The development of fine motor skills is an important foundation for future success in school.  In an article published in the American Family Physician, Dr. Hamilton makes two very interesting obsevations about the identification of motor skill deficits in young children.  One, is that a diagnosis of difficulties is often missed because many parents do not recognize it as a serious and modifiable problem.  And second, when parents do present concerns to their physicians, it is common for the physiciams to reassure the parents that their child will outgrow any clumsiness or coordination challenges.  Young children with persistant difficulties with fine motor skills display higher rates of educational, emotional and social problems in adolescence.

Occupational therapy can play an important role in helping young children develop the fine and visual motor skills that they need to meet the demands of school.  Early intervention typically results in a shorter period of therapy and reduces the impact on a child’s self esteem.  At Emerge, intervention can begin long before kindergarten if a child is experiencing delays.  Therapy can signficantly improve a child’s skills and provide parents with lots of ideas for promoting skill development at home.

By age 2: Scribbles; turns pages 1 at a time; feeds self with spoon and fork

By age 3:  Copies circle and cross; holds pencil with thumb and 1 or 2 fingers; cuts with scissors

By age 4:  Copies a square; cuts out simple shapes; skillful with eating utensils; mature pencil grip

By age 5:  Clear hand preference (often much earlier); draws a variety of recognizable pictures; copies a triangle, writes name, colors within the lines.

If you have a child entering kindergarten who has not mastered the 4 and 5 year old level skills, consider enrolling them in Emerge’s Capable Kindergarten summer program. (Call 928-0204).