As a parent, you rejoice at each new thing your child learns and accomplishes. From the time they offer their first smile or that first step to that first dance concert or soccer game, you enjoy watching them grow, mature, and achieve.
However, there are some children who progress in their physical skills at a slower pace than others. They may take longer to roll over or sit up as an infant or seem overly clumsy and uncoordinated as a child.
You know that every child develops differently and on their own timeline, but at what point should you wonder if something is not quite right?
Children’s physical skills fall into two categories: gross motor skills and fine motor skills.
Gross motor skills are those involving the entire body and large muscle groups. Everyday tasks like standing, walking, running, sitting, and hand-eye coordination require gross motor skills. These types of skills are more noticeable, both to parents and others, when a child isn’t up to par with their peers.
If your child is struggling to do what other kids can do at home or in the classroom or playground, a paediatric occupational therapist (OT) is a good person to start with if you are keen to have your child’s gross motor coordination skills assessed.
Depending on your child’s age, the OT will assess what skills they have and have not mastered up to that point. While there is a range of what is “normal”, the OT can discuss with you any areas that your child may by delayed in and need intervention. They can also reassure you that your child is within a normal developmental range and you have nothing to worry about.
Some of the skills they assess include checking to see if your child is reaching age-appropriate milestones:
These are the more detailed motor skills involving the fingers and hands for activities like tying shoes, writing, and cutting. For some children, these skills aren’t as obvious as the gross motor skills.
Assessment of your child’s fine motor skills also goes by age and includes:
It is important to understand that your child can have delays in one area for their age while accomplishing other skills without a problem. Gross and fine motor delays can also occur together.
A skilled occupational therapist can detect both types of delays and offer tailored therapy programs to help your child gain balance, control muscle movement, and improve handwriting skills.
Improving motor skills can make a big difference to your child’s level of confidence and help them keep pace with their peers.
© 2017 Kids First Children’s Services
Our experienced occupational therapists have helped hundreds of children to improve their motor coordination skills.
If you have concerns about your child’s physical development or would like more information about therapy services, please contact us on 9938 5419 or complete the ‘Contact Us’ form below.