As a follow-up to last week’s Apraxia Monday on global dyspraxia, I plan to take today’s post one step further: developing fine motor skills. For those kids who are struggling with both verbal apraxia and global apraxia, they find it a bit trickier to manipulate their hands in a specific, directed way.
Like CAS, we aren’t exactly sure why some kids have diffulty getting a grasp (so to speak!) on these fine motor skills. Under the umbrella of “apraxias”, we know that it is a motorneurological condition in which kids know what they want to do, but just can’t get their bodies to cooperate in a way that allows them to do so.
Fine motor skills are very important! Think of all of the things you do each day that involves the fine muscles of your hands working together. In fact, I wouldn’t be able to type this if I had global apraxia! Not only does fine motor affect typing skills, but also handwriting, zipping, manipulating buckles and locks, puzzles, crafts, pinching (ouch!), typing shoes, and cutting, among others.
You can do things at home to help your child develop these skills. Some of our favorites have been Wikki Stix (cool, bendable, waxed candle wicks found at craft stores, sometimes called Bendaroos), and mazes. My daughter, Kate (5 yrs with CAS) even enjoys making her own mazes. Mazes also help with developing pre-writing skills (holding a pencil, making a directed line). But there are numerous other toys and objects you likely have hanging around your home that can develop these skills. Pull out your collection of baby dolls and their clothing. You will find a ton of opportunities to snap, buckle, zip, and maneuver doll-sized limbs into tiny little openings on clothing. It’s all working on fine muscle and motor development, even though it looks like play.
Another great idea is to find some Play-Doh, clay, or Silly Putty. Let your child squish, mush, and poke on the dough. You can take it one step further by finding small objects around the house that you can hide in the compound. Paper clips, coins, googly eyes, or any other tiny object (make sure your kid knows not to put them in his mouth!). Stretch out the “dough” and put the goodies inside then roll it into a ball. Hand it off and say, “Let’s see if you can find all of the things I hid inside.” He’ll have a ball (he, he) digging through to find everything. In fact, he make like it so much he finds and hides objects on his own.
Occupational Therapists (OTs) have been using Theraputty forever. It’s a similar material to Silly Putty, but a bit stretchier. You can get your own by looking for it on line. My daughter loved her Theraputty–we used it as a wa to target nose picking (ew) and nail biting.
Here are some other products you may like in helping your child develop fine motor skills.
Melissa and Doug
Let’s Cut Paper! (Kumon First Steps Workbooks) by Shinobu Akaishi and Eno Sarris (Paperback – Oct. 1, 2005)
Tommorow: Developing your kids’ imagination