Fine motor skills
Typically children begin developing their fine motor skills from around three to six months old, when they start to use their hands and grasp objects. Children start to refine their skills over the next six to 12 months, where by 18 months of age they start to use pincer grips and isolate fingers. By two to two-and-a-half years of age, children can typically grasp a pencil and make marks on a page. By three-and-a-half to four years of age they should be able to draw basic shapes such as circles and squares, as well as starting to draw diagonal lines and be interested in connected drawing e.g. drawing a person or a house, as well as be able to manipulate small objects within their hands and fingers.
Gross motor skills
Children start their gross motor development right from the get-go, pushing against you and their cot walls to get feedback through their joints about how their body moves and works. Core strength and stability is central to most gross motor activities.
Paediatric occupational therapy focuses mostly on core stability rather than all gross motor skills, as this is important for body regulation, stability in seated postures and stability for fine motor activities.
Reasons to seek assistance
- Your child is four years old and cannot manipulate small objects in their hands.
- Your child is four years old and refuses to draw or cannot form the lines in the above paragraph.
- Your child is four years old and isn’t able to draw a basic house or person.
- Your child is W sitting (sitting with legs in a W or M pattern when you look down over them).
- Your kindergarten-aged child cannot stay seated in an upright position while playing for longer than ~10 minutes.
- Your child raises their shoulders to write or draw.
- Your child is really wiggly when doing a seated activity.
- Your child constantly moves fast when in the playground or classroom and isn’t able to perform slow, controlled movements.
Call the clinic to book your child in in for a gross or fine motor assessment session with our child occupational therapists. Handwriting therapy is typically provided weekly.
What you can expect from occupational therapy for children
- Improved finger movement when drawing.
- Improved grasp patterns.
- Improved ability to maintain a strong stable posture when doing tabletop tasks or sitting on the floor at carpet time.
- Decreased wiggliness.
- Improved connected drawing skills.
- Decreased avoidance of tabletop tasks.