Fine motor skills are skills completed using the small muscles of the body. This includes those in the hand, mouth, and eyes. Most often, fine motor skills refer to those activities completed with hands and fingers, such as stringing beads, buttoning, holding a pencil, and tying shoes. Fine motor skill development begins at an early age. As a child develops strength and body awareness, the fine motor control becomes more refined. A child must have good strength and stability in his postural muscles and shoulder muscles in order to have mature, refined fine motor control. Additionally, for good fine motor control, a child must have efficient sensory processing in the proprioceptive and tactile sensory systems. These systems enable a child to use his muscles efficiently to complete fine motor tasks.
A child must know how and when to move his muscles in order to complete tasks. He also must have good awareness of touch in his hands to manipulate small objects. To create a similar experience to that of a child lacking fine motor skills, try to button small buttons while wearing gloves. Wearing gloves decreases your tactile awareness, which is needed for good fine motor control. This will decrease your ability to perform this basic task.
At Leaps and Bounds, when children exhibit poor fine motor skills, therapists assess the child to determine which foundational skills need support. It may be core/postural muscle strength, shoulder stability, finger and hand strength, tactile processing, or proprioceptive processing. Most often, there are several foundational skills that need to be addressed to improve fine motor skill development.