What are fine motor skills?

Fine motor skills include all of the small movements and coordination of muscles in our hands and fingers. Children develop fine motor skills just as they develop other milestones such as saying their first word or walking. Infants will first begin to use their whole arm and hand to reach, grab, and manipulate toys and objects. As infants grow, they begin use their hands more precisely, such as manipulating blocks or placing large puzzle pieces into a form board. Toddlers will then begin to use two hands for different tasks, such as stringing beads or stabilizing paper when coloring. Toddlers will also begin to develop finger isolation required to manipulate small objects and develop an appropriate grasp on markers or feeding utensils. As children continue to develop, they will fine-tune these fine motor skills as needed for play, academics, and self-care skills.



Does my child have a fine motor delay?

Oftentimes, fine motor delays are observed by teachers or parents when compared to same age peers during play or when completing structured activities in the classroom. Our occupational therapists observe and address fine motor skills as it relates to the child’s individual differences. This may include their age, strength, bilateral coordination, precision, and dexterity. Following the identification of areas of growth for your child’s fine motor skills, our occupational therapists will work with you to determine goals related to functional daily participation.



How can our Occupational Therapist assist with fine motor skills development?

Our occupational therapists use a variety of treatment strategies to address fine motor skill development. This may include overall strengthening via proximal stabilization and upper extremity stabilization for a proximal to distal approach to treatment. It may also include hand strengthening via upper extremity weight bearing activities or manipulation of objects providing some resistance. We also work to address the precise coordination and isolation of finger movements required for daily living skills, like buttoning a shirt or using scissors. At MPPT, our occupational therapists strive to individualize treatment and provide home programming to best address your child’s fine motor needs.