Did you know that there are 4 factors that can greatly impact your child’s fine motor skills? There are four essential bases for fine motor development:
1. Postural Stability
2. Tactile Perception
3. Hand Function
4. Bilateral Coordination
What do each of these bases mean and why are they important?
Postural stability, this is the ability to keep your balance and maintain an upright posture when seated without the need for outside support. Such stability comes from the muscles of the trunk and shoulder which in turn help stabilize and control the muscles of the arms and hands making tasks like writing less difficult. If this area is lacking it may result in your child pressing too hard when using writing utensils or not pressing hard enough with poor control of utensils. Shoulder and core strengthening exercises can help combat this issue.
Tactile perception, this is the sensation related to touch. Issues with tactile perception cause confusion for the brain when it cannot definitively tell the differences between various sensations and textures. Sometimes you see this result in your child dropping items out of their hands frequently. Without the proper information getting from the hands to the brain, fine motor development is very challenging.
Hand function, this is how the hand and finger muscles function together. This skill is very important! The more fine motor and hand dexterity opportunities that are made available to your child, the greater their fine motor skills will become.
Bilateral Coordination, this is your hands ability to work and move together. The inability to cross midline can also cause difficulty when trying to coordinate your hand function. When our hands work together well you will notice more controlled and systematic fine motor skills including improved small object manipulation and legible handwriting.
If your child seems to be having difficulty with any of the skills listed above, please seek a referral to a pediatric occupational therapist!