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Sensory Motor & Fine Motor Skills Development

Kid practicing fine motor skills

Written by: Dr. Kristy Bautista-Harris

Fine motor skills are fundamental for a child’s independence and participation in daily activities. From holding a pencil to brushing their hair, fine motor skills are essential for the countless tasks throughout the day. Occupational therapists play a key role in supporting the development of fine motor skills, especially when delays occur due to varying factors. 

Occupational Therapists often incorporate sensory-based activities to enhance proprioception, tactile discrimination, and motor planning, which are essential components of fine motor skills. Proprioception refers to the body's awareness of its position in space, while tactile discrimination is the ability to differentiate between different textures and objects. Motor planning involves the ability to plan and execute movements. 

Sensory-based activities can include: 

Child Kicking soccer ball
  • Proprioceptive activities like pushing, pulling, or carrying heavy objects to improve body awareness. 

  • Tactile activities such as exploring different textures with hands or feet to enhance sensory perception. 

  • Motor planning activities like completing puzzles or building blocks to improve planning and execution skills. 

Occupational therapists are experts in identifying and addressing delays in fine motor skills. Whether the delay is due to developmental factors, a specific diagnosis, injury, or illness, occupational therapists can provide tailored interventions to support your child's development. 

Fine Motor Skills development is an ever-changing process that begins at birth and evolves throughout life. They are crucial for a person's overall independence and participation in the world. Occupational Therapists are experts in the development of fine motor skills and by working with them, they can offer assistance and intervention when these skills are delayed due to development, diagnosis, injury, or illness throughout the lifespan

child brushing their teeth

Remember, every child develops at their own pace, so it's important to consult with professionals if you have concerns about your child's fine motor skills development

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