What are Fine Motor Skills?

By Dr. Randy Kulman on Tuesday, October 20, 2015

booksWhat are Fine Motor Skills? Fine motor movements involve grasping and manipulating objects with one’s hands.  Fine motor skills require muscle strength, muscle control, and muscle dexterity and are essential for younger children to complete daily tasks such as using a proper pencil grasp, opening jars and doors, picking up small objects, and using utensils.  Fine motor skills are essential for older children to complete daily tasks such as zipping and buttoning clothing, developing good penmanship, drawing, typing, and playing musical instruments.  When a child has fine motor delays or challenges, it often affects his/her ability to be independent and excel in age-appropriate developmental tasks.  Difficulty with fine motor skills can affect a child in several domains such as at school, at home, and on the playground.  Children who have difficulties with fine motor skills may also see themselves as different from other children, and this may place them at higher risk for symptoms of anxiety and low self-esteem.

Psychologists typically use specific tests to evaluate a child’s fine motor skills.  Such tests may include pegboards, tapping tasks, and/or drawing tasks that require fine motor speed, dexterity, and precision.  Children often see an occupational therapist to receive specialized therapy that will develop their fine motor skills.  A child who is experiencing significant challenges at school due to fine motor challenges may receive an Individualized Education Plan to assist his or her academic development.

For More Information Regarding Fine Motor Skills, Refer To The Following Links:

Definitions of fine motor skills: This link offers 5 skills to help with fine motor tasks.

Strategies for improving fine motor skills: This link offers many different activities for parents to do with their kids to practice fine motor skills.

Understanding fine and gross motor issues: This link offers recommendations about how to improve fine motor and gross motor skills.

 

 

Photo Credit: Anders Ruff Custom Designs / CC BY-ND 2.0