Tag Archives: Gross Motor Skills

More Fine Motor Skills – On the Road to Cutting

In following the skill acquisition lists I’ve come across, it seems it’s time for Noah to start cutting. 

His first attempt with paper was frustrating.  I held the paper and he cut using two hands and used two hands to open the scissors as well.

Undaunted, I went to Wal-Mart and bought the preschool scissors that open automatically via a spring.  Too bad that spring action also causes them to need more pressure than usual to close.

So it’s time to go back to the basics.  I don’t think Noah’s hand strength is adequate for cutting, so I’ll let him use two hands for now but we’re going to focus in on some hand and finger strengthening and coordination work to lay the foundation for the cutting skills yet to come.

If you have a child with special needs, you’re probably familiar with the term pincer grasp.  It’s the use of the the thumb and index finger to pick up small objects.  The most common application of the pincer grasp is picking up Cheerios and raisins.  You can run out of ideas pretty quickly with Cheerios and raisins, but there are many less thought of applications that are wonderful for developing a refined pincer grasp.  The thinner the object, the more precise and mature the pincer grasp has to be.  For instance, picking up straight pins, rubber bands, yarn or Wikki Sticks requires a more developed pincer grasp than picking up raisins. 

As parents of children with special needs, it is tempting as our children reach milestones to celebrate and then “toss” as I call it, moving full steam ahead for the next milestone without reinforcing and refining the last one.  Then  you wind up in the situation I am in with Noah where your child is cognitively ready for an activity but lacks the underlying strength and coordination to perform it easily.  So Noah’s struggle with cutting is a good reminder to me that as skills as acquired, we should constantly be looking for ways to build off of them and refine them rather than leaving them behind.  Our special children need that constant reinforcing of their basic fine motor, gross motor, and language skills in order to build strongly upon that foundation.

In looking for ways to build up Noah’s refined pincer grasp and hand coordination and strength, I came across this great list of activities, most I haven’t seen before, things like zipping Ziploc bags, putting toothpicks in styrofoam and squeezing turkey basters full of water.  These are all things a very young child could do, but they are still appropriate for our older children with special needs who need extra reinforcement and hand strengthening and conditioning.


Better yet, the link above will take you to a list of pincer grasp activities, but on the left side of the page are a whole list of other occupational therapy and hand-strengthening topics with similar lists. 

I’m sure we’ll be incorporating some of these ideas into our days in the next few weeks, so , as always, stay tuned!

Chores for Preschoolers – Sweeping

I came across this idea on Pinterest – I know a winning activity when I see one.

Here’s the pin.  http://pinterest.com/pin/234961305529825947/.   I tried to find a link to the original post, but all that was uploaded for the pin was a picture.  Not everyone wants their child’s picture on everybody else’s blogs, so if you want to see the original, hit Pinterest.

Here’s how we did it for Noah:

I took some of those confetti dots I had left over from Easter and threw them down on the kitchen floor.

Next, I made a painter’s tape square for Noah to use as a target to sweep the dots into.  For little ones, sweeping makes a lot more sense when the contents are collected in a place clearly defined.  “This square” seems to work a lot better than “a pile.”

I called him into the room with, “Oh, Noah, come here.  What a mess we have.  What are we going to do?” 

He answered with the sign for dirty.










“Let’s get the broom and sweep the floor.  Do you know where we keep the broom?”

(He did and he went and got it.)

Sweeping can be awkward for little ones, but after a little hand-over-hand assistance, Noah got it down.

























Andres’ Update – Chiari 1 Malformation

July will be a busy month with lots of evaluations set up for Andres.  Our insurance company is not wanting to cover a neuro-psych evaluation which the neurosurgeon and physical therapist are recommending.  We’ll see what happens with that.  I suspect it will be eventually approved and that this is par for the course.

Tomorrow Andres will be evaluated by our physical therapist who has had experience specifically with Chiari kids; she did a lot of Chiari-related research and treatment in grad school and will know what to look for.  I haven’t noticed any physical deficits with Andres, but I do know he was late to meet some of his gross motor milestones in the areas often affected by Chiari.  Of course, I didn’t know about the Chiari back then, it’s only in hindsight I see the connection.  We tend to stop watching for motor milestones after our children reach the bike-riding stage, so I’ll be interested to see what turns up on the evaluation.

The Lord has been so gracious to provide this specific physical therapist for us.  It has been such a comforting reminder of His promises to Andres:

Jeremiah 29:  11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

I do not know why God singled out Andres for this condition.  I do know that God knew about this long before I did, and that He has a plan and He is intimately involved in coordinating all the details.  And I know that in light of eternity, all of God’s plans are good.

I find it difficult to fathom that we are going to turn Andres over to a person whom we know very little who is going to render him unconscious and cut into the back of his skull with the intent to reshape it.  We have only recently been willing to let him go out of our sight for things like Awanas and Sunday school.  The idea that all this will be happening to him and it is completely out of our control is very disorienting to me.  Unfathomable, really.

We continue to ask for prayers for Andres’ healing and the complete resolution of his symptoms.