Motor skills disorder can also be known as motor co-ordination disorder or developmental co-ordination disorder and is very common in childhood – it is estimated as 6% of school aged children suffer or have suffered from this condition.
Signs could be a delay in sitting, learning to walk, difficulty in using cutlery or cups and failing to reach the developmental milestones for their age. Children with this disorder may struggle with tasks requiring the use of both their large and small muscles, For example, Children may attempt to pick up small objects from a flat surface using a palmar grasp rather than a pincer grasp, difficulty with hopping or jumping at school age, struggles to use a pen to form letters, catching or kicking a ball can be challenging and riding a bicycle.
Development areas to encourage
One of the best ways to encourage your child to improve their fine motor skills is through Toys, playing games and outdoor activities.
Hand and eye co-ordination should be encouraged and ensure children are ‘crossing the midline’ – this is the bilateral skill of moving one part of the body to the other side. For example, putting your left arm over to the right side and vice-versa, at the same time. A lot of children with delayed motor skill development may avoid or struggle with this concept but there are plenty of fun activities that will help.
Activities that they can engage with
Drawing, painting, and colouring are all excellent methods of enhancing motor skills.
Manipulating buttons, buckles and scissors will help with delicate movements and strengthening fine motor skills.
Use puzzles and dressing up dolls to offer an entertaining challenge, whilst building small hand muscles. Flying scarves or ribbons in the air to make pretty patterns will promote the movement of arm muscles.
Obstacle courses are often fun challenges and can be varied for different abilities or strengths, improving movement and flexibility. Simple hand and eye co-ordination games such as catch or kicking a ball will strengthen brain development and reaction times.
Games that promote “Crossing the midline” can include: popping bubbles using one hand, a simon says game where they have to touch their left elbow with their right hand. Dancing, using ‘grapevine’ style steps.