills in preschool children improve greatly. An average 5 year old American child can ride a tricycle, climb a ladder, pump on a swing, throw, and catch and kick a ball. Some can skate, ski, or ride a bicycle, which all require practice and brain coordination. A three year old child cannot hop on one foot, but by the time that child is five, his brain has matured enough for him to be able to master this skill.
Some gross motor skills that a child should be able to do by preschool age:
2. Walk a straight line
5. Alternate feet walking down stairs
7. Stand on one four for 5-10 seconds
8. Walk backwards for five feet
9. Throw a ball
Fine Motor Skills
Fine motor skills are much more difficult for preschoolers to master, because they depend on muscular control, patience, and judgement as well as brain coordination. Examples of fine motor skills that preschoolers master are pouring from a pitcher to a glass, cutting paper into small peices and cutting food with a knife and fork.
Some fine motor skills that children should be able to do by preschool age:
1. Paste objects
2. Match simple objects
3. Button a shirt
4. Build with blocks
5. Zip a zipper
6. Control pencil and crayon well
7. Cut simple shapes
8. Handle scissors well
9. Complete simple puzzles (5 pieces or less)
10. Copy simple shapes
Play is crucial for children to develop gross and fine motor skills. Toys should be age appropriate, as frustration can occur otherwise. Many educators feel that fine motor skill development should be a very important part of any preschool education program. Drawing is the most important skill to encourage based on the link to success in further formal education. Art is very important because it practices accomplishment and self-correction. Rough and tumble play is a very important form of gross motor play. This type of play mostly occurs between children that are familiar with each other. Lots of open space must be available for children to engage in rough and tumble play.
Benelli, Celcelia and Bill Yongue. "Supporting young childern's motor development." Chilhood Education, Summer 1995, v71 n4, p217(4).
Berger, Kathleen Stassen, The Developing Person Through the Life Span. Worth Publishers, 3rd Edition, p217-219.
(The Developmental Psychology Student Newsletter)