Motor & Play Skills

Fine Motor Skills
These skills are the movements and dexterity of the small muscles in the hands, fingers and wrists. Skills in this area include reaching, carrying, hand strength, grasping objects and in-hand manipulation. These skills are essential for tasks such as buttoning your shirt, holding and using your pencil and using scissors. Difficulties within this area may present as weak hand muscles (e.g. dropping objects), hand fatigue or pain, difficulties in using buttons or zippers or no obvious dominant hand.

Gross Motor Skills
These are the movements of the large muscles in the arms and legs. They include skills such as rolling, crawling, running, walking, running, jumping and skipping. These skills are important for participation in sport, self-care tasks (e.g. dressing) and social games such as hopscotch. Some difficulties which may indicate low gross motor skills include inability to stand on one leg, difficulties with ball skills, decreased co-ordinated movements or low muscle tone.

Visual Motor Skills
These skills demonstrate the visual and motor systems of the body are working together efficiently. This is a person’s ability to perform a movement based on the perception of visual information, including skills of copying, cutting, tracing and drawing. Visual Motor skills are essential skills for a child’s participation in their school tasks, along with being able to complete tasks such as tying their shoes independently or performing movements with hand-eye co-ordination.

Motor Planning Skills
This is the ability to plan, implement and sequence motor tasks including fine (hands/finger movements), gross (large muscle groups) and oral motor (biting/chewing) skills. It also involves the ability to perceive incoming stimuli and then form an appropriate co-ordinated motor response. Difficulties in this area may present as unco-ordinated movements, difficulty throwing/catching a ball or performing a gross or fine motor sequence with multiple steps.

Play Skills
Play is the engagement in leisure activities for children. Play is associated with pleasure and enjoyment, including various types such as imaginative, constructive, or interpersonal play. Skills embedded within play include sharing, turn taking, following a sequence and following rules. Play skills are an important part of child development, as they engage in this occupation every day at school and home. These skills are also linked to appropriate socio-emotional skills such as initiation and saying sorry. Children may present with difficulties in this area through difficulties in turn taking, initiating play with another, asking for help or following rules.

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