What is fine motor skills?
Developing fine motor skills (FMS) is one of the many challenges that every parent of an autistic child could face. FMS (or dexterity) is the coordination of small muscles, in movements—usually involving the synchronization of hands and fingers—with the eyes. It aids in the growth of intelligence and develops continuously throughout the stages of human development.
Children with autism have a hard time developing strong muscles in their hands and wrists. This is the reason why they have problems with picking, cutting, grasping and holding things with their hands. They could be stereotyped or called at as being clumsy or awkward because of their poor hand motor coordination. They could easily drop or break things.
My son, John could not easily hold things with his hands and because of this, I need to find a way to teach him how to control his hand movements by giving him activities that will improve his hand muscles strength and dexterity.
With the help of John’s Occupational Therapist, the following activities have helped John to develop his fine motor skills:
- Playing play dough by molding and rolling into balls through the palm of his hands.
- Stacking plastic cups together with both hands to practice strength in holding.
- Pressing and connecting pegs together to practice pincer grasping.
- Crumbling pieces of scrapped paper with both hands to make a small tight ball then try to alternate this by using one hand this time.
- Squeezing a water sponge or a squeeze ball with both hands and then with one hand.
- Cutting paper vertically into small long pieces.
- Placing beads into a piece of string.
- Constructing or putting together a Lego block tower.
These are just some of the fine motor activities that we did at home, and some are being supplemented in his school. Continuity of learning both at school and at home is important for my son’s progress.
If you have any questions, suggestions or clarifications, please feel free to leave your comments below and I will try to answer as soon as I can.