Many parents of children who are developmentally delayed recognize what fine motor skills are, and how they come into play in daily life–things like buttoning and unbuttoning clothes, holding a pen, tying shoes, brushing teeth, and dialing a phone are all considered fine motor skills.
However, what many don’t recognize is how a delay in fine motor skills can affect children academically and socially. Recent research has suggested that up to 60% of the average elementary school day requires the use of fine motor skills. These activities, in part, lead directly to a child learning how to read, do basic math, and other cognitive reasoning that generally isn’t associated with the development of fine motor skills.
How Do Fine Motor Skills Affect Reading?
Let’s take reading as a prime example of the connection between fine motor skills and academics. The process of learning to read is directly correlated with writing, which is done with a pen or pencil. If a child is unable to develop their handwriting because they’re having trouble grasping a writing utensil or performing some of the more precise movements of manipulating the pencil in their hand, it can indirectly lead to a delay in reading.
Some may consider it a stretch, but if you find that your child is not at the same reading level as many of their peers, it could very well be a result of delayed fine motor skills. Allcare Therapy Services is staffed with licensed and experienced Occupational Therapists that not only practice in all areas of OT, but perform an in-depth assessment of your child’s needs in order to address their problems with a unique and customized approach.
How Do Fine Motor Skills Affect Math?
Even math can be a seemingly unrelated skill that is affected by fine motor skills at a young age. With many children relying on counting on their fingers when they first learn numbers, a deficiency in fine motor skills could inhibit their ability to do so, and the foundation for their math skills is not as strong as children who were able to cout on their fingers easily.
While studies connecting fine motor skills and mathematical proficiency are few and far between, there is at least a small connection that should be explored as a possibility if you, as a parent, feel you’ve exhausted every option when it comes to your child’s academics.
Contact us today to get an assessment from one of our licensed OTs!